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NCLB Outrages

NCLR Road Map for NCLB Act Shows How Law Can work for English Language Learners

Ohanian Comment: In this very short excerpt note how the author of this paper adopts the language of business to make her point: outcomes, bottom line, rigor: "Under NCLB, sanctions are now tied to ELL and Latino student outcomes and, at least in theory, there is clear accountability. Now a part of schools’ bottom line, ELL students will be more likely to have access to rigorous coursework and highly-qualified teachers." Now just what is clear accountability? A few paragraphs later, we read that "the political will to uphold the rigor of the law is uncertain." Be careful of what you wish for.

The paper advocates "rigor" so often I lost count. I repeat: Be careful of what you wish for.

NOTE: The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) recognizes those corporations that have invested in NCLR’s long-term strategic efforts with multiyear, multimillion-dollar commitments, including NCLR’s Empowering An American Community Campaign.

The Allstate Corporation
Bank of America
The Coca-Cola Company
Fannie Mae
Freddie Mac
Ford Motor Company
General Motors Corporation
MBNA Corporation
PepsiCo Foundation
The PMI Group, Inc.
State Farm Insurance Companies
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Melissa Lazarín, mlazarin@nclr.org
Diana Tejada, dtejada@nclr.org
(202) 785-1670
Mar 22, 2006

New Report Underscores Need to Include All Students in Accountability Systems Washington, DC ˆ A new report by the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S., examining the impact of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) on English language learners (ELLs) concludes that while the law has not been implemented adequately, it holds considerable promise for closing the achievement gap between ELLs and other students. The issue brief, Improving Assessment and Accountability for English Language Learners in the No Child Left Behind Act, also provides a road map for policy-makers and school administrators for improving the law's effectiveness for ELLs. "NCLB can close the achievement gap between ELLs and their peers. But our report shows that it will not be successful if these children continue to be exempted from many of the law's provisions," stated Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. "The answer is not to water down the law but to hold schools accountable for the academic progress of all students, including students who are learning English." According to the brief, there are 8.8 million Latino students, or 19% of the total student population, enrolled in the public school system. Nearly half (45%) of these students are English language learners. Nationally, 79% of limited-English-proficient (LEP) students are Spanish-speaking. The report shows that while NCLB represents the first time that federal law has required schools to be held accountable for the education of ELL students, many states are in fact trying to bypass the law by exempting ELLs from test score and student outcome reports. "Instead of implementing NCLB, too many states are focused on getting out of being held accountable for the progress of their ELL students. That is unacceptable. It is time to acknowledge that we have crossed the bridge on accountability and standards. The question is not if we follow through with this law, but how we follow through with it so that all students can get a better education in our public schools," continued Murguía. The issue brief includes recommendations for how federal and state policy-makers can improve school and state compliance with NCLB requirements. Recommendations are also made to ensure better tracking of ELL student achievement and stronger enforcement of accountability measures. "Our schools cannot be considered successful until they address the needs of all students. This includes English language learners, who have a long history of being overlooked. It is vital to the future of our nation that all children be able to achieve so they are prepared for college and the 21st century workforce," concluded Murguía. ###

— Press Release
National Council of La Raza


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