FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05/10/2013
Mary E. González Education Bill for English Language Learners; Now Heads to Governor's Desk
Earlier today, Representative Mary González passed SB 377-- the Senate version of HB 2004-- out of the Texas House; a bill to make adjustments in standardized testing for recently immigrated and English Language Learning students.
SB 377 defines a school year as sixty consecutive days so that a recently immigrated student who is enrolled for longer than sixty consecutive days in Texas schools will qualify for a one year exemption from state-mandated exams. If a recently immigrated student spends less than sixty consecutive days in Texas schools, the student will not have to take the test and that school year will not count towards their one year exemption.
"All six of the school districts I represent identify over twenty percent of their student population as students with limited English proficiency," said González. "With this bill, we help clarify what a school year is to allow for recently immigrated students to acclimate to a new country and a new language. With a better defined one year exemption, we are giving schools the chance to integrate these students without the pressure of a high stakes standardized test."
The original version of the bill included an additional two year exemption for limited English proficiency students’ test scores before they are counted towards a school’s overall performance rating. González, Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., and other stakeholders worked all session to find common ground. The compromise will provide time for immigrant students to transition into a new language and serve as a foundation for future legislative improvements.
“Students will not only be provided additional time before they take the tests, but for an education that empowers," added González "I look forward to sending this bill to the Governor's desk to help alleviate the education barriers that our students, parents, and educators face."