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Ed. Dept. Wants States to Standardized ELL Rules

It's not a waiver, or a pilot project, or a far-reaching package of rules.

But the Department of Education's recent "interpretation" of NCLB has the potential to have a significant impact on the way schools implement the law, Mary Ann Zehr reports in the current issue of Education Week.

The interpretation published in the May 2 edition of the Federal Register could force states and schools to change the way they assess and classify English-language learners. The notice tells states to standardize their definitions of when a student no longer needs ELL services and the criteria they use to report how well ELL students are learning English, Zehr reports in Consistent ELL Guides Proposed.

“The big theme of the notice is that we do mean to have much more consistent implementation so that all Title III-served kids are included in accountability for Title III,” said Kathryn M. Doherty, a special assistant to the department's deputy secretary. (Title III is "the conduit for most federal funding for ELL programs," Zehr writes.)

To comply with the interpretation, states almost certainly will need to revise their accountability plans.

Other NCLB-related stories in the May 14, 2008, issue of Education Week:
Randi Weingarten lays out her ideas for school accountability on the back page of the Commentary section. (See my March post on why I think her ideas are important.)
Report Cites Asian-Americans' NCLB Issues (When Liam Julian read the story, he was on the verge of tears.)

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