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National Association for Bilingual Education: Views on NCLB


One of the recommendations of the National Association for Bilingual Education for reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act is that the law should base the participation of English-language learners in standardized testing on students' English-proficiency levels, not the amount of time that children have spent in the United States, as is the case with the law now. The recommendation says that English-language learners should at least be at the advanced level in English when they take states' regular tests for accountability purposes under the No Child Left Behind Act.

Currently English-language learners must take their state's math test as soon as they set foot in U.S. schools, and they must take their state's reading test after they've spent at least a year in U.S. schools. The scores for both the math and reading tests count for accountability purposes after students have been in U.S. schools for one year.

The NABE statement on reauthorization of NCLB was released in June. I just came across it. The organization hasn't been very visible since it has been without an executive director. In March 2006, the NABE board of directors decided not to renew the contract of its executive director, James Crawford. The position is still open.


I had the "joyful" experience of taking the majority of the Spanish speaking ELL students to proctor the WASL (Washington State) Math portion. I had several students who had just entered the country and just sat there and cried. They did not know enough of the English language to understand the directions of each question given to them. I had seen them in class with interpretors and doing well in Math but when it came to WASL, they just fell apart. This is just plain mean and I think, harms a child's sense of self confidence.


In Texas, as in many states, the elementary level math test is a reading test. The problems are long and the vocabulary can be challenging. This policy sets up children to fail.

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