Virginia’s U.S. senators, John Warner, a Republican, and Jim Webb, a Democrat, introduced a bill on March 21 that would apply to school districts that have run into problems with the U.S. Department of Education regarding how they test English-language learners. If enacted, the bill would permit the school districts to continue with the way they now test such students for the current school year. Sen. Warner testified that the “impasse” between the federal government and Virginia school districts over how to include English-language learners in testing under the No Child Left Behind Act “could result in a number of schools being sanctioned under the federal law--not because our schools are underperforming, but rather as a consequence of bureaucracy.” He said he doesn’t believe that is the intent of the federal education law. Five members of the House of Representatives have introduced the same bill.
For more on the impasse, see my earlier posts, here, here, and here. A summary of the Senate bill, S 951, but not the full text, was available on the Thomas Web library today. The bill calls for a waiver of sanctions for certain states, school districts, and schools under NCLB.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.