Education

The Nitty Gritty of NCLB and ELLs

By Mary Ann Zehr — April 17, 2008 1 min read

I’ve got to admire the stamina of Foch “Tut” Pensis, the superintendent of the Coachella Valley Unified School District in California, in pointing out aspects of the No Child Left Behind Act that he perceives to be unfair for English-language learners. You may remember that Coachella Valley is one of the California school districts that sued the state in 2005, contending that California didn’t test ELLs in a reliable way. (To learn more about the details of that lawsuit, see “Another Take on Coachella Valley Unified School District v. California.”)

An article published this week, “Coachella Valley superintendent fights having to cede control to state,” in the Press-Enterprise, tells how he’s trying to keep the state from appointing a trustee to manage his school district. The district hasn’t met adequate yearly progress goals under the No Child Left Behind Act for five years in a row. Sixty percent of the district’s 18,000 students are ELLs.

“Can they learn? Absolutely. Can they succeed? Yes,” Mr. Pensis is quoted as saying in the article. “It’s just going to take longer. That’s all it is.”

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.