Under ESSA, states must make every effort to assess students in their native language if they make up a significant portion of the K-12 population. Otherwise, the state risks losing federal funding.
Florida is officially English-only, and is finding itself at odds on this issue with advocates and experts.
Read the full article here.
Among the concerns expressed by advocates, UnidosUS experts are worried that the U.S. Department of Education won’t take action to address this.
“We don’t have any indication that [the Education Department will] be pushing back on the lack of native-language assessments,” said Lorén Trull, UnidosUS Senior Education Policy Adviser.
The same Education Week article reports that Arizona and Tennessee have won approval for their ESSA plans after citing state English-only laws as a reason not to offer native-language assessments.
The report also mentions how this reality could adversely affect students from Puerto Rico who have arrived to the state in the thousands after the island was devastated by Hurricane Maria.
Florida officials estimate that between 20,000 and 25,000 students, almost exclusively native Spanish speakers, could arrive in mainland schools in the months ahead. Native language assessments would make it difficult to find what the students know.
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