Wednesday, January 11, 2006

ELLs and special ed

Interesting article in the NY Times today about a successful primary school in the South Bronx that was labeled as "failing" as a result of some bizarre calculations under NCLB. The state claimed that English Language Learners (ELLs) and special education kids did not make enough progress under the law, and the article really shows how crazy things can get when schools are dealing with ELL students. One problem that hurt the school in the South Bronx - putting immigrant kids that have trouble learning in ESL classes even when they speak English well - seems to happen at my middle school a lot.

Once the principal saw the names, he realized many did not belong on the list. Typically, they were Hispanics who were given bilingual services when they first
arrived. However, once they had been at P.S. 48, teachers realized their problem
was not English; it was that they were slow learners and needed special-education services. Most have not been in a language class for two to three years.

This reminds me of a very articulate Dominican kid in the after school program who was held back last year and continues to have trouble in school because he isn't getting enough help in ESL, which he really doesn't need. At least at P.S. 48 kids like these are getting moved to classes where they can get more help.

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