Middle school teacher says Amendment 31 hurts English learners | SummitDaily.com

Middle school teacher says Amendment 31 hurts English learners

Amendment 31? No way! It kills both English-only programs and bilingual programs. It gives English-language learners only one year before they successfully have to handle academic subjects in English in mainstream classrooms.

Plenty of research says that’s not possible. As an English as a Second Language teacher in Summit Middle School’s English-only program, I agree.

Example: After one year, reading comprehension for eighth grade English-language learners is usually at the first-grade level in English. Listening comprehension is slightly better. They will comprehend about 20 percent of the mainstream classroom lessons rather than the optimal 85 percent or more.

That’s like putting kids with first-grade math skills into algebra. That’s inviting kids to drop out.

Amendment 31 has provisions for waivers of the one-year limit. But parents who get waivers then can sue schools and teachers if they are not satisfied with the quality of the English skills learned. They can sue any time within 10 years of receiving the waivers.

Faced with such risk, what school district would grant waivers? What teacher would dare teach students with waivers?

Allow English learners the time and special help needed to learn English well. Enable them to stay in school. Vote no on Amendment 31.

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