At last. Some sanity has made its way into the frenzied world of high-stakes testing. It wasn’t easy to get to this point and, incredibly, it wasn’t assured, though anyone who has studied a foreign language for a trip abroad would understand.
The U.S. Department of Education — DOE — reversed its unhelpful policy that required the test scores of students studying English for just one year to be factored into each school’s accountability scores.
Given the English language’s notorious “bough/through/cough” conundrums, it should be a given that most students who speak a foreign language are going to have a tough time learning to read and write English fluently in a year — especially if the new language is not reinforced at home. Some students need several years to pick up a language. In addition, South Florida school districts have taken on thousands of the unaccompanied children from Central America who flooded across the Mexican border during the past year. Many of them, to teachers’ dismay, are not even literate in their native tongue. The hurdle they face is obvious, though, not insurmountable. But the task takes time, which the DOE finally granted.