Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez will assemble an expert panel to testify in support of his English language learner education reform legislation. The bill, being heard by the Education Committee, seeks to provide local school districts with increased flexibility in choosing innovative and student specific English Language Learner (ELL) programming. In addition, the bill adds enhanced accountability measures by requiring the individual plans to be reviewed and approved by the State Department of Education.
"There are 54,000 ELL students in the Commonwealth that are struggling to keep their heads above water. According to a recent report by the Rennie Center, under the current system of Structured English Immersion (SEI), only 17% of ELL students are scoring in the transitioning level on the Massachusetts English Proficiency Assessment after one year, while after five years only 55% of ELLs are scoring in the transitioning range. The intent of the 2002 ballot initiative that resulted in mandated Structured English Immersion was to transition students after one year into mainstream education programs. The data shows that the current system of mandated SEI as the primary means of instruction for ELL students is a failure and not working for these kids," Sánchez said.
"The moral imperative to educate these children properly stands as reason enough to address this issue. My reform legislation has provisions that ensure all of our students are prepared to enter the workforce with adequate English language skills." The panel will include representatives from the Massachusetts Teachers Association, Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents, and the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.