Texas ELLs Must Be Factor in School Ratings

Texas ELLs Must Be Factor in School Ratings

January 25, 2018

Rolando Aguirre, president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas, writes that Hispanics make up more than 50 percent of student enrollment in Texas public schools, so “It would be fair to say the success of Texas schools rises or falls with Hispanic students,” and many of these students are English-language learners (ELLs). Yet ELLs are among the groups with the highest dropout rates. Aguirre asks, how “will we hold schools accountable for educating these vulnerable students?” Texas’ ESSA plan gave the state the opportunity to set up accountability metrics that represent all subsets of students, including English-language learners. “Unfortunately, an independent peer review of state education accountability plans (published at Check State Plans) reveals that Texas’ plan is weak in holding schools accountable for the success of all English learners.” Aguirre encourages Texas education officials to prioritize ELL success: “Accounting for the progress of Spanish-speaking students—students who work hard to learn English alongside their other academic subjects—must factor in to a school’s success rating.”