House Bill 1211 passes House Education Committee
Today, state Rep. Clarice Navarro’s bipartisan bill to strengthen assistance for Colorado’s English language learners passed the House Education Committee. House Bill 1211 better prepares students for post-secondary and workforce success upon graduation by increasing accountability and strengthening funding for Colorado’s English language proficiency programs.
More than 100,000 students in Colorado qualify for English language assistance. Faced with the challenge of learning a different language and mastering new subject-area content, ELL students often receive lower test scores and nearly half do not graduate from high school, according to a 2011 report by the Colorado Department of Education.
“It’s an incredible disservice,” Navarro, R-Pueblo, said. “We’ve invested in the education and professional development of these children and failed miserably.”
Navarro sponsors HB 1211 with Rep. John Buckner, D-Aurora. The bill works to ensure ELP programing is evidence based and also requires the Department of Education to annually review statewide levels of proficiency, share best practices, monitor the development of programs and provide professional development support to providers, among other reforms.
To improve academic achievement and professional development, Navarro’s bill also strengthens funding for ELP programs, so that students can qualify for funding for up to five years, instead of the two years ELP programs currently allow. Today, only 1 percent of Colorado’s ELL students reach proficiency within two years.
“This bill affords Colorado’s English language learners real opportunity,” Navarro added. “It increases their chances of success in a post-secondary education and better prepares them for today’s competitive workforce.”
House Bill 1211 now moves to the House Appropriations Committee for further consideration.