The Democrat-controlled Senate Appropriations Committee killed House Bill 1211 this morning, which would have better prepared students for post-secondary degrees and workforce success. The measure would have increased accountability and strengthened funding for Colorado’s English language proficiency programs.
“These students are already at a disadvantage and they deserve better,” said the House bill sponsor, Rep. Clarice Navarro of Pueblo. “This is a missed opportunity to help Colorado’s English language learners.”
More than 100,000 students in Colorado qualify for English language proficiency programs. 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.
Today, only 1 percent of Colorado’s ELL students reach proficiency within two years. To improve academic achievement and professional development, Navarro’s bill would have strengthened funding for ELL programs, so that students can qualify for funding for up to five years, instead of the two years the ELL program currently allows.