Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Hurdles Remain High for English-LearnersHurdles Remain High for English-Learners

School sees strong progress, but says credit proves elusive under federal law.

By Mary Ann Zehr | Ed Week
June 2, 2008

Ong Vue’s very first day of school came when she was 15 and was enrolled in 9th grade at Luther Burbank High School after arriving here as a refugee from Thailand.

The Hmong teenager says her family couldn’t afford to send her to school in Thailand. When she started at Luther Burbank, she spoke Thai and Hmong, but no English.

Four years later, Ms. Vue is a senior at the 1,970-student school and has passed the math section of California’s high school exit exam. She plans to attend community college in the fall, and hopes to become an elementary school teacher.

Despite her clear academic progress, Ms. Vue’s showing on standardized tests has been a handicap in her school’s quest to meet the yardstick for adequate yearly progress, or AYP, under the federal No Child Left Behind Act.

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