LETTERS: More support needed for early English learning students
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I recently came to this country with the hope that my daughter would find many opportunities.
She was 14 when she first arrived to a CPS school and started 8th grade. She took a proficiency test just two months after starting school and although she didn’t know the language yet, a Spanish option was not available to her. It was not taken into consideration that her grades from the previous year were excellent, even when her courses in Colombia were more rigorous.
I was more surprised when I found out this test was going to be very important for high school admission. When we started to complete her high school application, I found out that her Northwest Evaluation Association scores were very low, which limited her options of applying to selective enrollment and other high-quality schools. When my daughter found out, she was sad and felt there was nothing she could do about it.
My daughter is working extremely hard so she can learn English but I don’t believe she has received the necessary support needed with the English Language Learners program. The schools continue to put a lot of emphasis on this test which, in the case of my daughter, is not measuring her knowledge but what English vocabulary she understands.
I believe it is important to evaluate each student independently, and it would be more fair if the NWEA and the selective enrollment schools were available in different languages for English Language Learners. Another option could be to eliminate the NWEA percentage requirement. Considering this limits the access of many students, like my daughter, to high quality schools.
July Beltran, Southwest Chicago
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