Continued from page 1

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakso said the “long-standing achievement gap is a matter of deep concern,” and remains a top priority for the state.

“We also are moving quickly to reexamine our efforts to make sure these students succeed, including playing a more active role in the development of the next generation of assessments for students learning English,” he said in a statement.

In Florida, with a public school system that’s about 28 percent Hispanic, the achievement gap shrinks the longer a student has been in the system, said Michael Grego, chancellor of the state’s public school system.

“The more time they have [to learn English], the more success they’ll have,” he told The Washington Times on Wednesday.

The state has lofty goals. Mary Jane Tappen, Florida’s deputy chancellor of public schools, said the state can completely close the achievement gap. Ms. Tappen said dealing with English learners, who scored lower on the tests than Hispanics with fluent English, should be a top priority across the nation.

“[Students’ level of success] is very dependent on their literacy level when they get to us,” she said.