- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Jefferson County Public Schools is asking for a waiver to keep the test scores of some immigrant students who are not proficient in English from being counted against their schools.

The Courier-Journal reports (http://cjky.it/1Cnu6Nw) English-language learners in Kentucky are granted one year of English instruction before their scores start counting toward schools’ and districts’ accountability scores. Under the waiver, those students’ test scores would not count toward their school’s overall performance until the students were proficient in English.

David Jones Jr. is chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Education. He said that under the proposed waiver, the students would still be tested and their scores would still be part of the districts’ overall score. That way the district can evaluate how English-language learners are being educated as a whole.

Jones said the waiver would allow schools to focus more on what the children need.

“By taking the accountability away from the school for all those academic subjects, you’ve freed the school to do what’s in the best interest of the child,” Jones said.

The Kentucky Board of Education is expected to consider the waiver in June.

English learners are one of the fastest-growing populations not only in JCPS but in districts nationwide.

Efforts to aid this group can be daunting. Many of the English-language learners at JCPS speak a language that no teacher or staff member in the school knows. And JCPS has said it is struggling to hire enough specially trained teachers as demand grows.

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Information from: The Courier-Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

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