Education groups weigh in on new rules for ‘emergent bilingual’ students

Texas AFT joined nine other education and policy nonprofits to write recommendations for new Texas Education Agency rules addressing legislation on students learning English. The rules will make changes to the administrative code for “Adaptations  for  Special  Populations: Commissioner’s Rules Concerning State Plan for Educating  English Learners.

One recommendation includes using the term “emergent bilinguals” instead of English Language Learners to comply with SB 2066 passed last spring—legislation that uses that term instead of “students with limited English proficiency.” Researchers have found that acknowledging students who are, in essence, studying in two languages is more appropriate and provides a positive image of their achievements.

Other recommendations address requirements for a new teacher certification in bilingual special education. As the letter notes: “Educators pursuing this certification pathway will have specialized training in differentiating students’ linguistic, cognitive, developmental and other abilities as it relates to their placement in any bilingual and/or special education programs.