Serial No. 106-56


Printed for the use of the Committee on Education

and the Workforce

































The Subcommittee met, pursuant to call, at 9:00 a.m., in the McAllen City Hall, 1300 Houston Street, Commissioners Courtroom 3rd Floor, McAllen, Texas, Hon. Michael N. Castle [chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.

Present: Representatives Castle and Hinojosa.

Staff Present: Lynn Selmser, Professional Staff, Majority; Alex Nock, Professional Staff, Minority; and Sarah Shipman, Legislative Assistant, Representative Hinojosa's Office.




Chairman Castle. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. This little sign here says speak to the person in the last row. So, there's nobody -- well, there's somebody sitting in the last row.

Let me thank you for being here. It's a pleasure for me to be here. You may wonder where I'm from. I'm from Delaware -- he tiny little state of Delaware, where it's about 15 degrees hotter than it is here, by the way, at the present time, and it's been over 100 for four days in a row. Hopefully, when we go back today, it will be in the mid 90s.

But, I am pleased to be in South Texas. I'm pleased to be with my good friend Ruben Hinojosa. We became friends in an unusual way. We ran a session together at a Congressional getaway, which we were trying to stress bipartisanship so people would get long better with each other, that is, republicans and democrats.

Well, Ruben and I get along just fine. I don't know about anybody else, but we ran the session together and we became good friends as a result of that, and I hope everyone else is speaking to each other too, although, sometimes you wouldn't know that to read about it. But, it's a pleasure to be in McAllen. It's a pleasure to have all of you here and to be discussing the subject at hand.

Let me say a couple of general guidelines, because so many here are thinking, "Gee, when an I going to be able to get to my plane" or whatever it may be. Because of that we need to follow a fairly tight schedule.

We have two panels. I will speak for no more than three or four minutes here in just a moment. And in a more formal sense, Congressman Hinojosa will then speak. He will then introduce the members of the panel. Each of you in turn will speak, and you will have five minutes to speak.

Now, you may have testimony that would take longer to read. Remember, we have testimony too, so you can skip part of it or summarize or speak differently from it or whatever. In any event, this egg timer goes off. It's a horrible thing when it goes off, because we had it in Los Angeles yesterday, and I jumped about a foot in the air. And when you hear that, if you could start to summarize and wind up, that will be fine. And then both of us will ask questions for about seven or eight minutes, and then we will go to the second panel which consists of four witnesses as well.

If all goes as prescribed, we look to be done by a little bit after 11:00, something in that range. If somebody has a timing problem, you should make it known to staff as soon as possible and we will try to take care of that. And that's roughly how we will proceed for the day.

Let me just say, and I'll say it probably repeatedly, but I just want to thank all of you who made a very special effort to be here. I realize people have come both long distances and with conflicts in schedule, and we consider that to be an honor to have you here to discuss this important subject.

Let me just also say that while there are two of us here, members of Congress, we have Alex and Lynn who are able staff people who will take care of all the testimony. This all goes back to Washington and is distributed to all the staff there, so a lot of eyes end up seeing and hearing what we do here today. So I want you to understand that as well.

I am the chairman of the Early Childhood, Youth, and Families Subcommittee of the Education Workforce Committee in the Congress of the United States in Washington D.C. And, of course, we will welcome all of you. This is really a hearing on bilingual education today.

When the Bilingual Education Act was enacted in 1968, the program established in the federal policy to help local school districts develop and implement new strategies to meet the educational needs of children who did not speak English as a first language.

Since that time, the program has undergone a number of changes. And all the while, the number of English language learners has continued to grow, especially in states like California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois.

As we look to modify the Bilingual Education Act, we need to examine how the federal government can better help local schools in school districts provide the best possible education and the English language skills our children need to participate in higher education in our competitive workplace.

Our first bilingual hearing, which was held on June 24th in Washington D.C., provided important insights into the education of limited English proficient students.

As the population continues to grow, this insight is important, because we must insure that our federal programs provide each and every child with the opportunity to achieve to the extent of his or her potential.

I believe that an important part of achieving this goal is ensuring limited English proficient children learn the English language as soon as possible. The primary focus of the Bilingual Education Act should be on the children. But I believe we must also provide schools and parents the flexibility to make decisions regarding to the programs that will be used to educate these children.

Our efforts must acknowledge the fact that children learn differently and they all have different needs. By allowing schools and parents to work together to make decisions about the education of their children, we place control in the hands of those individuals who know these children the best.

Currently, the graduation rates of limited English proficient children are very discouraging. In 1996, only 55.2 percent of Hispanic students graduated from high school. We can and must do better. It is my hope that we can work together to support changes in the Bilingual Education Act to ensure that all participants reach the same high academic standards as their English proficient peers.

I again thank you very much for joining us today. I will now, as I indicated I would, yield to Congressman Hinojosa for any opening statements he may wish to make.






Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning and welcome. Buenos dias y bienvenido. That is what bilingual education is all about.

I want to thank the City of McAllen for hosting us and equally as important, I want to thank all of you for being here at today's Congressional field hearing on bilingual education. It's ironic that exactly one year ago today, on July 7th, 1998, I convened a Congressional field hearing in this very room on the Head Start program, a phenomenally successful federal program that helps low income children arrive at school more ready to learn.

The outcome of that hearing was many great ideas which were subsequently incorporated into the legislation reauthorizing Head Start through the year 2004. This measure was approved by Congress and signed into law by the President last fall.

This year, as you know, we're here to discuss the reauthorization of Title VII of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act entitled The Bilingual Education Act, and as we move into the 21st century, the issue of bilingual ed. is certainly one of the most important issues on our plate as a nation. Why? Because the world is becoming ever more global, and certainly opportunities will abound for those who are bilingual or multilingual.

We see this in our community right here in South Texas, in the Rio Grande Valley, which I believe is a barometer of the positive change that is taking place all across America. With us this morning from Washington D.C. Is my good friend and congressional colleague Chairman Mike Castle of the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Youth and Families. Former Delaware Governor Castle is the esteemed chairman of The Education Subcommittee responsible for reauthorization of Elementary and Secondary Education Act, an important process which occurs only once every five years.

And this federal legislation, which we refer to as ESEA, has long been regarded as the cornerstone of federal aid to elementary and secondary schools for the last four years. It embodies the federal government's commitment to providing funds for the education of children living in high poverty communities.

ESEA is the largest elementary and secondary federal aid package targeted at low-income and low-achieving students. It currently represents an annual $12 billion investment in our nation's future. I repeat that because it's very important. It currently represents an annual $12 billion investment in our nation's future.

This one issue will comprise Chairman Castle's Subcommittee agenda for the entire 106th Congress. Chairman Castle is well suited for the task. As Governor of the great state of Delaware for eight years and a member of Congress for the last six years, Mike Castle has long been a champion of education programs that help poor and disadvantaged children to learn. Chairman Castle has worked tirelessly to increase teachers' salaries and challenge schools with higher standards.

In the last Congress, I had the privilege of working with Mr. Castle on the reauthoritization of the Higher Education Act and have personally seen up close his dedication and commitment to providing educational opportunities to students of all ages.

He mentioned earlier in his opening remarks about how we had met in Hershey, Pennsylvania, working as the co-leaders for the bipartisan retreat where we were hoping to build better relationships amongst both sides of the aisle. Members who didn't know each other had an opportunity to meet and talk and in an environment that was conducive to building that type of congeniality, and it happened that they paired us, he as a Republican and I as a Democrat, in working with a small Subcommittee, and I guarantee you that it's a great way to build a relationship, and the chemistry has been good. We made friends.

Even though there's about 50 members on the education committee, I can always look up to Mike Castle for advice and be able to move forward the legislation that I went to Washington to try to promote and to pass. So, I thank you for that, Chairman Castle.

In addition to his Chairmanship of the Early Childhood, Youth, and Families Education Subcommittee, Mike Castle also serves as a member of the House Banking Committee and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. We know how busy you are, Mr. Chairman. So, thank you for coming to the Rio Grande Valley, South Texas and welcome. And we want to give you a big round of applause.

Let me begin my opening remarks by saying that although we are here this morning to focus on bilingual education programs, there are numerous issues within the ESEA that affect the education of minority and disadvantaged students. Allow me to name at least four issues which are of great concern to our Education Committee: number one, lowering the Hispanic dropout rate; number two, recruiting high quality, well-trained teachers; number three, insuring access to after-school learning programs for all students; and number four, reducing class size while modernizing our older dilapidated public school buildings.

These are a few of my foremost legislative priorities as the House Committee on Education Work Force begins the process of reauthorizing ESEA for the next five years. Very soon, I will be introducing legislation on behalf of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. My Bill will address many of these issues, but will also provide for the expansion of exemplary education programs for migrant students, accountability for student achievement in our local schools, and, of course, bilingual education.

And it is this issue that's the focal point of today's hearing. As many of our expert witnesses here this morning know, the Bilingual Education Act was enacted over 30 years ago to help reduce the high dropout rates of limited English proficient students, better known as LEP students. Prior to the passage of the Bilingual Education Act, nearly 80 percent, or four out of every five Mexican-American Hispanic students in Texas and across the southwest dropped out before graduating from high school. It was a cry for help and did not fall on deaf ears.

This alarming situation resulted in the creation of bilingual education. Today, over three decades later, the overarching goal of bilingual education remains to increase academic success and improve the English proficiency of LEP students. You're going to hear a lot of expert testimony today about bilingual education, per se. But what I would like to draw attention to is the students who benefit so much from these programs. They are the LEP students.

Far too often, we fail to view limited English proficient students in our classroom as an asset equating their inability to understand English with a lack of intelligence. Often, these children have been held to a lower standard of simply learning to speak English instead of holding them to the same high standard of learning math and science as well as native English-speaking children.

Schools must enable LEP students to achieve to high standards while also developing their ability to understand, to speak, read, and write English at the same level as native English speakers. Furthermore, a tremendous opportunity exists for our nation in developing the resource that is the wealth of LEP children's native languages.

LEP students achieve something of which most American adults can only dream, that is, fluent bilingualism. LEP students can help our country compete in a global economy by helping all students learn a second language. It is our job then to prepare our limited English proficient students to function, to excel in a world economy where being bilingual is an asset and a resource.

Bilingual education does work, and we see it working effectively through the South Texas Rio Grande Valley. The Pharr Elementary School is but one example, and with us is Ms. Gloria Garza, a bilingual education kindergarten teacher from Pharr Elementary School. Her school is a special place where two languages are used without apology and where becoming proficient in both is considered a significant accomplishment. We will be hearing from you shortly.

Children grow so quickly, and it will not be all that long before these children are tomorrow's leaders. A command of two languages will create meaningful opportunities for them that they would not otherwise enjoy. All of our witnesses have something important to share with us, and I look forward to hearing their unique experiences. Their valuable insight will help us immensely as our dialogue proceeds and we craft federal legislation.

If we fail to recognize the importance of bilingual education, we fail our children and, ultimately, we fail our society. The world is becoming ever more global, and I certainly feel it is definitely advantageous to be bilingual or multilingual. Our community is a barometer of that change that is taking place all across America, and that change is positive.

All of us here today participating in this field hearing are agents of change. As agents of change, we need to make sure that every LEP student is offered access to the best possible education. In closing, Mr. Chairman, I want to say that the legislation I will be introducing shortly is entitled "The Access to Excellence in Education for the 21st Century Act." I think we can all agree that access to excellence is what we want for our children, and this hearing signals the beginning of our efforts to move in that direction. I welcome all the witnesses today and thank everyone for their testimony. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Chairman Castle. Thank you.

Mr. Hinojosa. If you will allow me, I would like to begin by introducing the first presenter, a statement by Dr. Ellen M. Gonzalez, Ph.D., who serves as Associate Executive Director of Region One Education Service Center in Edinburg, Texas. She will be speaking on the Bilingual Education Act, and we welcome you, Dr. Gonzalez.




Dr. Gonzalez. Thank you very much, Congressman. Let me also say, Chairman Castle, thank you for this opportunity. Thank you for visiting us here in the Rio Grande Valley. I'm sure all of my colleagues share my since of appreciation at the opportunity to present to you the importance that we feel in regard to the Bilingual Education Act. We are passionately advocates for this very important cause, and we hope that today the information that we share with you will perhaps shed light on your important task when it comes to reauthorizing the Bilingual Education Act. I come to you today in the spirit of optimism. I'd like to begin by saying that I really do believe that the future is bright for our young children that are enrolled in our public schools these days. We have had decades of research, serious dialogue, and really, very fruitful cooperation and collaboration at the local, state, and national levels and universities working closely with school districts. Teachers and administrators are very well equipped today to meet the challenge that our language minority children bring to our classrooms.

I believe that over several years we have really had a very intentional focus on doing what is right for every learner. And with that focus comes a challenge that we take very seriously in terms of meeting the needs of LEP students. I include limited English proficient students in this picture of bright hope and optimism for the future because, indeed, in our state of Texas, student achievement data does reveal that our LEP students continue to make significant gains in learning subject matter as well as learning the English language and becoming proficient and literate in English as well as their first language, which is Spanish.

Saying that, at the same time, I would like to state, however, that we as educators realize that the challenge continues, and we will not be satisfied until we are confident that we have been able to reach every single learner in the classroom.

And so we continue to strive for excellence for all of our children and realize now that, as educators, we must really become even more academic than we have been in the policy debate. And so for that reason, we are, again, very grateful of the opportunity to be here today to share what we hope is something that will be of importance to those of you making these important decisions.

We recognize that the way to do that, we hope, is by being able to explain bilingual education in a way that is clear to the lay people, to all of the stakeholders, and in a way that will make a difference for the children that we are trying to serve.

In the Region One Education Service Center, we are an intermediary agency and we work with 38 public school districts in the Valley, in the Region One area, from Brownsville all the way to Laredo, Texas. Just for background, Chairman Castle, let me just share some demographics with you about the students that we serve.

We have approximately 280,000 students. Of these, 95 percent of them are Hispanic and over 128,000 have been identified as limited English proficient. 81 percent of the children in our schools come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, 10 percent are recent immigrants from Mexico, and approximately 20 percent of the children are migrant students. They do not remain in the one school that they've enrolled in for the entire year, rather, they migrate to other districts either in the state or other states as well.

These children then bring, as you can know, unique challenges to the learning situation, however, again, optimism. When expected to excel academically, they can and they will. In our state of Texas, we have an accountability system that ranks districts and rates districts as "recognized" or "exemplary", etc., based on achievement test data, on state assessment, Texas Assessment of Academic Skills.

In the Region One area in 1998, 17 districts received a "recognized" rating meaning that 80 percent of the students or more passed all of the tests of TAAS and two districts received an "exemplary" rating. Looking at the campus level, that translates to 129 "recognized" campuses and 55 percent "exemplary" campuses, and we look forward to more campuses making that rate with this year's ratings that will be official in August.

With regard to bilingual education, bilingual education does refer to situations in which students are able to study subject matter in their first language and reach high standards in that language while their weaker language skills, in this case being English, catch up. An important and central goal of bilingual education is to promote English and well-organized programs do that very effectively. Does that mean I have a little bit more time?

Chairman Castle. A little more time, yes.

Dr. Gonzalez. Okay. I wanted to stress that two persistent beliefs about bilingual education are that students in bilingual programs don't learn English and that students in bilingual programs never do well enough in academic subjects to join the main stream.

However, exactly the opposite is true. They do acquire English very well, and they do reach satisfactory levels of competency in academic areas. We have several programs in the Region One area that attests to that, districts such as the La Joya Independent School District, which does have a transitional bilingual program.

The major strength in that program is the power with which children can transition into English literacy because they have received a very strong foundation in Spanish literacy. We also have programs that Congressman mentioned. The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District and the Weslaco School District are examples of two-way bilingual programs. This is the emerging new approach to dual language instruction, or we like to call them language enrichment models, because children receive -- the Spanish dominant children learn their language and English as a second language and the English dominant children learn their language subject matter and Spanish as a second language.

So second language acquisition becomes an objective for all students in the program, not only the limited English proficient children. There was an important research study done in our area by the University of Texas at Austin in conjunction with Region One and the University of Texas, Pan American, called The Effective Border School Research and Development Initiative, and I would like to cite that study to the Subcommittee for you to be aware of it.

I elaborated on it in my written testimony, but basically, that qualitative study identified excellent practices in schools in the Region One area, focusing on parental involvement, being very culturally sensitive to parents. We are trying to reach out to the parents of the LEP children focusing on an ethic of caring and concern for every individual student on part of the instructional leaders of the campus and principals, also on culturally responsive pedagogy.

Simply put, meaning that the people who deal with the children accept children and their families for who they are and build on their strengths, and it is not a concept of culture deprivation, but, rather, building on strengths and unique gifts that all of the students bear.

The fourth dimension in their findings alluded to advocacy oriented assessment. And I know my colleague Dr. Ortiz will be talking about assessment practices with regard to those students.

In closing, I would like to make some specific recommendations with regard to the reauthorization of the Bilingual Education Act, and those would be: There is no doubt of a need to continue Title VII support for the purposes of funding efforts for quality certification programs for bilingual teachers. Teachers in the effective schools are highly skilled, bilingually certified teachers, comprehensive professional development programs for teachers, administrators, and staff who serve the language minority students, establishment of two-way bilingual programs that benefit both majority and minority language speakers and that value intercultural relationships and cultural pluralism. Development of systemic improvement of systemwide programs which call for integration of all services to meet the needs of students, and finally, promotion of parental involvement programs through the utilization of strategies that are characterized as culturally responsive and sensitive and accommodating and enabling for the parents of the limited English proficient students.

Through continued support from Title VII, it is hoped that the success stories that are experienced in the Region One Area Schools can be multiplied and that language minority students will have access to excellence and equity in education regardless of where their schooling experience takes place.

The Bilingual Education Act must continue to propel educators to embrace a belief system which professes the dignity and worth of every individual child and family member which values diversity and which respects the contributions that the home environment and the family experience can make to a child's affective and cognitive development.

[The information follows:]



Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Dr. Gonzales; thank you for your presentation. That brings us then to Dr. Josefina Villamil Tinajero, the Assistant Dean and Professor of Bilingual Education at the College of Education, University of Texas at El Paso, also serving as the President of the 1999 Executive Board National Association for Bilingual Education, better known as NABE. Welcome, Dr. Tinajero. You may proceed.




Dr. Tinajero. Thank you very much, Congressman and Chairman Castle for your invitation to provide testimony this morning. I come before you -- in addition to being the President of NABE and Assistant Dean of the College of Education at UTEP, I also come before you as a former LEP child, a former bilingual teacher, and to provide testimony this morning concerning the importance of the issue that is before us.

I thank you for your invitation to be here and to provide an overview of effective instructional practices for linguistically and culturally diverse students. I'm going to focus my comments on three areas on learning academic content, the use of native languages as a tool for communication and learning, and adequate time to learn and succeed academically. If there is one overriding principle that defines what NABE hopes to accomplish during this reauthorization, it is school-based learning outcomes be a reality for every single student regardless of his or her mother tongue.

And federal support and leadership are needed to assure that LEP students, perhaps more aptly described as English language learners, perform to the same high academic standards expected of all children. And this can best be accomplished by schools providing a learning context within which LEP students can academically meet high standards while developing competency, understanding, speaking, reading, and writing English and at the same level as native English speakers.

As far as the effective instructional practices, what have we learned about effective instructional practices of our students? The Center for Research on Education, Diversity, and Excellence issued findings recently on the effective programs for LEP students, and I summarize their findings together with research conducted not only by them and by other bilingual ESL researchers on effective bilingual education, the goals of which are to teach competence in the English Language, English literacy, and academic literacy skills.

And this research shows that all students benefit from strong cognitive and academic instruction conducted in their first language. In fact, that native language is the level the students acquire in that native language is going to predict how well students are going to do in their second language. And LEP students also benefit from on-grade level academic instruction in their first language.

These effects presume that they also receive on-grade level academic instruction in English for part of the school day and throughout the school year. In four to seven years of such combined high quality instruction appears to insure that by the end of high school, typical LEP students will perform as well as typically native speakers of English. And the design of programs for LEP students should be responsive to the needs and strength of local communities, student populations, and available resources.

However, all effective programs share some very, very crucial features, and one is understanding students language knowledge and needs; two, planning and delivering instruction that meets those needs; and three, assessing whether students comprehend the instruction.

And for good students, achievement effective teaching methods must be employed by very well prepared teachers, and someone is going to address that as well. Effective approaches includes students and teachers working together in discovery processes and supportive interaction across the curriculum, developing language through dialogue, and making school meaningful by connecting instruction to a student's strength and everyday experiences in their homes and communities.

And we know that there is a shortage of teachers who can work successfully with LEP students, whether they be in mainstream or bilingual ESL classrooms. As far as learning academic content, we know that all too often we have failed to view limited English proficient students and language minority students in our classroom as an asset, as the congressman said, equating their inability to fully understand English with the lack of intelligence.

And it appears that for LEP students, learning to speak English as quickly as possible is defined as academic success, while English speaking students are expected to achieve it at high levels and high standards in subject matter areas. And overcoming this double standard is the single most important obstacle to providing meaningful educational opportunities for LEP students.

English language developments does not curtail a student's opportunity to concurrently develop successfully his or her academic skills, nor should it deny the students that join the school-based learning or meaningful interaction with teachers and peers within the school setting. And the responsibility of schools consist of far more than merely teaching children to use English.

Our students also have to develop cognitively, intellectually, have access to the core curriculum so that they can progress in school. I just want to mention that the latest research on the subject finds that support for using the native language in schooling of LEP students, that is the 1998 National Research Council Report, preventing difficulties in young children, and I hear that report being referenced everywhere throughout United States, but I hear very few people mentioning that they have also concluded that English proficient students should be taught to read in their native language in order to develop strong literacy skills.

On the time element, I know that this is something that has become very important. How long should we have students remain in the bilingual programs. Everyone seems to be asking questions such as, you know, how fast can children learn English? How fast can we transition them out of bilingual programs? And I propose that this speed trap approach is truly absurd. It's not how fast we are going to transition our students out of bilingual programs, but how high are we going to help them achieve.

And I have included quite a bit of testimony in this area, because it is critically important that an arbitrary time limit which curtails students from engaging equally in subject matter learning and associated academic, social and civic experience from native languages that they are learning English that that becomes a very important issue for us. Enrollment time limits for students in bilingual education under the above conditions, I think, is a scientifically spurious individual harmful and socially damaging alternative which must be rejected, and NABE urges Congress not to fall into that speed trap of asking the wrong questions of bilingual education; that is, how quickly are we going to transition students out? Because it is not how fast or how high or how far. It's not how fast children learn English, but how high they achieve academically and how far they progress through the educational system while achieving successfully.

I'd like to close just by saying that NABE stands ready to work with the committee to ensure that the opportunity for meaningful long-term high quality learning is a reality for every single student, regardless of his or her mother tongue. Our nation's best hope for economic prosperity, productive and creative global engagement, and social well-being lies in making a quality education accessible to all these people in a way that enables all students to significantly participate and benefit from such access. Bilingual education is the substantive model which contributes to this national condition. Thank you very much.




Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Dr. Tinajero. Is it your wish -- are you requesting that the attachments that you submitted be made a part of this record?

Dr. Tinajero. Yes. I did submit a number of attachments, Congressman, and I do request that those be part of my testimony.

Mr. Hinojosa. Mr. Chairman, is that possible?

Chairman Castle. Certainly.

Mr. Hinojosa. So be it. Thank you very much, Dr. Tinajero. The next presenter is Gloria F. Garza, Kindergarten teacher from the Pharr Elementary School in PSJA. And we welcome you coming to share your experiences working with the children and letting us know what it is that you are doing to make your program such an exemplary program and one that makes our children be so proud of being bilingual.




Ms. Garza. Thank you and good morning and welcome both of you to South Texas also. And I'd like to thank you for allowing me to come speak to you today and share the knowledge that I bring as a bilingual teacher.

As you know, I have been -- well, I'd like to share, first of all, that I have been teaching for 12 years, and currently, I am a kindergarten teacher at Pharr Elementary where we are implementing a two-way language enrichment program.

Our campus has been involved in this bilingual program for the past four years. Our program design is a 50/50 model in which 50 percent of the population in each pre-K through 3rd grade classroom are limited English proficient students and the other 50 percent are non-limited English proficient students. Our students receive 50 percent of their instruction in English and 50% in Spanish. This means that if a student is LEP, he or she will receive language arts in his native tongue, being Spanish, from pre-K through second grade. And if the student is non-LEP, then he or she will receive language arts in his native tongue, being English, also from pre-K to 2nd grade. All students will receive math and English, and all students will receive science and social studies in Spanish.

In our program design, we have a slot or a time period daily called ESL, English as a second language, and SSL, Spanish as a second language. During this time, we pull out our LEP students to reteach or review English concepts learned during math instruction. And then we pull out our non-LEP students and work with them in Spanish on concepts learned during science and social studies instruction.

Along with this, we also have 60 minutes dedicated to center time instruction where children are paired off in bilingual partners. Center time instruction is when children have the choice to work independently with their bilingual partners in reading, writing, science, math, manipulative, block, art, music, library, and dramatic play center. Various activities are placed at each center in which the bilingual partners may choose and complete their work. The rationale for this is simply to allow children to work together, yet they are forced to communicate with each other in whatever language they wish. This provides for a very safe and non-threatening environment where the children can practice and communicate in their second language.

Through this program, children can learn to value and respect each other's language and culture. The end result is that all children at Pharr Elementary will truly be bilingual, biliterate, and bicultural by the end of 5th grade. A key component to this program is parental involvement. In order for this program to have the successes it has had, parents have to play an active part. At the start of the program many parental meetings were held to discuss the program design and its benefits. This also gave parents the opportunity to discuss their concerns and to resolve them. Parents were told they had to agree to the program and support it completely if it was going to have any kind of success at all. Parents agreed and become a very involved in our two-way language enrichment program.

Bilingual parents are supporting our school and children's learning in many ways, as volunteer tutors; as field trip supervisors; as classroom assistants; as lunchroom, health room, and administrative office assistants; as organizers of school events and assemblies; and by attending student performances, sporting events other school related activities.

Furthermore, our bilingual parents also serve as decision makers on our campus council, LPAC, Language Proficiency/Asssessment Committee where they are abreast of all concerns and decisions being made for our students and campus. They take part in making instructional decisions as well as day-to-day school operations.

We have had_the success we have had at Pharr Elementary could not have been done without the involvement of our bilingual parents. When families are involved in children's learning at school and at home, everyone benefits. Schools work better, families become closer and students improve academically.

At our campus, Pharr Elementary, we have held parent training sessions in which we have videotaped or made recordings of children reading in their second language; parents are extremely excited when they find out that the child reading in English was actually a limited English proficient student and the student reading in Spanish was a non-limited English proficient student. Parents can see for themselves the benefits and the growth their child had made in the second language, be it Spanish or English.

We have had sessions to show them writing samples of our students. Once again, parents are ecstatic when they find out it was a LEP student writing in English and non-LEP writing in Spanish. Our students have become very competent in the second language that the LEP students have actually scripted their own plays in English and the non-LEP have scripted theirs in Spanish. Clearly, these children are confident about their second language acquisition that they are willing to read and write in both languages without any difficulties.

I come to you today as a teacher, and I am asking you to continue to support and fund Title VII. As I have already mentioned, our two-way language enrichment program is an exemplary program in which children throughout the United States can truly benefit from. As the saying goes, "Quien sabe dos lenguas, vale por dos." Please give our bilingual children an opportunity to succeed and get the best quality education they deserve.

I would also like to state one more thing; that I too will be a proud bilingual parent this fall when my child, my four-year-old daughter, will take part in this bilingual program, and I can tell you she is very excited to go to Mommy's campus to learn Spanish. Thank you.

[The information follows:]



Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Ms. Garza. That was very interesting. I look forward to having a dialogue on this after all the presenters complete their presentations.

This brings us to the fourth presenter, a friend from the University of Texas in Austin, Dr. Alba Ortiz. We welcome you to South Texas, and we are looking forward to your testimony. Dr. Alba Ortiz is serving as the Associate Dean for the Special Education and Bilingual Education Programs at the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin, and welcome. You may proceed.





Dr. Ortiz. Thank you and good morning. I'm here to speak on behalf of including limited English proficient students in state assessments of academic progress. At the same time, I want to caution that we cannot involve students in assessment programs unless we had a well-defined content standards and performance standards and valid, reliable instruments for assessing native language and English as a second language progress.

In forging assessment policy, I think it is very important to remember that achievement is the result of instruction. We use achievement tests to measure how much of what a teacher taught a student learned. In order to get an accurate measure of achievement then, assessments have to be aligned with language and content of instruction. I oppose time limits on assessments in the native language. It is unfortunate that we have to teach in the native language, to test in English mentality in this country that defeats bilingual language education programs. Such an approach suggests that we are accountable for only what students learn in English. Then when we begin to classify schools based on English assessments.

There is a tendency for districts and for teachers to reduce the amount of time allocated to instruction in the native language in order to speed up the transition to all English educational services because of the English accountability measures.

LEP students typically receive the majority of their instruction in the native language as they begin their school career. At the same time, they're being taught English as a second language. Any assessment program should, therefore, answer two distinct questions: how much is this student learning as a result of native language instruction, is he or she learning to read, write, spell, do math on grade level? And the second and equally important question is, how much English is he or she learning?

It is not until the student has been reclassified as English proficient and transitioned out of bilingual education or English as a second language programs that we can conduct assessments entirely in English without modification or accommodation. The state of Texas has developed and will implement soon the reading proficiency test in English which is designed specifically for LEP students in grades 3 to 8, to provide a statewide standardized measure of how well LEP students are developing ability to read in English.

Students can be assessed with our statewide Spanish achievement tests, Spanish TAAS, but they will also be asked to demonstrate how they are progressing in terms of learning to read in English. An assessment program such as this allows you to answer the two questions which I said earlier are very important: How well is the student progressing academically as a result of native language instruction, and how well is he or she learning English.

Implementation of a reading proficiency test in English will ensure that no student is excluded from statewide assessments on the basis of limited English proficiency, but the results of assessment will be interpreted according to the student's language proficiency. Obviously, I hope that we expand the RPTE concept to other contents areas, but assessment of reading is a good first step. As long as there is a requirement that students always be assessed in native language, if that is the language in which he is being taught, and therefore the language in which their achievement is best measured, I can support the additional requirement that students who have been in U.S. Schools for three consecutive years or more also be tested in reading and language arts, tests which are written in English.

However, such assessments should include a language proficiency assessment as well. Without a native language assessment provision or assessment of the English language proficiency, I would oppose such a policy. Assessment in English when students are not English proficient does not provide valid, reliable measures of achievement.

The risk for the LEP student is that educators will interpret test scores on English tests as indicating a deficit in the student rather than, as is more accurate, a limitation of the test. And we are all keenfully aware of the harmful effect of negative teacher expectation over a student's future progress.

I will make just a couple of other key points because there is such tremendous variation in students’ native language and English language characteristics and because of the diversity of program models, we should have a requirement that the decision of the language in which a student will be tested should be the responsibility of a language proficiency assessment committee or a comparable committee at the school or district level. This committee would determine not only the language of assessment, but if the assessment is going to be conducted in English, what would be the appropriate accommodations modifications for these students.

Again, only those language minority students who have English skills comparable to their native English-speaking grade level peers would participate in English assessments without modifications.

My final point is that in addition to requiring assessments of all LEP students, we also need to be sure that we have a process for reporting scores and that districts be required to report scores for all students and that they be required to report those scores according to language proficiency status. That would allow us to monitor the progress of LEP students.

My final point, also, is that even though I know the term "opportunity to learn" is often times a political football, it is impossible to really assess the achievement of students unless we have information about the type and quality and amount of instruction they are receiving. So any language you can add in the bill that would subject that we monitor opportunity to learn would also be an important addition.

[The information follows:]



Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Dr. Ortiz.

Chairman Castle. Let me also thank the entire panel. You're extraordinarily knowledgeable about the subject matter at hand. We have the responsibility as elected officials to move forward with this very, very important program. There is a lot of controversy in this area, and we all speak very well about it, but we realize that behind the scenes, there are just a lot of different reports saying different things about the best way to educate the bilingual education and that concerns me.

Some of this, I think, can be a little bit destructive. Just a technical question for you, Dr. Ortiz, if we could, on the assessment. You may have said this and I didn't pick it up. At what point, if at all, would you say that the assessments could be done in English? When a child is declared English proficient, then that child should take testing in English or make the assessment done through English language, or did I miss something?

Dr. Ortiz. No. I think that's exactly right. To reinforce the point that an achievement measure is a product of what a student is being taught, if the student was being taught in English and is considered English proficient, then they could take English language assessment. Until that point, they need to have modifications or accommodations if assessed in English.

Chairman Castle. Okay. I remember when I took French, actually Latin, and then I took French. Actually, I wish I'd taken Spanish. It's a language I would have a lot more use for in my life, as it turns out. But, I remember after about one week, Joan Cloud, in my class, and Mademoiselle Ward were speaking to each other in French. I realized that maybe I had little deficiency in language studies at that point. But, you know, it concerned me a great deal because, you know, I realized that I was slower than she was and perhaps a little faster than some, maybe not, although I was certainly slower than a number of people in the class.

Do you agree -- maybe I'll start with Dr. Gonzalez -- that different children may require different types of instructional programming, I mean, that one size does not fit all in terms of dealing with language deficiencies?

Dr. Gonzalez. Absolutely. Not only with language deficiencies, but just in learning in general. There is no one program, no one methodology that a teacher could incorporate and say, "This is the trick I'm pulling out of the hat or box here. This is all I have to do for all of my students."

No. Indeed, individualized instruction, not necessarily meaning like we used to take each child one by one, but definitely diagnosing, monitoring instruction, seeing what is working is definitely appropriate and necessary in bilingual education programs as it is in all instructional programs. Time is a factor, other learning styles is a factor in the child's learning.

Chairman Castle. Ms. Garza, what are you going to do in your school, for example -- I mean, to me, inability to learn a language is a wall. That's really a problem. You know, if you haven't read your assignment, go back read it, so if you can't read it because you can't speak the language, that's a problem.

So what do you do in your school if a child placed in a particular program, which you believe is a program which will work, and then the child does not appear to be learning? What shifts do you make or what extra attention do you give or what is done to help that particular child?

Ms. Garza. A lot of oral language development, a lot of picture cues, working one on one with manipulatives, and trying to get, you know, the message that I'm trying to teach the child. Work with them more individually and a lot of TPR lessons and those kind of activities, a lot of chanting and trying to really concentrate with the child and making sure that he is picking up that vocabulary, that terminology that he needs to learn in order to be able to succeed.

Chairman Castle. Does that include after hours? Do you have summer programs for special circumstances?

Dr. Gonzalez. Yes, we do. We have extended day and we also have extended week for some of the children that are having more difficulties, and we work with them. And usually, we have about eight to ten children at a time when we can work with them for a longer period of time individually.

Chairman Castle. Dr. Tinajero, let me ask you a question. As I indicated earlier, you probably know better than I, there are many studies of what works and what does not work in these areas, and I understand that. And you know different people, just as in anything, will say that one theory is better than another.

Do you think it might be preferable, at least at the government level, if we focus our resources on developing instructional models for various instructional methods, if you will, and then allow the local schools to be able to make their decisions as to what model or models work best for their children?

Dr. Tinajero. Yes. You're absolutely right. And this is precisely the reasons why we oppose having, for example, the three-year limit, because I think that takes away from the local decision making which, I think, is so very precious to all of us.

Every school district, every community ought to be able to decide what is best for the children, hopefully taking into consideration the research that is there. I think that this, you know, most of the time, as far as bilingual education is concerned, it is something that is politically charged and people are not looking at the research or would rather not look at it.

For example, this report from The National Research Council, I wonder how many school districts are taking that to heart and looking at it carefully in terms of how do we structure our programs so that we can reap the benefits and our children reap the benefits of that type of instruction.

So, I definitely think that, you know, we should allow school districts to make those decisions at the local level instead of having, you know, something included in the Bilingual Education Act, for example, that might limit bilingual instruction to two years, three years, five years, whatever it may be.

Chairman Castle. My time is up. The bell makes that obvious. Let me ask one final question, if I may, and then absolutely turn to Congressman Hinojosa for his question, and that's the parental responsibility in all of this. I mean, that concerns me tremendously.

Did you find that the -- I would assume that the parents' interest in the bilingual aspect of this is tremendously important. In some cases, they are probably fairly resistant and in other cases they are probably for total immersion as soon as possible and can be conversed with on the circumstances.

In this broader community of South Texas, is it generally your feeling that the parents believe that the sooner that their children learn English, the better off they are going to be, or is there, in certain circumstances, the thought that English is not going to be that important to them?

Obviously, this is true in some circumstances, but the general thought that English is not going to be that important to them, that they don't plan to stay here that long, or whatever it may be, and for that reason there is a disinterest in learning the English language as rapidly as possible. What are you up against in terms of dealing with circumstances at home, particularly in first generation kids coming to America schools for the first time?

Dr. Gonzalez. Is that for me?

Chairman Castle. No, it's for anybody, actually.

Dr. Tinajero. Well, let me just say a couple of things. I think that every single parent thinks that English is very, very important and we do too.

Chairman Castle. That's almost universal?

Dr. Tinajero. That every single child should achieve very high levels of proficiency in English. I think that is a given. I think that what parents sometimes don't understand, and because maybe they're products of society, they do not value sometimes that maintaining that native language, not only maintaining it, but developing it, because they hear so much in our society that it's a deficiency to know a language other than English, which I certainly don't understand.

But every single group of parents that I have worked with in the last several years where they understand bilingual education is the value of being bilingual, the value of the native language in helping their children learn English better, I have not had a single parent that said, "I do not want my child in a bilingual program." I don't believe that parents have the information out there to make the decisions they have to make about where to place their children.

Chairman Castle. Should they be more engaged and involved in that decision, or should educators be making that decision?

Dr. Tinajero. I think parents should be very much involved. I think that educators need to provide the information for parents so that they can make wise decisions.

Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to ask Dr. Alba Ortiz a little bit about one of the issues that we are struggling with in Washington, and that, of course, is language proficiency assessment of our students. And in your remarks you spoke about a committee and you say that because of the tremendous variation in the students' language and English language characteristics, and also in the diversity of bilingual ed and ESL program models that that decision as to the language in which a student should be tested should be the responsibility of a language proficiency assessment committee. Will you expand about exemplary models where that system is being used here in our state of Texas?

Dr. Ortiz. Sure. We have a requirement that every campus or every district have a language proficiency assessment committee that deals with the outcomes of assessment measures so they can make determinations about student eligibility. They meet annually to assess student progress and to determine whether students continue to qualify.

Those committees typically include an administrative representative, a bilingual ed or ESL specialist, a representative of parents, any others that the district may want to involve, so that committee is very deliberate in terms of considering the data and making the decision about continued eligibility for the program. It then makes sense that a committee like that also make the judgment about the language assessment, otherwise, it's very arbitrary.

A principal could decide or a classroom teacher could decide which kids should be tested in the native language and who should be tested in English. And so I'm really responding to that from the standpoint of the national perspective. I actually think that Texas is far ahead of most of the country in terms of its programs and its assessment procedures.

Mr. Hinojosa. Would we be making a mistake at the national level to say in this new Reauthoritization Act that students who have had three years of bilingual education should be tested in English? That is one of the recommendations that has been made by someone in the administration.

Dr. Ortiz. I think it's a mistake to word the policy in that way because the interpretation of it is that regardless of the student's status, regardless of the language of instruction, they'll be assessed in English.

I think the point that I was trying to make is that an assessment program has to have two components, one is the measure of achievement and that's looking at reading, writing, math, spelling, whatever. But the other is an assessment of language proficiency, so if there is a requirement that students be assessed in English, there has to be follow-up safeguards for students that say when we interpret the outcomes of those assessments, we will put aside the outcome, the current assessment of how much English you know; because that's the only fair way to interpret achievement tests in English. Otherwise, what happens is that kids are going to be considered low performing because they didn't do well on a reading, writing, or math measure even though they may know little or no English.

Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you. Dr. Tinajero, you spoke about effective instructional practices for English language learners. Please describe how effective teaching methods help develop students' academic skills while maintaining this native language.

Dr. Tinajero. Yes, sir, thank you. The native language plays a very, very critical role in the intellectual academic development of children. I think that that is something that we forget. We focus on teaching children English sometimes and only English, and we forget that there's something else very, very important there.

The native language plays a role, not only in helping children develop cognitively, academically, intellectually, but also in helping children to be able to become bilingual. Our children bear the gift of bilingualism, and I know that it is an asset to be bilingual.

I don't think you can find a single person who will not say that a speaker of two or three or more languages, you know, is someone who has a lot of things going for them. Somehow we don't make the connection between bilingual education and that being able to acquire, you know, high levels of bilingualism. The native language not only then is the language that is going to help children to develop academically but also supports the development of English.

There is a connection between very high levels of proficiency in the native language and English. The people who are here, for example, everything that they may have learned or heard today, if they are bilingual, if they know a language other than English, they can go and talk about it in French or Spanish or German. That is, those skills are going to be accessible in that knowledge of skills, going to be accessible in that second language.

The same thing with our children. The things that they learn in their native language and to the extent that they learn those things in their native language, those knowledges and skills are going to be available in that second language. So the native language plays a very critical role.

We also know that we have to have time in the classroom. We're going to focus on developing proficiency in the English language. Both of those things are critically important, but the native language is the one, I think, that it is most misunderstood, and it is something that people need to be able to articulate very carefully to parents and educators and policy makers as to what is that goal in the native language. And more than anything else, I'd like for us to remember that it plays a very critical role in the intellectual, academic, cognitive development of children that ultimately will be accessible in that second language, which is English.

Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Dr. Tinajero. Ms. Garza, I really enjoyed hearing and learning about the programs that you have at PSJA, especially at Pharr Elementary, where you teach. This program, the two-way language enrichment that you described, I can understand why your school -- two languages are used without apology and where becoming proficient in both is considered a significant accomplishment, and I can see why your children would be so full of self-confidence and be able to go on to succeed and graduate from high school.

But you talked about parental involvement as a component to the success of this two-way language program. I appreciate the examples you gave of specific involvement activity. You went into a lot of detail about how they participate in their activities and committees. Do you think that maybe that's the thread that sort of makes your program so unique and exemplary?

Ms. Garza. I do believe it is, and I think that the more parents get involved, the more they can go out in the community and spread the word that this is an excellent program, that all children need to be involved or be exposed to this kind of program and that it will truly benefit their children in the long run once they graduate from high school and go on to college that, you know, the fact that they will truly be bilingual is totally, you know, a plus for these children, and I think the parents are the best advocates for this, and they can spread the word out to the community.

Mr. Hinojosa. It is interesting that in my first year in Congress, I took advantage of an invitation by some folks to go visit Taiwan and see the success models that they use to be able to win the International Academic Decathlon of Math and Science.

Why is it that Taiwan and China do so well in international competition? So when we visited with the minister of education and the high school principal where we were taken to a high school and listened to the parents and to the members of the school board there at Taiwan in Taipei, what you just said was repeated by those parents that that was the key to the success of their children being the best in the world.

And so it's interesting, and we appreciate that you shared that with us. Dr. Gonzalez, the last question that I want to ask as we wind up this first panel and take a short break, please elaborate how an effective parental involvement program works so that we can increase it to thousands of people participating in parental involvement.

Dr. Gonzalez. Thank you for that question, Congressman. Parental involvement, as has been stated, is critically important to academic achievement of all students. I think with respect to the population that we are speaking of, when it comes to Title VII, the limited English proficient, typically disenfranchised people from the school system, typically poor, non-English speaking themselves, the parents, it is very, very important that the educators determine ways to reach out more successfully to these parents.

I agree with Dr. Tinajero that in the case when we have parents denying participation in bilingual educational programs, I believe that we have failed as educators in informing them appropriately of the advantages of bilingual education.

Some graduate work that I, myself, did personally with regard to parental involvement highlighted the challenges that we as educators have to this population of parents. In interviewing parents in terms of why are you not more involved in your children's education, etc., the typical responses were, "I'm very afraid to go to school; I cannot understand what they are saying; they do not understand me; they send notes home in English," etc., obstacles that we have been placing in the way of parents. They are -- and it's cultural.

I mentioned in my testimony we need to have parental involvement, culturally sensitive, accommodating and that goes deep down into that belief that we must all have the dignity of every individual and be genuine about it. I want these parents involved. Therefore, what does it take? It takes active outreach; it takes personal invitation; it takes phone calls; it takes home visits, whatever we have to do to be sure that they understand that their objective and ours is exactly the same and that is the well and academic achievement of their children.

Mr. Hinojosa. So if in the national policy we were able to expand on parental involvement to include training so that they would have an understanding of how to read the new report cards, report cards that will grade not only the student but grade the teachers, grade the campus, grade the classrooms, you know. The new report card that is being recommended by Congress is far more than the old report card that we had 24 years ago. And so, I like what I heard you say, Dr. Gonzalez. I hope that Region One will be prepared to expand this suggestion that you're making on how we can give training to the parents.

Dr. Gonzalez. Yes, and I think it's training also for the educators and how to do that, how to reach out successfully to the parents. Texas has a report card similar to what you're proposing at the national level that goes home to all parents. And as you say, I'm not sure how meaningful that is presently to our parents. But, again, the educators' responsibility in educating ourselves about how to effectively outreach to our parents.

Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Castle. Thank you, Mr. Hinojosa. And let me thank this panel a great deal. You've helped us understand the issue better from a variety of aspects of it, and for that, we're extraordinarily appreciative, and, again, we are appreciative of the logistics of getting here and back and forth. I've learned something about that myself last day or so we know that's not as simple as it may be either. So, thank you, and we'll take a very, very brief break while we move the new panel into place.

[Brief recess.]

Chairman Castle. Let's resume. My two or three minutes expanded to six or seven minutes, I think. But we appreciate, again, the second panel being here also, equally as distinguished as the first panel. And I will, again, turn to Congressman Hinojosa for introductions, and you all were in the room, so you understand the basic ground rules. When you hear the bell go off, start to think about getting to some sort of an ending. That would be appropriate. We'll have some time to talk about a few of the issues. With that, we'll go to Congressman Hinojosa.

Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Because of a flight that Dr. Anzaldua, Gilberto Anzaldua, is going to try to make, we are going to change the order of the presenters of the second panel. I do want to welcome each one of you and thank you before making your presentations, because the information that has been shared with us has been very interesting and very informative. We believe that it's going to help us a great deal as we move forward in this process of reauthorization of elementary and secondary education. And I assure you we will be calling on you for additional information as we go through this process.

So, if I may, I would like to introduce Dr. Gilberto Anzaldua, Superintendent of the El Paso Independent School District. Welcome, Dr. Anzaldua.




Dr. Anzaldua. Thank you. When you say Superintendent, that's a full six weeks. I spent 30 years in Oregon and California, having been born and reared right here in Harlingen, Texas. It took me 30 years to get back. Just two things before I get into the body of the presentation. I'll talk a little bit about the work that was done with the Dropout Intervention Program that EPISD initiated some time back.

To describe the picture of what it was, it was about 6,000 freshman students that were followed over a six-year period, some intervention strategies that were employed by the district, and then some recommendations that I might make.

But, before I do that, I just want to echo the previous testimony by the other presenters. I don't think there's any question from the research standpoint that the impact of bilingual education is not only positive but absolutely necessary for an educated citizenry. And I would further suggest that, you know, some people use research to do a variety of things. For example, in this great state of Texas, we started site-based management some time back, and there's not one shred of research that says that it impacts with achievement, not one study. And yet, the state went ahead and did it anyway.

You have in front of you some background material that says what happened to the freshman class of 1990. And this spans three superintendents, Ron McClean, Stan Moss, and now the current superintendent. In 1990, the district launched a longitudinal study to take a look at what happened to 6,000 freshman students that were starting in EPISD high schools. EPISD is the fifth largest district in the state with some 64,000 students who currently have about 20,000 students at the high school level. This longitudinal study attempted to take a look at where the students were, follow them through, and then determine the kind of impact that the instructional programs were having on students.

If you'll refer to the very first page, it says, "Introduction." I would like to refer you to the first table. Of the 6,000 students that started in 1990, new 9th graders were 4700 students. Approximately 20 percent of those students were retained in the initial year which drew some concern on the part of the board and then the superintendent.

On page 2 is the six-year trend following that group of freshman students. The original total number of students, the total enrolled, the number that graduated, including the GED. And if you will look at the fourth column down, it says "Dropouts."

At that point in 1995-96, there were approximately 1,000 students, or a little bit over 26 percent that, in fact, dropped out of EPISD area. What we did is to attempt to follow the students in terms of what the reasons were for dropping out, and, in addition, they looked at what might be done and some kind of background, if you will, on page 3, at the very bottom, you will notice some information about the dropout students. Approximately 60 percent were males, 40 percent were females, 86 percent of those that were dropping out were Hispanic, 9 percent were white, and 5 percent were African-American. Interestingly enough, if you look at the reasons, poor attendance, 24 percent; expulsions, 15 percent; TAAS failures 13 percent; and more than half of the students had at least other reasons that we could not account for at the time.

If you'll flip over to page 6 where you have a color chart, this particular chart describes all of the high schools, the total number of freshmen, those that transferred for appropriate reasons, which are 2,100 out of the 6,000, and the adjusted number of which left 7,150 students. And then you look at the total number of dropouts. There are 981, or a small high school, 26 percent of the total. Once the board and the superintendent looked at the material and saw what the issues were with regard to dropouts, what the board did was to enact a dropout prevention strategy that leveraged all the resources that were available at the district's disposal.

One of the things that they did immediately is to establish what were called at-risk coordinator counselors at every elementary school, at every middle school, and at every high school. And these are different than regular counselors. These at-risk coordinators are to go out into the community, work with families, provide outreach and support services, provide counseling after school and on Saturdays, make sure that there are mentors for students that are in trouble, and provide and schedule tutorial sessions for students to work on study skills, personal skills, as well as other career awareness skills, and academic skills.

In effect, this at-risk counselor became the primary leverage for keeping kids in school so that they wouldn't drop out. Over a period of time, they developed a series of parenting sessions.

Let me go on to three other things I want to focus on. The other intervention that was designed by the school district was called "A Focus on First Grade." These were a series of pilot programs in 13 schools that provided other services throughout the other referral agencies in the community, whether it was a social worker to make home visits, literacy classes for parents, or parenting classes in general.

In it's third year, we instituted the reading recovery program, and you can do that in English or you can do that in Spanish. And that program, over a period of four years, has had some startling results. And the focus here wasn't particularly on those high school students. It was on the little people coming through, 1st and 2nd graders.

The other intervention that had positive strategies were the tutorials that were conducted for students after school and on weekends where college students and other teacher aides and teachers were provided additional stipends to work with kids in tutorial areas, and the areas were reading, math, and science.

And the fourth intervention was a collaborative with UTEP, The National Science Foundation funded and sponsored an urban systemic initiative to focus attention retraining teachers in math and science to focus attention on literacy skills in those areas for those students. Over that five-year span, the scores continued to climb and go up based on the TAAS and other measures that we use locally.

The last intervention I want to mention is the Parent Academy. We've been involved over the last several years in working with parents who have kids that are at risk of dropping out, and the thing we have found out is that the absolute critical factor is the role of the parents.

We provide parenting classes, parent involvement sessions, as well as leadership training for parents who are now supporting their youngsters so that they don't drop out. Over that initial period, when I mentioned that there were 26 percent to 30 percent dropout rates in the district, that rate has been cut in half. And this next fall, we are going to institute a follow-up study to find out the continuing impact of the programs and the interventions that have been made.

One of the things that we're going to be taking a look at is the work that has been done in the Raymond Telles Academy, which is an alternative education facility for students that are either about to be expelled or about to drop out. We have somewhere in the neighborhood of 350, and we operate the Raymond Telles Academy countywide. Any of the schools that are interested can send their students there if they're at risk.

And the last intervention is something called "The School Age Parent Center." This is a complete academic and social services facility which provides prenatal, postnatal care for young adults who may be teenage moms and/or dads and helps them focus on improving school and making sure that they return to school. I'll stop there.

[The information follows:]



Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Dr. Anzaldua.

Chairman Castle. What is the schedule? Are you going to leave here in 5 minutes?

Dr. Anzaldua. 15.

Chairman Castle. 15. Maybe we could ask a question or two, If you don't mind if we take a moment or two. Let me just start, and we will try to divide this time between us two equally.

Let me start with this: This is a very interesting study. The dropout prevention programs that you're discussing, I would assume, although they're aimed at the fact that there are high dropouts, in particularly the Hispanic community there are high dropouts, but most of these prevention programs, to me, would work in any community.

Dr. Anzaldua. Yes, they would.

Chairman Castle. They really are not a function of working in one particular community or another; is that correct?

Dr. Anzaldua. It certainly can be replicated in other places.

Chairman Castle. And hopefully are being. And I worry about the high level of Hispanic dropouts which is a function of a million things: varying backgrounds and different things like this. But what is being done in this area in adjusting that problem before the kids get to schools? Is there anything the schools are doing, other things that may not be exactly in the fields that you are an educator, but that you know about which could help? A number of things_for instance, language is a problem or they're in the daycare operations and various other programs. Is that being addressed or are other problems being addressed before the kids are getting to schools? What kind of kindergarten or pre-kindergarten programs are offered, generally, in South Texas or your district in particular?

Dr. Anzaldua. There two things that are going on. One, we all know about, in my opinion, the best dropout correction program is a fully functioning Head Start Program, period. For every dollar that you give me in Head Start, I'll save you $5 somewhere else down the road.

Second, the parent center that we mentioned is a comprehensive center in cooperation with other social service organizations in the county. They provide health. They provide parenting. They do job referrals. The whole idea is this, though, that you provide service in one place where all the services can be integrated as opposed to going to ten different places to get a particular service.

The other thing that it does, and this is mentioned by previous speakers, it is sensitive to the needs of those parents and young adults that go there. They can meet them at their point of need, not at someone else's point of need.

The third thing that we've done in working, for example, with Clinic, which is in the south central portion of the city, is that they're now conducting those parenting sessions for young adults as well. And in this, we started with young moms who were pregnant and needed an opportunity to take care of their youngster and go to school. Later it was extended to include the dads as well. And that has seemed to benefit a lot of people, and the response from the community has been overwhelmingly positive.

The other thing that's important, and it was mentioned before, is that we make sure that programs like reading recovery, which is basically at the first grade level, be comprehensive and made districtwide. At this point, we have it in about 18 of our schools, we have 86 sites, and we have 66 elementary schools. And my goal would be to make sure that there is a reading recovery program in every single school, because it is one of the best early intervention programs we have.

Chairman Castle. Let me ask one other question and then I'll yield here. And that's the whole parental aspect of it which has been touched on by a lot of people already today and properly so. And you mentioned as part of the parenting sessions -- and apparently in the county you're doing this in is very sensitive as well. But in my judgment, when you look at success rates in education, obviously, you know, the Asian kids who come to America seem to succeed better than anybody, generally speaking, ahead of anybody from any European country or whatever, and you go down the row and then you get into the different elements and who's succeeding and not succeeding, and a lot of it is determined by poverty or whatever it may be.

One common thread in all of this is the parental interest. Now, I found that again and again with parents, to me, the difference is what happens at home. In schools, there are good schools and bad schools all over the country, as we all know.

You know, you've been to a lot of different places in the country, but the bottom line is that the parents are engaged and genuinely interested, even if both of them are working or whatever, the kids seem to do better. My question is, what can we do, particularly in areas where you have more dropouts, etc., to engage the parents, if anything? So much of this is cultural and beyond the grip of what an educator or elected official can do, and I realize it's not possible. What can we do to capture that interest of the parents early on so they're a partner in all of this in the very beginning?

Dr. Anzaldua. Let me refer to my California experience, having spent 24 years there. I worked in LA County Office of Education for 10 years. And during that time, at first, when I came in, I met with all my curriculum staff and I told them we were going to focus on parent education, parent involvement, parent leadership and a million different things.

Eventually, the curriculum staff, over 300 or 400 of them, looked at me and said that is what they do over in migrant education or in Title I. And I told them, "Okay. Don't we have parents across the county? There are a million and a half students in LA county."

And what we did was we launched a parent education center. It's still there thriving and well. We started out with ten lessons for parents, but we didn't develop the lessons without the parents. We went out to the community and asked the parents if we were to provide training and development for parents, what do you think the topics should be? And the parents very readily told us in Mandarin, Cantonese, English, and Spanish, this is what we want. And then the staff went to work to develop those programs.

The most successful effort -- this was done on TV because the LA County Office of Education owned it's own public television station -- is that the parents were trained to work with other parents. And we wonder how can you have a multiply effect, but during that ten-year period that I was there, there were over 60,000 parents trained. And it was not Gilberto Anzaldua, facilitator, it was the parents that I trained. Ten went out and trained ten and ten and ten you get a pretty good multiply factor over time. The parents were the most effective in dealing with other parents.

And you were able to multiply that effect, and now there's something like 200 hours of training, provided a period of time so that there's parent facilitators, parent mentors, you can do family math, family science. You can do it either on the tube, if you will, or you can do it, you know, person to person. That's the only way that LA County was going to get to 81 districts and the millions of parents that are there.

Those 60,000 are like an army of advocates for other parents and kids. And that was one of the best strategies we ever used. If you would have told me earlier, "How would you do that," I probably would have told you, "I do not have a clue." But the suggestion came from parents. Why don't you train parents, and then we will go out and each one -- if I'm trained, my commitment is to train ten. Those ten, in fact, train ten more, and pretty soon you have a mushroom effect.

Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Anzaldua, you spoke about the at-risk coordinators who act as mentors to kids at risk of dropping out of school and gave us statistics that show success with which y'all are increasing the number of students to graduate from high school, which is commendable.

Just as you-all have done so well in El Paso in the Head Start Program, which is recognized all the way to Washington as one of the exemplary programs in getting children ready to go to school because of that success from the Head Start Program. Tell us, please, the outreach that is done by these coordinators to reach the whole family and how that is done.

Dr. Anzaldua. From the beginning, one of the assumptions we made was that we had to make a departure from the traditional counseling. Instead of one-on-one counseling at the high school level, we brought in at-risk counselors who were trained but were willing to do something different. The difference was this: We went out and instead of talking with kids and parents during the day, you're going to go and provide outreach after 3:00 in the afternoon, from 3:00 to 7:00. In addition, you want to do outreach that is family-oriented, not individual. And the assumption was if you got one student at risk of dropping out, you may have another one in the family. There may be some other family needs.

Second, they were all to develop a referral system to access resources available in the community, from other social services organizations, so that they would know how to access that information in that particular resource.

And third, there was a feeling that as you go out and provide outreach to parents that you wanted to bring parents in as equal partners. And a lot of parents had a lot of contributions to make, but they had never been asked, or they had never been asked in a language they understand and could communicate in.

The final thing is that the outreach people wanted to make sure that tutorial services were provided to students so that those services don't interfere with the regular instruction of the day. And that was one of the real big pluses, that you knew that after school between 3:00 and 6:00 there was an opportunity for students to get basic skills, training and tutorial services that did not interfere with the regular curriculum.

Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you. I want to go on the record that the work that is being done by your Congressman from El Paso, Congressman Sylvester Reyes is excellent. He is working very closely with us on the Texas border region in addressing these problems, and he certainly has been setting the, I guess, leader of the line.

It seems that the unemployment rate that existed in the El Paso County has dropped from double digit to only 9 percent. And so we're very, very pleased with the work that he is doing, and we congratulate him for his leadership, and we thank him also, for allowing both of you to come to present the testimony here at today's field hearing. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Chairman Castle. Thank you, Congressman Hinojosa. And thank you very much. We appreciate your being here. We realize that you have travel responsibilities, and we don't want you to be late for your plane.

Dr. Anzaldua. Thank you. I appreciate it.

Chairman Castle. I wish you well. Good luck with your new job.

Mr. Hinojosa. We are very pleased to have Ms. Gloria Gallegos, Executive Director of Special Programs of the Pasadena Independent School District, and we are looking forward to hearing your testimony.




Ms. Gallegos. Good morning, Chairman Castle, Congressman Hinojosa. I'm here today to share a story from my district. As we begin to look at the challenges that we were faced with in our particular district, Pasadena Independent School District. For those who do not know, we border with Houston Independent School District, just to give you a brief overview of what our district looks like, because it is an important variable as we consider the information that we will be sharing with you this morning.

Our district has a little over 41,000 students. 55 percent of those students are economically disadvantaged, and that level of economically disadvantaged increased over a very short period of time. Within about the last eight years, we have increased significantly, at some points up 10 percent annually, in terms of economically disadvantaged. 22 percent of our students are limited English proficient.

So what we had in terms of the challenges that we were encountering in our district, as we looked at our district and the growth pattern in our district, we began to look at the state level as well in the national level to see if we were a typical district in terms of growth or are we atypical. And what we discovered was that we parallel very closely the changes that we are facing across the state as well as the national level.

Even though we have great challenges, let me share with you what we have been able to do over the last six years in terms of the state accountability rating. We began in 1993-94 with approximately four or five of our campuses that were low performing and the rest of them were very, very close to becoming low performing. I am very proud to stand before you today and tell you in 1998-99, we have, right now, 33 elementary schools. Out of the 33 elementary schools, we have 31 that have either received "exemplary" or "recognized" or "district amended."

We have eight intermediate campuses. Out of the eight, we have three that are "recognized", and one "district amended." We have four high schools. Out of those four high schools, we have one that is "district amended."

We certainly have improved within the organization, internally, and so the outcome has been in student performance across the district. Given the demographic and given the size of our district, we are one of the few districts in the state of Texas to receive the "recognized" status for the second year. We were "recognized" last year and "district recognized" this year.

Now, still within that pattern, do we have a perfect system? Absolutely not. We do not have a perfect system, but what we have is tools and processes and procedures to help us improve a system within. And so what I come before you to do today is to share with you the process that we have used in developing a five-year operational plan for our bilingual ESL program. What we have done is, we have studied the research. We've looked at effective models, what the research tells us in terms of providing instructional models for our limited English proficient students, but that's not enough. We also -- what we did, we studied the Scans Report from the Labor Department to look at what employers are wanting from a national perspective, and we did the same thing at the local level. We invited business people and community people to come in and tell us what is it that you want from our graduates? And so it paralleled very closely with what the Scans Report had given us.

From there, then we begin to develop processes and procedures. And what I have provided for you is, basically, an agenda of the process that we used that improved our program. We borrowed from the Dupont model to be able to study our system in addressing the needs of limited English proficient students. As we analyzed the subsystems and the supportive system of the program itself, we discover that subsystems were very dysfunctional. Every single way that we looked, whether it was instruction, assessment, curriculum, staffing resources, you name it, it was dysfunctional. So, rather than to point fingers and say, "Who is at fault," we are not interested in that. We are interested in how do we improve it and how do we make it a win-win for everybody. But we could not do it by ourselves.

So what we did was we enlisted a force, a committee, if you would, of 90-plus people who were a cross-representation of our district as well as our community people and parents. And we asked, what is the current experience with the program? And then we looked at a systems framework model from the Dupont tools to be able to look at what is the idea and how do we overcome the barriers. From that, we had a great deal of dialogue.

And so what we attempted to do, and we did, was a systemic reform. How do we look at all the variables and reform the subsystems that support a bigger system? So we began by aligning the bilingual ESL program. What we developed was a transitional model, and what we did was a combination of the late exit/early exit model. I really would have liked to have done the two-way bilingual, but the reality was we did not have the personnel to be able to do that. However, we are still pursuing it.

What we also instituted was a continue for the language of instruction. What percent of the time do you instruct in Spanish and what percent do you instruct in English? Because the reality was that we had a potpourri of things happening across our district, and we were hurting children. Pretty much, the children were beginning to look like learning-disabled students, when, in reality, the disability was with the instruction, the curriculum, and the assessment.

So what we have done is that we have developed an operational plan that addresses program, assessment, identification and placement, curriculum and instruction, resources, staff development, parent and community staffing, communications, and the issue of bussing children to other campuses.

So I have given you a copy of our plan that has in it the vision for the program itself. And, by the way, the vision and the goals are also aligned with the district vision and goals. And so it is not a program operating in itself, it has become a program that is integrated and consolidated into the original districtwide plan.

So what you have is a vision, the goals and objectives, along with action steps. What you do not have before you is the action steps in more detail, defining specifically what is it that we need to do to be able to get to the ideal state? And so that has been assigned to different personnel within our district with responsibility and then, also, with time lines for implementation with a strong component for evaluation.

There's a number of things that we have been able to do to reform our program within the district, and, of course, in five minutes, it's impossible to share the entire thing that we have done. But, in closing, by virtue of the fact that I also work with Title I, Title II, Title IV, and Title VI within my program, within my scope of responsibilities, I have been able to borrow a lot of what we have done under the Title I umbrella and consolidate it and integrate it into the bilingual ESL program. And I would be glad to share that with y'all later, if you're interested in that.

But in recommending -- what I would like to see is, you are considering the reauthorization of the bilingual ESL program to focus on educational improvement efforts by requiring alignment of different programs. The use of high quality standards and assessments to ensure schoolwide and systemic reforms. Ensure that the needs are met of all students. I would also like the see greater involvement of parents and a much broader link to the community. We cannot do it by ourselves.

Increase focus on professional development, also in English and accountability with recommended corrected actions. Increase opportunity for schools and school districts to receive waivers of federal rules. In fact, we have instituted a waiver request at the district level for those campuses that are proven to be successful that do not want to follow the continual instruction and the models that we are proposing. So we wanted to create some flexibility within the district as well. And, finally, greater administrative flexibility in consolidating and coordinating programs. Thank you.

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Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Ms. Gallegos. And the next presenter is Dr. Medrano from The University of Texas here at Edinburg. We are delighted that you could participate, and I want to commend you for the work that you did in helping us as we prepared our applications for gear-up programs. Hearing Dr. Anzaldua talk about how they started with Head Start and really focussed on 1st grade and 2nd grade reminds me of the effort that you have been making in trying to make sure that at middle school, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders are also focused so that they can be given mentoring and tutoring and everything necessary so that they too will graduate from high school and be given an opportunity to higher education. So I'm very pleased to introduce you, Dr. Medrano.




Dr. Medrano. Thank you, Congressman Hinojosa. And, Chairman Castle, let me say that I want to thank you. You're a long way from home, but the fact that you're here shows us that you care. You care, in particularly, for the children. And Congressman Hinojosa, we realize the support that you've given our area, and it just warms our hearts to know that you're here, especially for the effort of bilingual education.

Let me say that as I prepared, I thought -- I come before you not as the dean of the college of education, because I've only been that for four years. I've been, longer than that time, I've been a LEP child and then a bilingual education teacher, and may I say that as a beginning teacher, I was funded by ESEA, we used to call it then, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. So, I have firsthand experience of what these funds can help a district do. As an early childhood teacher, I had the opportunity to teach children in two languages. I was fortunate that I was biliterate myself and could do it.

It was very interesting back in 1972 when South Padre Island was just becoming the resort that it has become that people from elsewhere were coming as the developers. English-speaking people only, but they were very wise because they wanted their children in the Port Isabel School District Maintenance Bilingual Program. Back then, the district had enough vision to carry on two-way bilingual programs up to the 5th grade. So I had firsthand experience with that program.

I want to say at this time that I want to recommend that perhaps in the new reauthorization we find another word other than "limited" to refer to limited English proficient students. Perhaps we can refer to children who come to schools with Spanish, in our case, only as "English language learners." The word "limited" seems to convey that there's something wrong, that there's a deficiency. So just food for thought, and we can discuss that later.

I'd like to get into why I'm here. I'm here to speak about teacher preparation. I'm proud to say that the PSJA program that Gloria spoke to you about is a collaborative between our bilingual education teacher preparation program headed by Dr. Leo Gomez, who is in the audience, and the district of PSJA. And that is not the only district that is implementing dual-language programs. We have schools in Weslaco and we have schools in La Joya and other schools getting ready to implement next September. They have to make a long-term commitment because it requires an entire year of teacher preparation before they implement. So that is the key to success, and that is teacher preparation programs working with school districts.

Let me get into another personal issue or story as my colleague said. Very recently, last month, I had an opportunity to spend six days in Mexico, three days in Mexico City, three days in the state of Oaxaca. I was there as an educator. In Mexico City, we visited schools where school children are expected to learn three languages. Then we moved on to the state of Oaxaca, and if you're familiar with Mexico, Oaxaca is one of the poorest states. The officials there were so proud to showcase their bilingual program in Oaxaca where they barely have enough for chalk and blackboard and textbooks.

So as a group of US citizens, we asked ourselves why is it that in Mexico children are being prepared to face a future of a multilingual global economy and why is it that in the United States we are still concerned with monolingualism. And as you heard some comments here, sometimes we're also very concerned with how fast students can transition into all English.

So, again, I want to share that personal experience because I think it's food for thought. I think that as public and government officials, we need to seize the opportunity and develop childrens' first language during the early years of schooling. This is an important human resource for our global society.

Let me get quickly into the question, in light of all this, what can institutions of higher education do? What can colleges of education do to make sure that we prepare teachers that are prepared to teach the children that very soon will be become a majority in this country?

You've heard the research. You've heard the recommendations. You've heard the definitions of dual language programs. So I'm going to skip that in my testimony. I'm going to go to what we are doing and what I feel and what we feel in the college of education can be a model for, certainly, the reauthorization of the Act, the Bilingual Education Act.

To meet the challenge of teacher shortages in this area and underprepared teachers, the last few years, five to be exact, we have restructured our entire teacher preparation program. In other words, we don't do things the way we used to when I went through a teacher preparation program.

Very briefly, what we do now is we have a program that is field-based. In other words, we work with school districts very closely. Our students are out in the public school as soon as they enter our college of education. By the time they graduate, our interns, as we now call them, have over 700 hours of direct contact with children. So you know we are putting out a better prepared product. Also, the scores on our Texas licensing exam for bilingual comprehensive, our cumulative pass rate is 92 percent.

So, Chairman, I'm here to say that we're doing something right. We want to improve and we want to do things better, but I think we have something to offer. Our teacher preparation program addresses the following: Multicultural and diversity understanding, field base experiences and extended internships, integration and effective use of technology, innovative teaching and best practices, heavy cooperative efforts with the public schools, as well as colleges of arts and sciences, those professors that teach the history, that teach the math, that teach the science, and modifications so that we can prepare teachers or students that work during the day or that are single parents, the non-traditional student, and, of course, the ongoing collaboration with the public schools.

We are trying to model. We are piloting what we are preaching to our students. If we know the dual-language programs are the best way to educate students whose primary language is not English, then we have to model that ourselves. In the audience there are four students currently participating in what's called "Project Alianza." That is an alliance of five universities, multistate universities, partly funded by the Kellogg Foundation. Our goal is to develop a model bilingual education dual-language teacher preparation program. Just like you heard Gloria describe what happened in her kindergarten classroom, in our college classrooms, we pair English dominant students with Spanish dominant students.

You might say, "Where did you get those at the college level?" Well, we have many teachers from Mexico that have immigrated, that have made the decision to become American citizens that are here, well documented, and so we recruited them into the program. They come to us with lots of experience, with fully certification as teachers. And so we are piloting that program. It has given us great success already, one semester, one summer, and I recommend that you speak to the students. They can tell you better than I can.

Final recommendations: two-way bilingual education programs not only produce bilingual students who are academically successful and superior, but they do it not at the expense of their primary language. The goal of two-way bilingual programs is equal proficiency in two languages or biliteracy. I would, therefore, challenge all us as leaders to depoliticize the bilingual education programs and focus on dual education as the goal for all students in the United States. We must, therefore, stop supporting ineffective bilingual education programs such as transitional bilingual education programs and give our students the tools of biliteracy that they will need to compete in the future.

In conclusion, I want to thank you for the opportunity to testify. Thank you for listening, it's been a long morning I know for you that are listening, and for giving us the consideration to the issues that we have raised here this morning. And let us all continue the improvement of bilingual education, but most importantly, the academic achievement of all students throughout Texas and the United States. And, again, since I'm speaking on behalf of teacher preparation, we must support teacher preparation programs that are ready and willing to prepare teachers who can implement effective bilingual teachers.

And one last comment that became very clear to us while we were visiting in Mexico. As Spanish speakers, or at least children of my generation, we went to school, 1st grade, speaking only Spanish. We were told not to speak Spanish and to develop English. We did that. Some of us did it better than others. But then we had to turn around in high school and learn Spanish as a foreign language. It just makes sense to us, Chairman Castle, that perhaps we need to stop spending the millions of dollars both eradicating Spanish in the primary level and then spending millions at high school teaching Spanish as a foreign language. It just doesn't make sense to us.

It seems that if you focus in the early years on the development of biliteracy, then we could spend those millions in other areas and not necessarily teaching, in our area, our case Spanish as a second language. So, thank you very much. Those are comments that are not in the written testimony, but as I've been listening, those are some things I want to share.

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Chairman Castle. Comments not in written testimony are always the most fun. Let me thank you both very much for your great, thoughtful comments, in bringing a different perspective, frankly, on the subject that we have had from some of the earlier panelists, and, you know, as usual, we've got five or six minutes to ask questions. You only have five minutes to present, and you don't get it all in. I know, Ms. Gallegos, that we have some extensive reading to do as well.

But I'm interested in your five-year plan. I'm interested -- there's so much that it's hard to absorb, but how would you say it differs from other plans that you have read about our heard? And you said, at one point, that you borrowed from Title I and other programs in putting this together. I'd be interested in what you did borrow from those programs in terms of putting it together.

Your success rates appear, on the face – and I'm sure when we get time to go in depth -- to be quite substantial, and I would like to know how this differs, not how it all works, but what are the highlights of the things you've learned from it that perhaps we can learn from it. Did you understand that?

Ms. Gallegos. Absolutely. Yes, I do. First of all, is the pull-up programs. We no longer have pull-up programs like we had in the past. And, of course, that was something that we, in the research, we know that does not work.

Secondly, in terms of the accountability, looking at the assessment issue and looking at pre and a post assessment for all children, just like we did with Title I initially, before we had the TAAS. Now, we're using it as part of the assessment. So what we've implemented in our district, just like Dr. Ortiz stated earlier, not only are we looking at the English proficiency use and the oral proficiency tests, but we do pre and post every single year to measure the language acquisition in English. So that has become a must.

Then, what we've also done are a pre and a post of the academic performance of the students. We have worked with the teachers very, very hard in helping them look at the data. How do we segregate the data so that we look specifically in terms of what are the strengths and what are the weaknesses of the children and then we can develop some diagnostic prescriptive instruction from there.

But most importantly, we also have helped our teachers understand how do you look at those assessments to do some self-analysis for yourself as a whole. If you begin to see a pattern where children, year after year, having holes in a certain area that you are teaching, then you need to do some introspect and reflect on what it is that I'm doing as teacher to use it as an improvement tool.

The other thing that I borrowed from Title I is the Ed-Flex waiver process. We have created a waiver process within our district, like I stated earlier, to be able to create some flexibility, and for those campuses that are successful in the way they're implementing bilingual program, let's leave them alone, but let's find out what it is that they are doing because everybody was doing the wrong thing. Nobody really knew what anybody was doing.

And so by establishing the waiver process, the process that we use in that, it is if you look at the Ed-Flex waiver process, looks very much like it, except that I tweaked it just so it would fit our district needs. What it does require is that there's some thought before people abandon what they are doing and it must be based on research and it must be based on, also, student performance. The process that we have established that the particular campus has to get approval from their associate superintendent and it also has to go before the board so that board will approve the waiver process. And so then what we do is we monitor all the campuses and they monitor themselves also, but we monitor closer those campuses that have requested waivers.

Chairman Castle. In other words, if they're doing it correctly, then your reaction is to allow them to continue doing it, but you want to know what they're doing?

Ms. Gallegos. That is correct.

Chairman Castle. I would like to thank you for your comments about the Ed-Flex waiver program. I happen to be the sponsor of that in the Congress. And, actually, I think it's a good program as well. I don't know if the audience knows this either, but we had number of witnesses about that. As you probably know, Texas is one of the twelve states which did it on trial basis, and this year we had it authorized for all of the states, and that's what we really got done because it worked so well.

But one of the strong reasons for that was what has happened in Texas. Texas has done very well with that process. They used it very well with something like 4,000 waivers, a tremendous number of waivers. Maryland also had done very well. The work in Texas was really key in probably getting that passed, having all 15 governors, by the way, endorsing it, which is really unusual. The governors never agree on anything as far as I'm concerned.

Let me turn for a little bit of time to Dr. Medrano, and with respect to a couple of things you said, I was really interested, first of all, when you spoke, I think this whole business of teacher preparation is a subject with tremendous need for development in this country. I'm really worried that we are starting to stagger little bit in that particular area.

And some of the things you're talking about, to me, go beyond just the bilingual. For example, the whole field business -- having teachers -- I assume you just learned that to be a valuable experience regardless of whether they're teaching history and English, Japanese or any other language, I suppose, as well as the bilingual aspect of it?

Dr. Medrano. That's correct.

Chairman Castle. Or is it more special for the bilingual, for example?

Dr. Medrano. No. Our entire teacher preparation program early childhood, elementary, special ed, bilingual program, secondary, it's all field-based. That was a complete change that we did back, starting in '95.

Chairman Castle. And you feel that's very interesting. You feel that has been a tremendous boost to your teacher preparation?

Dr. Medrano. Yes. Not only does it place the students in the classrooms very early on and therefore, by the time they graduate, they are more confident, and they are more knowledgeable. The principals are telling us that they can tell right away our graduates during an interview because they are so excited about teaching, but most of all, so confident about what they know and they know children. And this, may I say, is not unique to UT, Pan American.

The state of Texas made funds available during early '90s so that those programs that were ready to restructure had the support that we did. We took the challenge as a result. Chairman Castle, again, I'm proud to say that our College of Education has been recognized as a model field-base program.

Chairman Castle. Are other schools around the country, to your knowledge, doing this, starting to do it more?

Dr. Medrano. I believe so, because of the number of inquiries that we've had and visitors and media that has focused on our program. Yes.

Chairman Castle. You made the statement that when your students are interviewed, you can see their level of interest and excitement in what they may be doing, which is teaching. Is that generally true? I would suppose you also -- and this is probably a good possibility, you find some students who just -- when go out to the classroom find maybe this isn't for me. You get them out earlier so you don't waste time with them.

Dr. Medrano. Exactly. Exactly. In the past, those few would find out the last semester after mom and dad or themselves have spent, you know, a fortune putting them through college. Now, they at least find that out very early, and they can make a change for a different program.

Chairman Castle. And just my final question, with respect to bilingual aspect of this, is it helpful for the students to be exposed to and involved with bilingual programs in terms of their knowledge of that and their ability to handle that?

Dr. Medrano. Naturally. And that's the key, I think, to our preparation. We work very closely with the school districts to make sure that the students in the bilingual program are placed with mentor teachers that are truly prepared as bilingual teachers themselves and that are implementing to the level like Gloria is.

And so, yes, it's -- in other words, they don't just hear it from us or, in our case, as I said, we are trying to model the same thing that's happening in_or the characteristics of dual-language programs, but they get to see it in action every day.

Chairman Castle. Thank you. Congressman Hinojosa.

Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Dr. Medrano, the importance of referring to limited English proficient students as English language learners was an interesting statement that you made, and I hope that we can take that back to Washington and see how the rest of the committee feels about considering that recommendation.

You also mentioned restructuring your teacher preparation programs so that students are in the classrooms with direct contact of children. There's no doubt in my mind, after today's presenters, about the importance of teacher preparation and teacher certification, if we are to have an expansion of exemplary bilingual education programs. And I am very pleased to hear in more detail about what the University of Texas, Pan American is doing and the facts speak for themselves, that you are preparing probably more bilingual ed teachers than any other university.

I don't know what the difference is between El Paso and Edinburg, but I know that the statistics are very favorable for The University of Texas here at Pan American. Would you please tell us about the two-way bilingual education teacher preparation program, because that concept that Gloria presented was very interesting and I would like to know is that being done in other parts of the country?

Dr. Medrano. Well, as I said, we're piloting or we participate in a proposal that went to Kellogg Foundation. And in that proposal -- the goal of that proposal was to produce more bilingual education teachers, because we all know there's a shortage. There's a shortage area all over the nation. And so those of us that got chosen to participate, then had to develop our models. In other words, we had to decide on our own how it was we were going to prepare the teachers. And so with the leadership of Dr. Leo Gomez, we decided that, in other words, we were going to walk the talk.

If we're saying and we read the research and we ourselves are generating the research and it is very clear that dual language, that is, biliteracy that should be the goal, then that's how we should be running our own program.

And so our model calls for a teacher preparation bilingual education program that prepares the teachers or the future teachers through a dual language process. So these four students that are here can tell you. They just completed, yesterday as a matter of fact, three courses where the faculty delivered the instruction in two languages, and that was a technology course, a beginning reading course, in other words, how to teach reading, and how to develop comprehension in children.

So it requires us to, A., make sure that our faculty are prepared to do that, but also that we can do it right, and then when our students go out into the field, they can see that in action. So we've already decided, because of what we've seen in just two semesters, that that is how we are going to develop our complete reading, bilingual education teacher preparation program. This is -- if you can -- Project Alianza is a cohort within our bilingual education program. So we've already decided that we are going to bring all our bilingual education faculty, and we have six. That's a pretty big bilingual education program faculty. And make sure that dual language becomes the model, the teacher preparation model. So just like you heard Gloria say, she pairs her students, English dominant and Spanish speaker in bilingual pairs. We do that. A lot of interactive cooperative learning, we do that.

Mr. Hinojosa. Thank you. Ms. Gallegos, the programs that you have presented to us in a very short period of time, five minutes, is all in detail here. I'm looking forward to going through it, but I was pleased that you spoke about Ed-Flex, because that was certainly one of the big issues that we debated and we voted on and passed through the House of Representatives using Texas as one of the states with exemplary programs that allow this.

So could you_would you tell us how much importance this plan is giving the involvement that you spoke of with the parents and the business community? I was interested in seeing how that is being utilized in Houston, because certainly Houston is very successful in commerce and the business community is asking for a trained workforce. Tell us how that component is in this program.

Ms. Gallegos. Okay. You have the actual plan that is tabbed where you get a gist of the action steps. What you don't have further down -- well, you don't have a copy of that because it's another lengthy instrument. We have taken each one of the objectives and the goals and we have flushed out the action steps in more specific details with assignments at the central office or at campus level personnel. Part of what we were able to do, then, is what we discovered was that we had not done a very good job of informing our external, as well as our internal, customer what bilingual education is and what it is not.

And so in an effort to educate our community further, we have created this little pamphlet. This, in a nutshell, is a consolidation of the big plan that you have before you. It's an effort to let our community know what we're dong. Now, in terms of being able to coordinate all the Title programs and being able, more specifically, with Ed-Flex waivers, the consolidating and integration of fund sources, because, of course, money is always an issue in anything you want to do. So I was able to reserve a certain percentage of Title I monies to be able to do staff development, since it was a district initiative. We had both a reading initiative as well as an bilingual ESL initiative over the last 2 years. And so I was able to consolidate funding to be able to provide for staff development.

Additionally, what we did was we were able to obtain external funding sources in the form of grants. We have the academics 2000 grant. We have the reading academy grant, and the reading academy grant was about a half a million dollars, and we used that specifically to implement the Spanish host as a supplement to the reading instruction that is going on in the bilingual ESL classes to provide the additional tools and resources for the teachers. And the comprehensive school reform, we received about $600,000. We're implementing across our school district a successful role model, the John Hopkins University, now the foundation.

Mr. Hinojosa. Excuse me. On those grants that you just mentioned, were they federal or state grants?

Ms. Gallegos. Those were state grants.

Mr. Hinojosa. State grants?

Ms. Gallegos. Yes, sir.

Mr. Hinojosa. So the state of Texas is really participating, then, in expanding these programs?

Ms. Gallegos. That is correct.

Mr. Hinojosa. You have been very informative and I thank you for coming all the way from Pasadena, Texas, to participate in this and helping us enrich this field hearing so that we can show in Washington that the entire state was in some way included, El Paso, Houston, Austin, the Rio Grande Valley, and the quality of presenters was just excellent, and we thank you, each and every one of you, for your participation.

Ms. Gallegos. Thank you for inviting me.

Chairman Castle. Let me just close by seconding, really, what Congressman Hinojosa had just said. I think it has been two very informative, three in some ways, informative panels. In terms of what you brought to us from a lot of different perspectives, recommendations which you have made in terms of what we need to look at. I come away with this thought that by good bilingual education practices or good education practices, there's not really a lot of difference either. You just have different problems. You just apply it, perhaps, differently. And, indeed, you are able, as some of you indicated, to beg, borrow -- I guess we don't say steal these days, but beg and borrow from other programs which have been successful in order to make this more successful.

There are a lot of people involved in education. We, as elected officials or particularly those on this committee, I think everyone on this committee is deeply devoted to education. You-all, as educators, ultimately, we all know if the parents are involved, it's the young people we really have to focus on and care about. Their progress has to be our measuring stick in terms of how we are doing. And we need to do as well as we possibly can for them.

To me, it should be a priority as high as anything else in this country. I think the greatness in this country depends upon, frankly, good education. What you have all brought to the table here today, I think, will help us a great deal with that. So we thank each and every one of you, again. I know some of you came from afar and have to go afar to return, and we appreciate that.

Let me conclude by thanking our host who met us at the airport, I might add, took us to a fine restaurant, has personally escorted us around, and I can't imagine a better host anyplace in the country. He has been a delight to be with during the last evening and day, and we appreciate that his abiding and continuing interest in education is equally as strong as anyone in Congress I know of.

And I think he understands as well as anybody that the economic future of this entire area depends tremendously on the output of education. So we thank you too, sir, for all you stand for and all that you have done. And with that, we stand formally adjourned. Thank you.




[Whereupon, the Subcommittee was adjourned.]