More Time Given for Grading Schools
Sept. 13, 2006

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13 (AP) — The Education Department
gave states final permission Wednesday to leave out
the test scores of newly enrolled pupils who speak
limited English when grading schools.

The goal is to give schools extra time to work with
those students before being held accountable for their
annual progress.

Schools welcome the offer because it helps them meet
their goals, and avoid penalties, under President
Bush’s signature education law, known as No Child Left

The policy applies only to students who have been in
an American school for less than a year. States may
exempt their math and reading scores when measuring
yearly progress.

Though freshly repackaged, the flexibility is not new.
States have been allowed to exempt test scores case by
case since 2004, when Rod Paige, who was then the
education secretary, announced the draft policy. Forty
now do it.

The final version, announced Wednesday by Education
Secretary Margaret Spellings, opens the offer to all
states. It also adds language to ensure that students
learning English are not ignored.

“We recognize that there are legitimate issues when
students move to this country not speaking English,”
Ms. Spellings said. “They do need to have some sort of
adequate time to get up to speed.”

The secretary spoke about the policy to reporters here
before announcing it at a conference of the National
Association of Latino Elected Officials.