HOUSE BILL NO. 9
AN ACT DIRECTING THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO DEVELOP, IMPLEMENT, AND ENHANCE PROGRAMS FOR STUDENTS WITH LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
WHEREAS, Delaware must continually strive to improve the quality of instruction for our students so they may succeed in a global economy;
WHEREAS, in an effort to improve academic performance for all students, the General Assembly has established a comprehensive accountability system for students, schools and districts;
WHEREAS, there are more than 2,000 students in Delaware’s public schools who have been identified as having limited English proficiency and representing 47 different home languages; and
WHEREAS, the largest portion of these students are of Hispanic origin and Delaware’s estimated Hispanic population grew from 15,527 in 1990, to 28,326 in 1997 (an increase of over 82%); and
WHEREAS, the Department of Education has developed state regulations for instructional services to students with limited English proficiency which adhere to federal legal requirements for serving such students; and
WHEREAS, more than 50 representatives from Delaware’s communities, the Governor’s Council on Hispanic Affairs, the state legislature, local school districts, and other educational professionals comprised the Delaware Language Minority Student Task Force; and
WHEREAS, in December, 1999, Delaware’s Language Minority Student Task Force submitted a major report of recommendations, findings and products related to their vision that all students in Delaware, including language minority students, will reach high state content and student performance standards; and
WHEREAS, this report contained specific strategies and best practices covering instruction, assessment, program evaluation, and parent involvement; and
WHEREAS, it is important to support programs based on theories recognized by experts in the field as effective in addressing the dual challenge of providing English language development and delivering academic content; and
WHEREAS, choice of program type is a local decision, and either a bilingual program or a program delivered exclusively in English may be appropriate, depending on local conditions; and
WHEREAS, Delaware’s education reform effort includes addressing the needs of all students and ensuring that all students have access to instruction that is aligned to standards.
NOW THEREFORE: BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1 The Department of Education shall, during fiscal year 2002, implement a pilot program for limited English proficient students. The Department shall administer an application process to determine grant awards to local districts to provide services to limited English proficient students.
Section 2. The Department of Education, commencing in fiscal year 2003, shall include in its annual budget request, sufficient funding for the continuation of, or modification to this pilot program.
Section 3. The Department of Education, during fiscal year 2002, will provide recommendations for legislative changes, if necessary, to the General Assembly.
Section 4. The provisions of this Act shall be contingent upon an appropriation to the Department of Education in the Annual Appropriation Act for this purpose.
Approved March 31, 2001