State Senator Annette Taddeo (D-Miami) filed the Native Language Assessment bill, SB 678, which would allow students with limited English proficiency take state exams in their Native Language. State Representative Ana Maria Rodriguez (R-Miami) has filed the companion bill in the House, HB 515.
“I know first-hand the difficulties that accompany learning a new language, and specially taking exams that will accurately reflect a student’s abilities. We have to test student’s academic abilities in a way that yields accurate results & ultimately helps them not only learn English but positively impact our state’s economy,” said Senator Taddeo.
“I am proud to sponsor this bi-partisan legislation because every student deserves the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. Florida has the greatest number of English-learning students in the country, yet those students lag behind their English-speaking peers. As the recipient of the coveted Seal of Biliteracy, Florida should not be penalizing English-learning students but making every effort to help them gain the requisite proficiency in pursuing their education. This legislation will help make that a reality,” noted State Rep. Ana Maria Rodriguez.
There is a wide diversity of English language learners in Florida, which actually surpasses most states in the country. Florida is ranked third in English language learner population and, although Spanish is the native language of the majority of these students, English language learners in this state speak more than 300 different languages.
If the Department of Education federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) includes the purpose of assisting all English learners, including immigrant children and youth, achieve high levels in academic standards; then, adopting native language state exams will highly contribute to this goal.