Yesterday, we voted to reduce the number of standardized tests from 15 to 5 for Texas high school students. This is an important measure to reduce the pressure on students caused by too much high-stakes testing.
I’m especially proud of adding an amendment that concerns an issue specific to our children. This amendment makes practical adjustments to end-of-course exams for English Language Learning students. My amendment requires English Language Learning students or recent immigrants to be enrolled in a U.S. school for a minimum of 60 consecutive days to count towards a school year of enrollment. Any ELL or immigrant enrolled for less than 60 consecutive days would then be exempt from standardized tests for one year.
The challenge that faces many children in my district and others along the border is considerable– in attempting to learn English as a second language, these students must simultaneously master subject matter taught in a language they do not fully understand. This amendment provides recently immigrated students who are of limited English proficiency to now have a set amount of time longer than just a couple of days for school year requirements. I’m glad to see that these high school students will now be given a minimum of 60 days to be taught English and master subject matter in their new language before they are required to take any standardized tests.
I’ve also had significant success with my legislative agenda.
As of today, I’ve had four bills voted out of their committees. They are all unique to improving various aspects of the El Paso community.
My collaboration bill, HB 941 promotes government-to-government relations between the Texas government and the three federally-recognized native tribes in Texas: the Tiguas, the Kickapoo, and the Alabama-Coushatta. This is a great step towards promoting positive communications between our sovereign native governments and the state government.
HB 1081 requires a study to be conducted to restore dairy farming to El Paso County. This is practical approach will also provide a fiscal impact statement to evaluate the economic growth that dairy farms could bring.
HB 1347 allows the funds raised by the Historic Mission Valley License plates to be used by all three missions in El Paso in order to maintain the restoration and upkeep of these historic buildings.
HB 2003 serves as a back-up solution to preserve the rich history of our community by allowing San Elizario to incorporate without the city of Socorro’s consent.