Substitute Senate Bill No. 1083

Public Act No. 99-211

An Act Improving Bilingual Education.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 10-17e of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

Whenever used in sections 10-17 and 10-17d to 10-17g, inclusive, as amended by this act:

(1) "Eligible [children] students" means [children] students enrolled in public schools in grades kindergarten to twelve, inclusive, whose dominant language is other than English and whose proficiency in English is not sufficient to assure equal educational opportunity in the regular school program;

(2) "Program of bilingual education" means a program [of instruction in which eligible children are placed until such time as such children attain a level of proficiency in English which is sufficient to assure equal educational opportunity in the regular school program, including, but not limited to, educational experiences to enable eligible children to become proficient in English, subject matter instruction in the dominant language of eligible children, and provision of opportunities for eligible children to participate with and learn from children from other linguistic and cultural backgrounds] that: (A) Makes instructional use of both English and an eligible student's native language; (B) enables eligible students to achieve English proficiency and academic mastery of subject matter content and higher order skills, including critical thinking, so as to meet appropriate grade promotion and graduation requirements; (C) provides for the continuous increase in the use of English and corresponding decrease in the use of the native language for the purpose of instruction within each year and from year to year and provides for the use of English for more than half of the instructional time by the end of the first year; (D) may develop the native language skills of eligible students; and (E) may include the participation of English-proficient students if the program is designed to enable all enrolled students to become more proficient in English and a second language.

(3) "English as a second language program" means a program that uses only English as the instructional language for eligible students and enables such students to achieve English proficiency and academic mastery of subject matter content and higher order skills, including critical thinking, so as to meet appropriate grade promotion and graduation requirements.

Sec. 2. Section 10-17f of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) [On or before November 1, 1978, and annually thereafter] Annually, the board of education for each local and regional school district shall ascertain, in accordance with regulations [established] adopted, by the State Board of Education, the eligible [children] students in such school district and shall classify such [children] students according to their dominant language.

(b) Whenever it is ascertained that there are in any public school within a local or regional school district twenty or more eligible [children] students classified as dominant in any one language other than English, the board of education of such district shall provide a program of bilingual education for such eligible [children] students for the school year next following. Eligible students shall be placed in such program in accordance with subsection (e) of this section.

(c) On or before July 1, 2000, the State Board of Education, within available appropriations, shall develop a state English mastery standard to assess the linguistic and academic progress of students in programs of bilingual education. On and after September 1, 2000, each local and regional board of education shall assess, annually, the progress made by each student toward meeting the state standard. If a student is not making sufficient progress toward meeting the state standard based on the assessment, the local or regional board of education shall provide language support services to the student in consultation with the parent or guardian of the student to allow the student to meet the state standard. Such services may include, but need not be limited to, summer school, after-school assistance and tutoring. If a student meets the state standard based on the assessment, the student shall leave the program. Each local and regional board of education shall document on a student's permanent record the date the student begins in a program of bilingual education and the date and results of the assessments required pursuant to this subsection.

(d) Each local and regional board of education shall limit the time an eligible student spends in a program of bilingual education to thirty months, whether or not such months are consecutive, except that summer school and two-way language programs pursuant to subsection (i) of this section shall not be counted. If an eligible student does not meet the English mastery standard at the end of thirty months, the local or regional board of education shall provide language transition support services to such student. Such services may include, but need not be limited to, English as a second language programs, sheltered English programs, English immersion programs, tutoring and homework assistance. Families may also receive guidance from school professionals to help their children make progress in their native language. If an eligible student enrolls in a secondary school when the student has fewer than thirty months remaining before graduation, the local or regional board of education shall assign the student to an English as a second language program and may provide intensive services to the student to enable the student to speak, write and comprehend English by the time the student graduates and to meet the course requirements for graduation.

[(c) If the parent or legal guardian of an eligible child notifies the local or regional board of education, in writing, that such parent or guardian wishes the child to be exempt from the program of bilingual education, the local or regional board of education shall so exempt the child.]

(e) Each local and regional board of education shall hold a meeting with the parents and legal guardians of eligible students to explain the benefits of the language program options available in the school district, including an English language immersion program. The parents and legal guardians may bring an interpreter or an advisor to the meeting. If the parent or legal guardian of an eligible student opts to have such student placed in a program of bilingual education, the local or regional board of education shall place the child in such program.

[(d)] (f) The board of education for each local and regional school district which is required to provide a program of bilingual education shall initially endeavor to implement the provisions of subsection (b) of this section through in-service training for existing certified professional employees, and thereafter, shall give preference in hiring to such certified professional employees as are required to maintain [said] the program.

[(e)] (g) The State Board of Education shall adopt [and enforce regulations concerning] regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to establish requirements for: [such] (1) Such programs, which may be modeled after policy established by the Department of Education for bilingual education programs; (2) local and regional boards of education to integrate bilingual and English as a second language program faculty in all staff, planning and curriculum development activities; and (3) all bilingual education teachers employed by a local or regional board of education, on and after July 1, 2001, to meet all certification requirements, including completion of a teacher preparation program approved by the State Board of Education, or to be certified through an alternate route to certification program.

[(f)] (h) Each board of education for a local and regional school district which is required to provide for the first time a program of bilingual education shall prepare and submit to the Commissioner of Education for review a plan to implement such program, in accordance with regulations adopted by the State Board of Education.

(i) Each local and regional board of education that is required to provide a program of bilingual education pursuant to this section shall investigate the feasibility of establishing two-way language programs starting in kindergarten.

Sec. 3. (NEW) (a) The Department of Education shall assist and encourage local and regional boards of education to institute two-way language programs and provide early second language instruction for English-speaking students.

(b) The department shall encourage local and regional boards of education to recognize students' proficiency in languages other than their native languages on their permanent records.

Sec. 4. (NEW) (a) On and after July 1, 1999, the State Board of Education shall require an applicant for certification as a bilingual education teacher to demonstrate competency in English and the other language of instruction as a condition of certification. Competency in English shall be demonstrated by successful passage of the essential skills test approved by the State Board of Education. Competency in the other language shall be demonstrated on an examination, if available, of comparable difficulty as specified by the Department of Education. If such an examination is not available, competency shall be demonstrated by an appropriate alternative method as specified by the department.

(b) On and after July 1, 2003, the State Board of Education shall require persons seeking to become (1) elementary level bilingual education teachers to be certified in elementary education and bilingual education and (2) secondary level bilingual education teachers to be certified in both the subject area they will teach and in bilingual education. Such dual certification requirement may be met by earning a bachelor's degree in one field and meeting the requirements for an endorsement in the other field.

(c) On and after July 1, 2000, the State Board of Education shall require bilingual education teachers holding provisional educator certificates to meet the requirements of this subsection in order to qualify for a professional educator certificate to teach bilingual education. (1) Such bilingual education teachers who teach on the elementary level shall take fifteen credit hours in bilingual education and fifteen credit hours in language arts, reading and mathematics. (2) Such bilingual education teachers who teach on the middle or secondary level shall take fifteen credit hours in bilingual education and fifteen credit hours in the subject matter that they teach. Such professional educator certificate shall be valid for bilingual education and the grade level and content area of preparation.

Sec. 5. (NEW) The Board of Governors of Higher Education shall develop, within available appropriations, an alternate route to certification for persons seeking certification as bilingual education teachers and teachers of English as a second language.

Sec. 6. (NEW) (a) If a local or regional board of education is not able to hire a sufficient number of certified bilingual education teachers, the board of education may apply to the Commissioner of Education for permission to use a certified teacher of English as a second language to fill its need and the commissioner may grant such request for good cause shown.

(b) The Department of Education shall promote and encourage teacher exchange programs and provide information to local and regional boards of education on such programs in order to increase foreign language proficiency and cultural understanding.

Sec. 7. Section 10-14q of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

The provisions of this chapter shall apply to any student requiring special education pursuant to section 10-76a, except when the planning and placement team of such student determines that it would be inappropriate to allow the student to take the examinations. The provisions of this chapter shall not apply to any student enrolled for [three years] thirty school months or less in a bilingual program pursuant to [section] sections 10-17e and 10-17f, as amended by this act, or [,] to any student enrolled for [three years] thirty school months or less in an English as a second language program.

Sec. 8. Section 10-17g of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

For the fiscal year ending June 30, 1979, and annually thereafter, the board of education for each local and regional school district [which] that is required to provide a program of bilingual education, pursuant to section 10-17f, as amended by section 2 of this act, may make application to the State Board of Education and shall thereafter receive a grant in an amount equal to the product obtained by multiplying the total appropriation available for such purpose by the ratio which the number of eligible children in the school district bears to the total number of such eligible children state-wide. The board of education for each local and regional school district receiving funds pursuant to this section shall annually, on or before September first, submit to the State Board of Education a progress report which shall include (1) measures of increased [education] educational opportunities for eligible [children] students, including language support services and language transition support services provided to such students, (2) program evaluation and measures of the effectiveness of its bilingual education and English as a second language programs, including data on students in bilingual education programs and students educated exclusively in English as a second language programs, and (3) certification by the board of education submitting the report that any funds received pursuant to this section have been used for the purposes specified. The State Board of Education shall annually evaluate programs conducted pursuant to section 10-17f, as amended by section 2 of this act. For purposes of this section, measures of the effectiveness of bilingual education and English as a second language programs include state-wide mastery examination results and graduation and school dropout rates.

Sec. 9. Subdivision (1) of subsection (l) of section 10-145b of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(l) (1) For certified employees of local and regional boards of education, except as provided in this subdivision, each professional educator certificate shall be valid for five years and continued every five years thereafter upon the successful completion of professional development activities which shall consist of not less than ninety hours of continuing education, as determined by the local or regional board of education in accordance with this section, during each successive five-year period. (A) Such continuing education completed by certified employees with an early childhood nursery through grade three or an elementary endorsement who hold a position requiring such an endorsement shall include at least fifteen hours of training in the teaching of reading and reading readiness and assessment of reading performance, including methods of teaching language skills necessary for reading, reading comprehension skills, phonics and the structure of the English language during each five-year period. (B) Such continuing education requirement completed by certified employees with elementary or middle grades endorsements who hold a position requiring such an endorsement shall include at least fifteen hours of training in the use of computers in the classroom during each five-year period. [(B)] (C) Such continuing education completed by (i) the superintendent of schools, and (ii) employees employed in positions requiring an intermediate administrator or supervisory certificate, or the equivalent thereof, and whose administrative or supervisory duties equal at least fifty per cent of the assigned time of such employee, shall include at least fifteen hours of training in the evaluation of teachers pursuant to section 10-151b during each five-year period. (D) In the case of certified employees with a bilingual education endorsement who hold positions requiring such an endorsement (i) in an elementary school and who do not hold an endorsement in elementary education, such continuing education taken on or after July 1, 1999, shall only count toward the ninety hour requirement if it is in language arts, reading and mathematics, and (ii) in a middle or secondary school and who do not hold an endorsement in the subject area they teach, such continuing education taken on or after July 1, 1999, shall only count toward the ninety hour requirement if it is in such subject area or areas. During each five-year period in which a professional educator certificate is valid, a holder of such certificate who has not completed the ninety hours of continuing education required pursuant to this subdivision, and who has not been employed while holding such certificate by a local or regional board of education for all or part of the five-year period, shall, upon application, be reissued such certificate for five years minus any period of time such holder was employed while holding such certificate by a local or regional board of education, provided there shall be only one such reissuance during each five-year period in which such certificate is valid. A certified employee of a local or regional board of education who is a member of the General Assembly and who has not completed the ninety hours of continuing education required pursuant to this subdivision for continuation of his certificate, upon application, shall be reissued a professional educator certificate for a period of time equal to six months for each year he served in the General Assembly during the previous five years. Continuing education hours completed during the previous five years shall be applied toward such ninety-hour requirement which shall be completed during the reissuance period in order for such employee to be eligible to have his certificate continued. The cost of the professional development activities required under this subsection for certified employees of local or regional boards of education shall be shared by the state and local or regional boards of education, except for those activities identified by the State Board of Education as the responsibility of the certificate holder. Each local and regional board of education shall make available, annually, at no cost to its certified employees not fewer than eighteen hours of professional development activities for continuing education credit. Such activities may be made available by a board of education directly, through a regional educational service center or cooperative arrangement with another board of education or through arrangements with any continuing education provider approved by the State Board of Education. Local and regional boards of education shall grant continuing education credit for professional development activities which the certified employees of the board of education are required to attend, professional development activities offered in accordance with the plan developed pursuant to subsection (b) of section 10-220a, or professional development activities which the board may approve for any individual certified employee. Each board of education shall determine the specific professional development activities to be made available with the advice and assistance of the teachers employed by such board, including representatives of the exclusive bargaining unit for such teachers pursuant to section 10-153b. The time and location for the provision of such activities shall be in accordance with either an agreement between the board of education and the exclusive bargaining unit pursuant to said section 10-153b or, in the absence of such agreement or to the extent such agreement does not provide for the time and location of all such activities, in accordance with a determination by the board of education.

Sec. 10. This act shall take effect July 1, 1999.

Approved June 29, 1999

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