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For Immediate Release
February 19, 2004
Contact: Charles Pyle
Director of Communications
(804) 371-2420
Julie Grimes
Public Information Specialist
(804) 225-2775

Statement of Superintendent of Public Instruction Jo Lynne DeMary Regarding New Guidance from U.S. Department of Education on the Testing of Limited English Proficient Students

The relief announced this morning by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige regarding the testing of limited English proficient students is a welcome step in the development of a nationwide accountability system that is both effective and sustainable.

While the guidance offered today is welcome, it is important to note that this move toward a more sensible testing policy is not a change in the law and therefore could have been made when Virginia and other states first raised concerns about testing children with little or no English proficiency.

I look forward to receiving the “Dear Colleague” letter promised by Secretary Paige spelling out the guidance he described during his news conference this morning. After receiving written guidance and whatever clarifications may be required, the Virginia Department of Education will provide clear and timely instructions to the commonwealth’s 132 school divisions on how to proceed during the upcoming testing cycle.