296.  Subject: Re: Use of instructional aides. I'm trying to locate information about specific California laws and/or cases that revolve around delivery of ESL instruction by instructional bilingual aides outside of the classroom. Any guidance you can give me will be greatly appreciated.

I do have a few follow-up questions: 1) What does UNDER THE DIRECT GUIDANCE really mean? Does the teacher  have to have visual proximity with the "teaching" instructional aide?  Should the guiding teacher plan all lessons/activities that the aide  does? Should the teacher meet daily with the instructional aide to plan instruction? Does the teacher deliver tests and report results/give  progress reports if any? I guess I'm just confused about how much  guidance UNDER THE DIRECT GUIDANCE AND SUPERVISION means. How much is  "any" guidance? What does an ideal, or even just acceptable, amount of  guidance look like when the law is being followed? What does it look like when the law is not being followed? There's probably a great deal of "gray" area and each specific situation would have to examined closely, but I'd appreciate any more details you think I might be able to rely upon in my conversations with district officials.

ANSWER:

THANK YOU so very much for your interest in --and your VISIT to-- our Web Sites!!! 
 
In California, as well as in OTHER STATES, school districts must meet the requirements of legal compliance that help provide "an equal educational opportunity and equal access to the core curriculum" for ALL students, including English Learners. 
 
One of these very important legal compliance requirements is that all necessary steps are taken by the districts to provide QUALIFIED TEACHERS (that is, teachers with the appropriate certification) to teach English as a Second Language (ESL) or English Language Development (ELD) as it is usually referred to here in California.   
 
Now, there is a shortage of "qualified" teachers in California, for ESL, for "Sheltered" content area instruction, for primary language instruction, as needed.   In some cases, school districts may employ instructional aides to work UNDER THE DIRECT GUIDANCE and supervision of a QUALIFIED TEACHER.   
 
If what you are talking about is just "removing" English Learners from a "regular" classroom --where they are provided an academic program in the core content areas by a fully certificated teacher-- to provide --in a separate room and without any guidance from the QUALIFIED TEACHER-- some time to "do" something about their English Language Development, I suggest you may
 
FIRST, discuss the situation with the administrator in charge of English Language Learners and legal compliance at your school or district, and
 
SECOND, contact immediately the California Department of Education, Legal Compliance Unit, and discuss the situation.  
 
Better yet, the parents of the "removed" students should call the California Department of Education and discuss the situation AFTER they themselves meet with the proper administrator and request compliance with all legal requirements so their students are afforded an "equal educational opportunity and equal access to the core curriculum."
 
I am delighted to respond to your very insightful and professional interest in the education of ALL your students.   THANKS for asking!!!

 


ANSWERS TO FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS

Hi, Valerie!!!   How professional of you to follow up your original questions with additional questions!!!!  THAT is what a GREAT teacher does!!!!  

Now, what is the legal purpose of ESL/ELD?  To help English Learners overcome the "language barriers" that prevent English Learners from receiving an "equal educational opportunity and equal access to the core curriculum." 
 
What is the goal?  For ESL/ELD students to function ON A PAR with all other students who speak English as a primary language (and who out-perform the ESL/ELD students in core content area testing in English).  The goal is for ESL/ELD students to participate fully ON A PAR with their English ONLY classmates and to succeed just as easily as their English ONLY classmates achieve success in core content area classes. 
 
Thus, what is the purpose of ESL/ELD classes?  To prepare ESL/ELD students to SUCCESSFULLY participate in English ONLY content area core classes just as their English ONLY classmates successfully participate.   The ESL/ELD program should NOT be totally unrelated to what is going on in the core content area classes, but rather the ESL/ELD program  MUST be fully linked to the DEVELOPMENT of the ACADEMIC LANGUAGE needed to succeed in core content area classes when the ESL/ELD students return to class AFTER their ESL/ELD daily classes.   THAT IS WHY the fully certified teacher MUST be in charge of what goes on in the ESL/ELD class, especially if taught by an aide.  so, the answer to your questions above are:
 
Does the teacher have to have visual proximity with the "teaching" instructional aide? 
NOT necessarily, but the teacher MUST tell the aide what to do!!! 
Should the guiding teacher plan all lessons/activities that the aide does?
They could plan together but the main goal is SUCCESS in the academic content areas of the core curriculum when students return to the regular class and are taught by the "regular" teacher with the appropriate certification, and participate with their English ONLY classmates. 
Should the teacher meet daily with the instructional aide to plan instruction?
NOT necessarily IF they have a good working relationship.   NEW AIDES may need a lot of guidance. 
Does the teacher deliver tests and report results/give progress reports if any?
The teacher is LEGALLY responsible for ALL tests and reports.   The teacher does NOT need to give the tests personally but definitely MUST insure the aide knows what to do.  
I guess I'm just confused about how much guidance UNDER THE DIRECT GUIDANCE AND SUPERVISION means. How much is "any" guidance? What does an ideal, or even just acceptable, amount of guidance look like when the law is being followed?
If the ELD/ESL students can fully and on a par participate with the English ONLY students in the content area core classes, that is the IDEAL / ACCEPTABLE amount of guidance. 
What does it look like when the law is not being followed?
The instructional aide has absolutely NO guidance, supervision, support, and just does as s(he) pleases in providing ESL/ELD, or simply does homework which the student has already failed.   REMEDIATION is NOT what the law intends. 
 
There's probably a great deal of "gray" area
Honestly, I see no "gray" areas.   The compliance requirements are clear and the test of meeting legal compliance is "equal educational opportunity and equal access to the core curriculum" which translates, according to several legal decisions, into NO EDUCATIONAL GAP for diverse groups of students;
and each specific situation would have to examined closely, but I'd appreciate any more details you think I might be able to rely upon in my conversations with district officials.
 
Hope this helps!!!!
 
2) As far as the QUALIFIED TEACHER, that would include a CLAD, BCC, or even the "locally" certified teachers per AB (something or other), right?
 
Correct!! (Unfortunately, sometimes some of the local programs do NOT have any quality controls)

Just so you'll know, I'm just a regular teacher with a CLAD in a "regular" classroom. For too long, I've had questions about how to help my district deliver a quality ELD instructional program and to follow the law. Unfortunately, I believe too many districts in the state are not concerned enough about the quality of ELD instruction they are providing ELD students. And, unfortunately, I don't know enough about the law to "prod" my district into doing the right thing.
 
Why don't you contact CABE (California Association for Bilingual Education)?   They WILL help you!!!!!
 
Parents of these ELD do need to make a little noise about the quality of instruction, but there are a variety of reasons why they don't or can't.   
 
Fully agree!!!  That is WHY we need teachers like YOU!!!!!

How I proceed from here really depends on your answer to my question (1) above. I have asked my principal and others in the district compliance questions in the past, but usually I don't get full or even understandable answers. THEY claim to be confused about how to legally comply with the laws and what compliance looks like.
 
WOW, the LEGAL entities with full LEGAL responsibility in YOUR SCHOOL and DISTRICT are "confused" and have NOT tried to get un-confused???????   
 
WOW, if I were a parent at your school or district I would be up in arms about those LEGALLY responsible to implement the educational laws in California telling me they are "confused"!!!!!!!!!

I SOOOO appreciate your quick and helpful response to my email, and I'm
SOOOO glad I found your website! Thank you for being there and being
willing to share your expertise!
 
Delighted!!!!!

 

 


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