Testimony on Senate Bill 2381 Limited English Proficiency Programs

To: Senate Education Committee
From: Christopher T. Dodson, Executive Director
Subject: SB 2381 (Limited English Proficiency Payments)
Date: February 1, 1999

The North Dakota Catholic Conference supports SB 2381.

Every child has a right to a basic education and society has a duty to assist in the provision of that education. Moreover, those with special needs deserve special attention. These are some of the reasons why we should support programs addressing the needs of those with limited English proficiency.
A just and caring society does not turn away from children with limited English speaking skills hoping they will "pick it up as they go along." Unfortunately, too many do not "pick it up" in a manner that permits them to fully take advantage of educational opportunities. That is why a just and caring society assists these students so that they can develop in our country to their full potential.

When we do this, we help create the conditions for full participation in society. In our society, a person's ability to do such activities as hold a job, pay a mortgage, contribute to a child's education and participate in the community depends on our ability to speak English. This is why assistance with English for children should be\considered a fundamental building block in our education programs.

We urge a Do Pass recommendation on Senate Bill 2381.