Texas Education Commissioner Mike Moses assured 2,600 educators dedicated to bilingual education Thursday that Texas isn’t at risk of imitating California.

“Bilingual education is not going away,” he said at the annual conference of the Texas Association of Bilingual Education.

Moses said Texas has something proponents of bilingual education did not have in California, where voters approved a referendum abolishing the state’s bilingual education program.

Texas, he said, has an accountability system that provides information on the academic performance of all students, including bilingual students.

The state’s accountability system, which includes the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills, or TAAS, received praise from other proponents of bilingual education.

“I think teachers should welcome the accountability system,” said Anthony Trujillo, who is fighting to be reinstated as superintendent of the Ysleta School District in El Paso.

His seven-year tenure in Ysleta has been marked by radical changes – ones that have placed an emphasis on bilingual education and bolstered TAAS scores.

Ysleta this year became the first major urban school district in the state to receive a “recognized” status from the Texas Education Agency.

A new board majority voted earlier this month to dismiss Trujillo, who is challenging the decision. A TEA hearing to determine Trujillo’s status is scheduled for Nov. 12.

Trujillo gave the keynote address and then spoke in a separate forum with James Vasquez, director of TEA’s Education Service Center in El Paso.

Both educators praised the state’s accountability system, saying it provides bilingual students with a means for unprecedented recognition.

Prior to the TAAS, bilingual students were easily dismissed as low performing, but the accountability system forces administrators to figure out the problems and to seek solutions, Vasquez said.

“We are at a point in our history when we can no longer make alibis for our kids,” he said.

An estimated 2,600 people from throughout the state are attending the conference, which will continue through Saturday at Municipal Auditorium and three other locations in downtown San Antonio.

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