Guidance from the U.S. Department of Education

Maria Hernandez Ferrier, Ed.D., Director of USDE's office of English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students, has provided guidance to states regarding foreign student exchange programs in relation to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Click here to view the original letter. Following are excerpts from Dr. Ferrier's letter:

"Foreign student exchange programs have been very successful at helping our students learn about the language, culture, history, and government of other nations. In addition, the foreign students who come here to attend school learn about America, and bring a better understanding of our nation back to their home countries. I strongly support these programs because they are educationally effective and help foster international understanding."

"Recently, I have learned that some school districts are concerned that requirements of No Child Left Behind might make it more difficult for them to accept foreign exchange students. I want to assure you that the overriding purpose of No Child Left Behind is to provide American students with the best education possible. Consequently, No Child Left Behind does not seek to discourage school districts from participating in a foreign student exchange program. In fact, we believe that foreign exchange programs enrich the education of our students."

"An important goal of No Child Left Behind is to help English language learners who reside in the United States attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic attainment in English, and meet the same challenging content standards expected of all students. The requirements of No Child Left Behind, however, should not deter a school district from accepting foreign exchange students."

"Assessment results for foreign exchange students who are enrolled in a school in the United States for less than a year, even if they are limited English proficient, are not to be included in the school-level measurement of adequate yearly progress required by No Child Left Behind."

"No Child Left Behind does not prevent or make it more difficult for school districts to participate in foreign student exchange programs. A school district's decision on whether to participate in a foreign student exchange program, therefore, should only be based on the educational value of that program."