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Ariz. District Plans to Defy State Law on English Instruction

By Mary Ann Zehr — June 04, 2008 1 min read
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After seeking advice from the office for civil rights of the U.S. Department of Education, officials from the Sahuarita Unified School District in Arizona have decided to defy a state law that calls for giving students who are new to English four hours of language instruction each day.

The district plans to exclude English-language learners who are in secondary school from the program required for next fall, said Barbara Smith, the director of student services for the 4,700-student district.

If ELLs spend four hours a day studying only English, she said, “it prevents them from taking all the coursework to graduate that non-English-language-learners have a right to take.” Ms. Smith said her school district is in its sixth year of carrying out an agreement with the office for civil rights to improve services for ELLs. She said OCR officials based in Denver had advised her not to implement the program at the secondary level.

A spokesman for the Department of Education said the OCR had made no such determination.

A version of this article appeared in the June 04, 2008 edition of Education Week

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