Under an agreement with the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education, state officials in Arizona will stop monitoring classes for mispronounced words and poor grammar from teachers whose students are learning English.
Instead, the task of testing teachers’ fluency in English will fall to school districts and charter schools. The agreement allows the state to avoid a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging discrimination against teachers who are not native English-speakers.
The federal investigation began after a civil rights complaint was filed in 2010 alleging that the state’s on-site monitoring reports led to teachers’ being pulled from classes because of their accents.
The agreement calls for the Arizona Department of Education to remove the fluency section from the form used by its monitors who visit classrooms. It also will require schools and districts to file assurances with the state that their teachers are fluent. State schools chief John Huppenthal said his office would still instruct state monitors to talk to districts about teachers whose English pronunciation or grammar was flawed.
A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 2011 edition of Education Week as Arizona to Stop Monitoring Teachers’ Accents Under Deal