Law & Courts

District Court Takes Up Arizona ELL Case Again

By Mary Ann Zehr — December 22, 2009 1 min read

Arizona’s long-running federal court case about the education of English-language learners is being considered again in a U.S. district court, according to a story published by Capitol Media Services. (The Arizona Republic also covered the story this week.) The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the case, Horne v. Flores, in June that the federal district court should take another look at the evidence.

Judge Raner C. Collins of the U.S. district court in Tucson released a brief this week, saying the court would review programs for ELLs statewide, though state lawyers had argued that the court should examine only programs for such students in the Nogales school district, where the case originated.

One of the arguments by the lawyer for the Nogales parents, on the Flores side of the case, is that Arizona’s program that requires all ELLs to receive four hours of instruction in English skills each day is illegal. The lawyer’s point is that the program violates federal law because it segregates ELLs from other students, according to the story by Capitol Media Services. But Tom Horne, the state’s superintendent of public instruction, is quoted as saying the program for ELLs is working because reclassification rates for students who are fluent in English have increased dramatically.

There’s a lot of fodder in these arguments that touch on issues of concern to educators of ELLs nationwide.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.