Arizona schools may continue to keep English-learners in language-instruction classes for up to four hours a day, a federal judge has ruled in a long-running case over the civil rights of ELLs in the state.
U.S. District Judge Raner Collins ruled that the state’s education program for students who are still learning English does not violate their civil rights, despite arguments from plaintiffs in the case that the program keeps ELLs from receiving much, if any, meaningful instruction in the core academic content areas.
The decision is part of the broader Horne v. Flores case that dealt with adequate funding and equitable education for English-learners and went to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009. In a 5-4 decision, the justices mostly sided with the state of Arizona by sending the case back to the lower courts to examine changes that state education officials had made to ELL programs in the years since the lawsuit was first filed.
Parents in the Nogales school district filed the original lawsuit in 1992. Timothy Hogan, the longtime lawyer for the Flores plaintiffs, has not said whether he will appeal the new ruling, according to the Arizona Republic.
A version of this article appeared in the April 17, 2013 edition of Education Week as Federal Court Upholds Arizona’s ELL Program