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The Plot Thickens in Arizona


After seeking advice from the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights, Sahuarita Unified School District officials in Arizona have announced they plan to defy a state law that requires them to provide four hours of English-language instruction each day to students who are new to the language. A May 24 article published by the Associated Press says Sahuarita school officials have decided to exclude middle and high school students from the four-hour program because they believe it will prevent them from acquiring the knowledge they need to graduate in four years.

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne is quoted as characterizing the advice that the Sahuarita officials got from the federal office for civil rights as as an "idiotic conclusion." He questions if it is the "final decision" from the office.

See previous blog posts on this topic here and here.


What do these guys really want? They really don't want to teach immigrants at all. 4 hours in an ESOL class is a bit much but I don't think this district or any other in Arizona is going to do anything. What is the real issue with education in the state? I wish someone would pressure McCain to do something. He shouldn't be able to run for president and allow his state to treat people like this either.

Does it occur to any of these four-hour-a-day proponents that English acquisition can be integrated into other core subjects such as social studies and science -that it is nonsensical to isolate it to that extent? With 4 hours devoted only to English, the tendency will be to do a lot of "drill and kill" which is devasting to all kids, especially ELLs. Their language experience would be richer with, perhaps, a regular English class and an ELL language lab along with content classes taught by teachers skilled in scaffolding learning with integrated reading and writing skills, arts integration, and project-based learning. P.S. McCain is a U.S. Senator; not a state. What a cheap shot to get in a dig at him with this topic!

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