Judge Says Texas May Not Postpone Fixing Secondary ELL Programs
Today, William Wayne Justice, a senior U.S. district judge for the eastern district of Texas, in Tyler, denied a request by the state of Texas to delay carrying out a court order to revamp its programs for secondary English-language learners (find the court's denial here). The state had wanted to delay having to comply with the order while it appeals the federal judge's July 25 decision. Dec. 22 Update: The San Antonio Express-News published an article on Saturday about the judge's denial of the state's request.
In his July decision for the long-running court case, U.S. v. Texas, Judge Justice concluded that secondary education programs for ELLs in Texas violate the federal Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974. He reversed an earlier decision he had made on the quality of programs for ELLs in the state after a closer look at achievement data for Texas ELL students in grades 7-12. In the July order, the judge gave the state until Jan. 31 to devise a plan to improve programs for ELLs in grades 7-12 and the monitoring system for ELLs in all grades.
The state argued in its request for a delay that it couldn't change its monitoring system and programs by the 2009-10 academic year without "additional appropriations and legal authority from the Texas legislature," the judge wrote in his document denying a delay. But he added that state officials hadn't spelled out specifics for monitoring programs they had developed or the resources needed to carry them out, nor had they adequately explained why they couldn't seek the additional legal authority they claimed they needed.
"The time has come to put a halt to the failed secondary [English-as-a-second-language] program and monitoring system," the judge wrote.