What's Been the Impact of Arizona's Four-Hour Program?
The Arizona Republic takes stock of how educators of English-language learners feel the controversial four-hour program is working in three Arizona school districts. The program was mandated as part of a law the legislature passed to respond to the long-running Flores v. Arizona federal court case involving funding for ELLs. (Now called Horne v. Flores, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on it this month.)
All students who are ELLs are required to receive four hours of instruction in English skills separately from other students each school day.
In all three of the school districts, the number of students who were reclassified as fluent in English increased significantly this school year over last. In Arizona, students are reclassified as fluent in the language if they pass the state's English-language-proficiency test. This school year is the first that all Arizona districts were required to implement the program.
One educator interviewed in the article is concerned that the state's English-language-proficiency test is too easy and that students who are reclassified as fluent won't be able to do well in mainstream classes.
Time will tell.