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Some Educators Circumvent Arizona's 4-Hour ELL Program

Claudio Sanchez reports at National Public Radio on a principal who permits his teachers to circumvent Arizona's approach to teaching English-language learners. (Hat tip to Colorin colorado). Schools in that state are required by state law to teach such students English skills four hours a day in separate classrooms. ELLs may exit such programs only if their parents insist on it or if they pass the state's English-language-proficiency test.

Whether the program works for ELLs is a central issue in a federal court case being examined by a district court in Tucson. One of the questions is whether the four-hour program gives ELLs access to the core curriculum, something required by federal law. That case, Horne v. Flores, was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in April 2009 and remanded back to the state to consider "changed circumstances" that had occurred since its filing.

I reported about the first day of an evidentiary hearing on the case, called Miriam Flores v. State of Arizona in the state, in September. That hearing took a winter break and was expected to resume this week. An attorney for the Flores side of the case told me the hearing could wrap up by the end of next week. Then we'll have to wait to see what the judge decides.

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