ELL Funding in Arizona

Last Updated: July 18, 2009

This article appeared in the July 2009 Rural Policy Matters.

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The U.S. Supreme Court handed Arizona a “partial victory” in a 5–4 decision that reversed a previous federal court decision that had ruled the state was violating the Equal Educational Opportunity Act in the way it treated students learning English for the first time.
In earlier court decisions the state had repeatedly been found lacking in the programs it provided for English Language Learners (ELL). Those decisions cited the minimal amount of funding Arizona provided for ELL programs as well as the low rate of success for students.
The Supreme Court sent the case back to a lower court and ordered it to consider program changes and additional funding the state has provided since the lower court’s last ruling.
Plaintiff attorney Tim Hogan says he welcomes another opportunity to prove in court that the state is still failing to meet the needs of ELL students. The state recently replaced its bilingual education approach with a 4-hour English immersion program required for all students not yet proficient in English.
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Read more from the July 2009 Rural Policy Matters.