Original URL: http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/0520hornemisstep20.html

School chief's 'coup' on policy hits snag as backer backs out
The Arizona Republic
May. 20, 2003 12:00 AM
Pat Kossan

"That's quite a coup, isn't it?" Arizona schools chief Tom Horne said Monday morning about a press conference he had scheduled for today during which Ruben Beltran, Phoenix consul general for Mexico, was to endorse Horne's tough English-only policy for public schools.

But coups can end in disasters.

Minutes before Horne's office was to release information about the press conference to the media, Beltran told The Arizona Republic he wouldn't be in Phoenix today, and it would be inappropriate for a representative of any foreign country "to pass judgment, to support or endorse any public policy."

"It's for Arizonans to decide what is best for them," Beltran said. Horne has been embroiled in a heated public debate over his tough new guidelines to enforce the state's English-only education law, passed by voters in 2000.

But there's more. Beltran also reported that he would not be a featured speaker at the state Department of Education's all-day teacher training in English-only instruction techniques, still scheduled for May 31 at Sheraton Crescent Hotel. Beltran said he would be out of the country, although his name appears on the conference flier.

"In my mind, the purpose was to announce that he had agreed to speak (at the teaching conference)," Horne said about the abandoned press conference. "I think that says a lot. Now, he has a scheduling conflict."