Original URL: http://www.dailystar.com/dailystar/news/5335.php
Judge asked to enforce English teaching rules
CAPITOL MEDIA SERVICES
By Howard Fischer
PHOENIX - An attorney for some parents of schoolchildren wants a federal judge
to hold the state in contempt for failing to adopt rules on what people need to
know to teach English - rules that were promised to be in place nearly three
Tim Hogan is asking U.S. District Court Judge Alfredo Marquez to order the state
Board of Education to enact the long-delayed rules. He also wants daily fines
until the state complies.
State School Superintendent Tom Horne acknowledged Thursday that the state has
not complied with the 2001 deadline. The rules set standards for the
qualifications, background and training of teachers who provide English
instruction to students from homes where that is not the predominant language.
But Horne insisted he has been working on it since he took office a year ago and
hopes to have the rules ready for board action next month.
Hogan, however, said he wants court action.
"That's the kind of stuff I've been hearing for 2 1/2 years," he said. "You
know, there's a point at which you can write only so many threatening letters."
He said the parents who brought the original lawsuit have been more than
patient. They first went to court in 1992 and it took until 2000 to actually get
the state to reach a settlement.
The case revolves around federal laws mandating that states provide adequate
instruction to teach students English.
According to the parents, the $150 per student the state provided to teach
English was insufficient.
Marquez agreed, calling that $150 figure "arbitrary and capricious, saying the
state "has failed to follow through with practices, resources and personnel to
transform theory into reality."
Rather than fight the ruling, attorneys for the state agreed to study how much
money really is necessary. In the interim, lawmakers boosted the funding to $340
A later agreement obligated the state to determine the training, background and
qualification necessary to teach students of low English proficiency. That was
worded to comply with Proposition 203, which was approved by voters in 2000 and
replaces most bilingual education programs with English immersion.
Hogan said those rules were supposed to be ready for the state board of
education to enact in July 2001.