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Monday, July 12, 2010

Arizona Educational Equity Project: Overview

Press Release
Civil Rights Project
University of California, Los Angeles

The class action suit of Horne v. Flores was initially brought against the state of Arizona in 1992 on behalf of English language learners (ELLs), arguing that the state was violating the Equal Educational Opportunity Act (EEOA), a federal law that requires that states take "appropriate action" to address the language barriers of their ELL students. It was argued that neither instructional policies nor funding was adequate to meet the students' needs. After defying court orders for many years, the federal district court began, in 2005, to fine the state $500,000 per day for noncompliance. Tom Horne, Superintendent of Public Instruction for Arizona, ultimately appealed the case to the Supreme Court and on June 25, 2009 the Court ruled on Horne v. Flores, establishing new legal standards for the EEOA. The Court also sent the case back to the Federal District Court in Arizona to examine critical aspects of Arizona's instructional policies for ELLs and to make decisions on the application of the Court's principles to the reality of the state's schools. The issues that will be argued in the Arizona court have important implications for the educational rights of the tenth of American students classified as ELL and federal law that protects them and thus challenge the research community to provide the best possible information on how ELL students are faring under current Arizona educational policies. Generating such research on major issues of equality of educational opportunity is a central part of the mission of the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles.

For this initiative, researchers and graduate students from four of the nation's top research universities conducted new empirical studies as well as synthesizing existing studies on instructional models and assessment practices for English learners. In addition to the 21 researchers and advanced graduate students engaged in this project, many of the country's foremost scholars on these issues also served pro bono as expert reviewers providing peer review to assess the rigor of the research. We have listed those reviewers, as well as some individuals who provided essential service to this project by enabling access to state and school district data, and offering additional advice and research support. Taken together, these nine studies provide an overview of the practices and outcomes for ELL students and also offer recommendations for how these students' academic outcomes might be improved.

We wish to acknowledge the support of the Foundation for Child Development, which provided timely funding to allow for a convening of researchers and civil rights attorneys from across the country to come to UCLA in the summer of 2009, to explore the issues inherent in the Supreme Court's Horne v. Flores decision, and to consider what research needed to be undertaken in order to ensure the right to an equitable education for English learners in Arizona and beyond. We also wish to acknowledge the support of the Sudikoff Foundation for its assistance in getting the word out about these important studies.

None of the authors of the Arizona Educational Equity Project has any financial link to the litigators in the case, nor did any Court-related attorneys have any role in the review of the reports. The reports represent the independent judgment of the researchers, all of whom donated their work to this important project. We are proud to have been part of this exemplary academic process and to publish these reports.

List of Researchers
M. Beatriz Arias, Ph.D.
Arizona State University

Eduardo Diniz de Figueiredo, ABD
Arizona State University

Alexandria Estrella, ABD
Arizona State University

Ida Rose Florez, Ph.D.
Arizona State University

Patricia Gándara, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles

Eugene Garcia, Ph.D.
Arizona State University

Claude Goldenberg, Ph.D.
Stanford University

Manuel González-Canche, ABD
University of Arizona

Kerry Lawton, Ph.D.
Arizona State University

Karen E. Lillie, M.A.
Arizona State University

Amy Markos, ABD
Arizona State University
Mary Martinez-Wenzl, M.P.A.
University of California, Los Angeles

Luis Moll, Ph.D.
University of Arizona
Member, National Academy of Education

Tracy Nguyen, M.A.
Arizona State University

Gary Orfield, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
Member, National Academy of Education

Karisa Peer, M.A.
University of California, Los Angeles

Karla Pérez, M.A.
University of California, Los Angeles

Sara Rutherford-Quach, ABD
Stanford University

Cecilia Rios-Aguilar, Ph.D.
University of Arizona

Anthony Trifiro, ABD
Arizona State University

Terrence Wiley, Ph.D.
Arizona State University

List of Reviewers
Jamal Abedi, Ph.D.
University of California, Davis

Elizabeth Alvarado, M.A.
University of California, Los Angeles

Diane August, Ph.D.
Center for Applied Linguistics

Jacqueline Bennett, M.A.
University of California, Los Angeles

David Francis, Ph.D.
University of Houston

Norm Gold, Ph.D.
Former Director, ELL Compliance
California Department of Education
Kris Gutierrez, Ph.D.
University of Colorado
President, American Education Research Association
Member, National Academy of Education

Kenji Hakuta, Ph.D.
Stanford University
Member, National Academy of Education

Megan Hopkins, ABD
University of California, Los Angeles

Joseph Robinson, Ph.D.
University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana

Robert Rueda, Ph.D.
University of Southern California

Russell Rumberger, Ph.D.
University of California, Sta. Barbara

Advisors, Consultants and Research Assistants
David Coffman
Tucson Unified School District

Sal Gabaldón
Tucson Unified School District

Jeff MacSwan, Ph.D.
Arizona State University

Monica Moreno Anguas, M.A.
University of Arizona

Roslyn Mickelson, Ph.D.
University of North Carolina

Laurie Russman
Coordinator, Civil Rights Project
University of California, Los Angeles

Ilana Marice Umansky, M.A.
Stanford University

Jia Wang, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles

Kathleen Wyer
Sudikoff Foundation
University of California, Los Angeles

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