Monday, July 12, 2010

Scholars Target Arizona's Policies for ELL Students

Check out the press release by the Civil Rights Project

View the Arizona Educational Equity Project overview

View the abstracts and papers

Download the press release (in English): New Studies Document the Educational Condition of Arizona's English Learners

Download the press release (in Spanish): Academicos Colaboran para Estudiar las Barreras Que Enfrentan Estudiantes Aprendices del Ingles en Arizona

- Patricia

Mary Ann Zehr | Ed Week
July 8, 2010

Arizona’s program for teaching English-language learners, which has been implemented for two school years by state mandate, will “almost certainly” widen the achievement gap between ELLs and their mainstream peers, concludes a qualitative study of five Arizona school districts released today by a California research-and-advocacy group.

Researchers for the study say the program, which requires ELLs to be separated into classes for four hours a day to learn discrete English skills, provides instruction to ELLs that is inferior to that received by other students, and ELLs aren’t learning enough English in one year to succeed in mainstream classrooms, as the program design had intended. The study also raises questions about whether the four-hour program will hinder ELLs in high schools from acquiring the credits they need to graduate on time.

The study is one of nine released today by the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at the University of California, Los Angeles, that conclude Arizona’s four-hour ELL program, as well as the state’s decision to alter its home-language survey for students whose first language isn’t English, are detrimental to ELLs. The U.S. Department of Education’s office for civil rights is investigating whether Arizona’s decision last year to pare down the number of questions on its home-language survey from three to one complies with federal civil rights law. States typically have three questions on their survey. ("Home-Language Surveys for ELLs Under Fire," Feb. 16, 2010.)

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