Earth Notes
11:16 pm
Tue July 25, 2006

Appeals Court hears arguments on teaching English Learners

San Francisco, CA – The Legislature voted earlier this year to provide an
extra $432 for each of the more than 150,000 students
classified as English language learners. That's close
to triple the dollars when Arizona was found in
violation of federal law six years ago. But a judge
ruled earlier this year the state still hasn't complied
with the original order: conduct a study to determine
how much it takes to do the job right and then provide
the cash. Horne argued that's no longer necessary
because students in the Nogales school district -- the
ones in the original lawsuit -- are now doing better.
But attorney Tim Hogan who represents parents told the
judges that's irrelevant.

(The plaintiffs are a class of parents and children
from Nogales. But if you look through the second
amended complaint that was reference here, it's clear
that what plaintiffs were seeking was systemic relief
addressed the state's school finance system, not to a
particular school district.)

But appellate judge Andrew Kleinfeld questioned whether
more money is the answer.

(Washington, D.C., the best funded schools in America.
And the worst. North Dakota, among the worst funded
schools and the best. I don't understand why resources
come first.)

The judges gave no indication when they will rule on
whether the state needs to spend more. In San
Francisco, for Arizona Public Radio this is Howard
Fischer.