State Capitol News
9:26 pm
Sun March 9, 2008

ELL court fight rages on

Phoenix, AZ – The lawyer for state lawmakers is due in court today to explain to a federal judge why his clients need more time to comply with his English Language Learners order. Arizona Public Radio's Howard Fischer explains.


Judge Raner Collins ruled last year that Arizona has yet to meet
its obligations under federal law to ensure all students have a
chance to learn English. He said prior funding plans for the
130,000 students who are not proficient fell short. Collins gave
lawmakers until last Tuesday to have a new program in place. A
lawyer for legislative leaders now wants six more weeks. But Tim
Hogan who represents the parents who sued noted the first ruling
the state was breaking the law came in 2000.

(They've had eight years. Six weeks isn't going to help them at
all.)

Hogan said the state has finally come up with models of how
schools are supposed to teach English and state School
Superintendent Tom Horne has told lawmakers how much they need to
give the schools. What's missing is the money for schools to hire
the necessary teachers.

(They should have been doing that months ago. The sooner we can
get that money out there to help these school districts to make
those commitments to teachers for the coming school year the
better.)

Hogan wants Collins to demand lawmakers fund the program within
two weeks or face fines.

For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard
Fischer.