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Back to October Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 261 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS OCTOBER 2007

In Arizona, Some Teachers Don't Speak English, Either

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Each year since 2001, Arizona officials have visited classrooms across the state where students are learning English as a second language. English language learners fare worse on reading, writing and math assessments every year, and these state officials have been trying to find out why. Their visits last year discovered at least one important reason: nine out of 32 districts employed teachers who barely spoke English themselves. In 12 of the districts, some teachers flouted state law and taught their English language learners in Spanish.

Officials said that some teachers were almost impossible to understand. Others were comprehensible but mispronounced words and used incorrect grammar and syntax. The visitors recorded several examples of teachers' poor grasp of English:

"You need to make the story interested to the teacher."

"If you have problems to who are you going to ask?"

"How do we call it in English?"

"Read me first how it was before."

Last year's visits also uncovered legal violations in whether or how schools provided English instruction to students.

Major changes in English education go into effect this year in Arizona. English language learners must now spend four hours a day in classes devoted exclusively to language: English phonetics, grammar, reading and writing.


 
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