Tuesday, May 4, 2010

And Speaking of Arizona...

This is one I hadn't heard about...
Adding to the fury of Arizona’s new immigration control law, state education officials are being accused of racism for enforcing federal standards that require public school teachers to be fluent in English.
In order for schools to receive federal funding, students learning English must be instructed by teachers fluent in the language. The Arizona Department of Education recently began notifying school districts throughout the state that teachers who speak ungrammatical or heavily accented English must be removed from classes with students still learning the language, according to a national newspaper report.

The state has hundreds of teachers that were recruited from Latin America in the 1990s as part of an expansive bilingual education program. Their first language is Spanish and many speak English with a thick accent or drastic grammatical errors. When voters passed a ballot measure imposing that public school instruction be offered only in English, bilingual teachers who taught in Spanish switched to English.

Many don’t meet the federal fluency standards required by the bipartisan-supported No Child Left Behind Act, which was enacted in 2001. Arizona education officials say a lot of schools are not complying with the law and it’s their duty to assure that the state’s 150,000 students with limited English have teachers who speak the language perfectly.

State education officials have dispatched auditors to identify teachers that don’t meet the criteria by evaluating them on comprehensible pronunciation, correct grammar and writing. Teachers that don’t make the cut have the opportunity to improve deficiencies with special courses and those who don’t can be reassigned to mainstream classes that don’t include students who are still learning English.

The crackdown illustrates Arizona’s “incredible anti-immigrant sentiment,” according to a highly regarded professor at one of the state’s top public universities
Okay - let me get this straight. People are upset, in fact it's an "anti-immigrant sentiment" because the law requires that teachers who are hired to teach English are actually fluent in English??? Am I missing something here?? I'm sorry, but I would think one of the FIRST prerequisites of teaching a language - ANY language - would be to be fluent in that language!

I seriously think we've entered the twilight zone. Sheesh!!!

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