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Sociopolitical Concerns

To: State Board of Education and Superintendent Tom Horne

Statement from AZTESOL President

TO: State Board of Education and Superintendent Tom Horne

FROM: Dr. Francheska Figueroa, AZTESOL President

DATE: Monday, June 26 at 9:00 State Board of Education

RE: Superintendent Tom Horne is threatening to pull funding from schools that allow non-proficient English speaking students take part in dual-language classes.

“As the President of AZTESOL, Arizona Teachers of English to Students of Other Languages our mission is to be a leading organization in Arizona where English language professionals at all levels network, advocate, and develop professionally. One of our main goals is to advocate for all English learners and their teachers. As an organization we do not stand with the Superintendent of Public Instruction to prevent ELs from participating in dual language immersion. This policy takes Arizona back to Superintendent Horne’s previous administration when ELs were the target of racist policies under the guise of research proven data. There is no research proven data to back this administration’s desire to prevent ELs from participating in dual language immersion. As a matter of fact, dual language immersion has been proven to facilitate language development in both L1 and L2 providing students with opportunities to become proficient in two languages (Thomas and Collier, 2012). Further studies have shown that the strategies ELs used to learn their primary language will transfer to the target language (Echevarría et al., 2023). It seems that Superintendent Horne believes that Spanish is being taught during the structured English immersion time of the day so it’s necessary to confirm that in a research-based, 50-50 Dual Language Immersion model, the“structured English immersion” time of day is taught all in English, not in Spanish. In a 50-50model more than the 120 minutes of the day is in English because 50% of the day is with theELD teacher. In addition, the waivers he says that could be used, have been written in a way that does not allow participation in DLI so while he says that most people don’t realize that there will not be an option – again, for a research-based 50-50 DLI model. As an organization we implore the board to not roll back the progress that has been made to support ELs. We must continue as a state to move forward so we can improve equitable educational opportunities for all students but more importantly for ELs and continue to offer these students dual language immersion programs.”

Francheska Figueroa signature

Dr. Francheska Figueroa, AZTESOL President

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General, Sociopolitical Concerns

Vote YES on Prop 208!

Vote YES on Prop 208!

AZTESOL encourages its members to vote YES on Proposition 208, the Invest in Education Act.  A YES vote on Proposition 208 restores hundreds of millions of dollars annually in K-12 education funding to solve Arizona’s teacher-shortage crisis, lower class sizes, hire aides and counselors, and expand career and technical education.  Learn more about Proposition 208 here.

Why is AZTESOL endorsing Proposition 208?

Arizona is facing a devastating teacher shortage. This teacher shortage and resulting large class sizes directly impact Arizona’s English learners whose unique needs are best met by highly trained and experienced teachers of English. Proposition 208 addresses these issues by raising teacher salaries, hiring more teachers, and funding mentoring and retention programs for new teachers.

Arizona ranks 49th in the nation in median teacher salary. AZTESOL celebrates the professionalism of its many members who work in Arizona’s K-12 public schools, and believes that the state must raise its teacher salaries to be in line with the national average.  Proposition 208 moves the state’s teacher salaries in this direction.

How can you help?

  • Vote: Find your polling place, check your registration, and watch progress of your early ballot here.
  • Spread the word: Tell three people about your support for Proposition 208.  Ask them to vote YES and to spread the word to their families and friends.

Volunteer:  There are a variety of safe, flexible, and fun volunteer opportunities occurring every day until the election.  Help voters learn about why a YES vote on Proposition 208 is good for Arizona’s future.

General, Sociopolitical Concerns, TESOL

TESOL, EnglishUSA, and UCIEP Oppose ICE Guidance on International English Language Program Students for Fall 2020

TESOL International Association recently issued a joint statement along with EnglishUSA and UCIEP in strong opposition to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement guidance that will bar many international students from studying in the United States in the fall. The United States has long been a global leader in international education and cultural exchange by providing opportunities for students from the U.S. and around the world to learn about cultures and languages, to exchange ideas, and to build a sense of identity and cultural awareness. Unfortunately, this new guidance, along with previous restrictive travel policies, will further weaken the United States’ ability to offer a space for cross-cultural communication and understanding.

Institutions of higher education and Intensive English Programs not only enable international students to develop their English language proficiency, but they also provide numerous social and cultural benefits such as enabling students to collaborate with their peers from around the world, thereby fostering the respect for diversity and multiculturalism that are fundamental to an interconnected world. While studying English, international students not only learn about U.S. culture through their interactions with peers and community members, but also enrich the communities in which they stay by sharing their unique perspectives with local residents and students. This reciprocal exchange of ideas is essential to promoting a sense of global community and mutual respect.

TESOL, along with its colleagues at EnglishUSA and UCIEP, are urging the White House and ICE to rescind this guidance that will certainly result in even more harm to the well-being of  institutions of higher education, IEPs, international students, and local communities.

Download a copy of the joint statement here

Take action by sending messages to the White House and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security here

General, Sociopolitical Concerns, TESOL

Support English Language Teachers

With the number of English learners (ELs) growing to over 5 million in the United States, there is a critical shortage of qualified English language teachers to meet this increased demand. Currently, 1 in 10 public school students across the United States are English learners. Additionally, only 65% of ELs graduate high school, compared to the national graduation rate of 83%.

The Reaching English Learners Act addresses this shortage by creating a grant program under Title II Part B of the Higher Education Act to fund the development of teacher preparation programs that train future teachers to instruct ELs. Specifically, institutions of higher education would be required to partner with local educational agencies to build or strengthen teaching programs that provide teacher candidates with skills related to: helping ELs in PK-12 achieve at high academic levels and attain English proficiency; recognizing and addressing the social and emotional needs of ELs; identifying and instructing ELs with disabilities, and promoting parental, family, and community engagement in EL educational programs.

TESOL International Association is asking you to take action today! Tell Congress to support English language teacher preparation by sending e-mails, tweets, and sharing this call-to-action with your friends and colleagues! 
1. Enter your name and address at the bottom of this page and click “Review Your Message;” this automatically customizes your messages to reflect if your representatives have co-sponsored the bill.
2. Review the text of each message that will be sent to your members of Congress, and personalize the message if you’d like.
3. Click “Send Message” to send all of the messages at once.
4. If you have a Twitter account, click the Twitter icon at the confirmation page to send a tweet to your members of Congress.
5. Share this campaign with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, and/or LinkedIn by using the links provided on the confirmation page!

TESOL International Association thanks its thousands of advocates in advance for their hard work in helping to pass this important legislation! 

Click Here to Send Your Messages to Congress and Support English Language Teachers!

General, Sociopolitical Concerns

Listen to AZTESOL Secretary, Megan Garvy, discuss the state of Arizona dual language immersion programs on KJZZ Public Radio

AZTESOL Secretary, Megan Garvy, was invited back on air on Arizona Public Radio 91.5 KJZZ to further discuss the evolving Arizona policy in regards to dual language immersion as opposed to English only classes for multilingual students in Arizona classrooms.

“Megan Karns Garvy is secretary of the Arizona Affiliate of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and was instrumental in laying the groundwork for our state’s dual-language immersion programs. She joined The Show to talk about it.”

Listen to the full broadcast here: