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.”
Dr. Francheska Figueroa, AZTESOL President