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Tom Horne sues Governor and Attorney General over English language instruction

The voter-passed and protected initiative was passed by a margin of over 60%

PHOENIX (KYMA, KECY) - Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne filed a lawsuit against Governor Hobbs and Attorney General Mayes for a judicial declaration that all schools must obey an initiative where English language learners must be taught in English.

The initiative is about how English language learners must be taught in English immersion rather than dual language, said the Arizona Department of Education.

It states explicitly, "All children in Arizona public schools should be taught English by being taught in English, and all children shall be placed in English language classrooms."

“Governor Hobbs is named as a defendant because of a court of appeals decision stating that the governor is a proper defendant in these kinds of cases because of the constitutional requirement that she see it to it that the laws are faithfully executed. Attorney General Mayes is named because the same case states that an action questioning the constitutionality of a law names the Attorney General. A law passed by the legislature in 2019 has been interpreted by some as authorizing dual language instruction. This is incorrect because the voter-protection law is part of the Arizona Constitution and any change to a voter-protected initiative must further the purpose of what voters intended. Dual language instruction is the opposite of the initiative’s purpose.”

“The fundamental purpose of the initiative is that students be taught throughout the school day in English, so they become proficient in English quickly, and can succeed academically, and not that they be taught half a day in another language, which would stunt their ability to master English.”

Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne

The Arizona Department of Education said the lawsuit also names as a defendant the Creighton school district which is among many districts defying the law established by the voter-approved and protected initiative.

According to the department, the district's rate of English Language Learners becoming proficient in English last year was 5.1%.

However, the department said this contrasts with some districts referred to in the complaint that have structured English immersion and their rates range from 23.87% to 30.03% for English proficiency.

A copy of the court filing can be found below.

Article Topic Follows: Arizona News

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