This goes back to why Arizona struggles with education and why it has trouble with its workforce. If there are not opportunities for Spanish speakers to learn English, no one wins. By attracting this labor force to the United States and making sure there are no opportunities for them to learn English makes this population slave labor. They come here for jobs, they live in substandard housing, and they can't do anything about it because they don't know their rights, let alone how to understand what is happening to them.
It takes seven years to learn a new language. I don't know why so many people are fighting this. This is a critical segment of our population and by keeping these opportunities away from them, we are only hurting ourselves.
The Arizona Republic
Mar. 23, 2007
"U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins said a plan approved by state lawmakers last year to satisfy a seven-year-old court order still does not provide adequate funding to school districts to educate the state's nearly 160,000 English-language learners. By requiring school districts to use federal funds in lieu of state funds, the funding scheme directly violates federal law and could "jeopardize the entire stream of federal educational funds available to the state's students," he wrote."
So Arizona legislators are putting the entire system at risk by resisting this basic right? How much money does it cost the state fighting this?
"The case, Flores vs. Arizona, was originally filed in 1992 on behalf of a Nogales family. In 2000, a federal judge ruled that the state funding was not adequate to teach struggling students English, which is required by federal law. Since then, the court has rebuffed several attempts by lawmakers to satisfy the court order by changing its funding models.
"For the last seven years, they have tried to get along with putting as little money as possible into this," said Tim Hogan of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, which is representing the plaintiffs."
People are forced to learn English, but nothing is done to help them do that.
"In his ruling, Collins said the state's plan systematically underfunds English-language instruction. He called the per-pupil funding amount arbitrary and noted that it is less than the amount called for by previous state cost studies.
Plus, he said the plan has two serious flaws that run afoul of federal law: It makes funding available only to teach students English for two years, despite evidence that it can take much longer."
There it is. In fact it takes seven years to learn a new language. I don't know how long we can go around and around on this, but the fight is obviously hurting the states economic vitality and the state's educational system. I am not exactly sure what is behind it, but it looks suspicious.