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Re: [xmca] Educational Nightmare in AZ

If we cannot be in Tucson on Sept 1, how can we be of help?

On Wed, Aug 11, 2010 at 10:08 AM, <cconnery@ithaca.edu> wrote:

> Greetings!
> Please take a minute to read about the educational nightmare unfolding in
> AZ below.....Dr. Patricia Gandara from UCLA's Civil Rights Project has
> outlined the situation below.
> Best wishes,
> Cathrene
> Dear Colleagues:
> We write to draw your attention to a really
> egregious misuse of power and of intimidation going on in Arizona by the
> Arizona Legislature, the AZ Dept of Education, Tom Horne, and their lawyers.
> While all eyes have been fixed on the immigration issues there, another
> critically important event has been unfolding largely unnoticed.  I am
> hoping that you will pass this information on to your communities --both
> research and practice--and consider coming to Tucson on September 1 to
> demonstrate that we will not be silenced.
> (I apologize for the somewhat lengthy message below, but I think you need
> to know some of the details.)
> As many of you know, the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles has
> been engaged over the last year in coordinating 9 studies of policy and
> practice regarding the education of English learner in Arizona. These should
> play a pivotal role in the Horne v Flores case coming back to federal court
> in Tucson September 1. The 9 studies were
> all reviewed by experts in the field,  were released in July and are
> available at the civil rights project website. The findings of these studies
> are extremely critical of the policies and practices currently being
> required in Arizona; one study describes these practices as the Return to
> the Mexican Room, as ELL students are required by Arizona
> law to attend 4 hours a day of "Discrete Skills" English drill in which
> they are segregated from other students on the campus and denied access to a
> regular curriculum until they can pass an English proficiency test.  Of 880
> teachers surveyed across the state of Arizona, 85% said they were very
> concerned about the segregation of the students and most said their students
> were not meeting grade level standards in these classrooms.  Overwhelmingly
> the teachers said their
> students could not reach English proficiency with this method in either one
> or two years, thus the students could be left in these Mexican Rooms for
> years.  Secondary students cannot graduate high school when most of their
> day is spent taking the 4 hour block of "discrete skills instruction" in
> ELD.  Tom Horne, the Superintendent of Public Instruction, was a major force
> behind the anti-bilingual referendum in AZ and touts this as a major
> achievement in his campaign to be the next Attorney General of AZ, yet his
> Dept and his lawyers cannot figure out how to provide access to the core
> curriculum without using bilingual education.  They say they are doing this
> because it isn't possible to teach other subjects to students who don't
> speak English!
> As we prepare to go to trial, the AZ lawyers have demanded that the
> researchers turn over all confidential information associated with the
> studies --names of districts, officials, and survey and interview
> respondents, classroom teachers who were observed, everything that was
> supposed to be protected by the Institutional Review Board  process. The
> lawyers at the University of Arizona have  turned over information
> identifying the districts and schools without a fight.  The AZ lawyers have
> also sent letters to the researchers threatening them with contempt of court
> if they did not divulge all of this information by 5pm on August 10, but
> noted if they decided not to testify there would
> be no problem and they would not have to divulge any names: A blatant
> attempt to get this research out of the trial by making the researchers
> choose between going to court and putting the districts and schools at risk
> -- the AZ Dept of Education is doing a witch hunt for anyone not "towing the
> line" in the state and cutting budgets of those who don't-- or backing down
> and not testifying.  Of course, if
> they do not testify, not only will their critical research be
> discounted, but they will have no opportunity to defend the integrity of
> their research from the slanderous descriptions of it by the lawyers. The
> researchers have received little or no support from their campus IRB,
> lawyers, or administration.  This will obviously have a very chilling effect
> on education research conducted in that state,
> and in other states, if they can get away with this. And, of course, it
> also means that there will be no evidence presented of the egregious
> treatment of these ELL students.
> All names of researchers involved in the project are on the civil rights
> project website, as well descriptions of their research and full papers.  I
> believe that it will be harder for Tom Horne to punish districts, schools,
> and administrators who cooperated with the data collection if a bright light
> is shone on the case and the tactics being used. These guys don't want to
> come out in the light of day.  We
> at the civil rights project are attempting to get the word out about what
> is going on.  We are also encouraging people to show up at federal court in
> Tucson on Sept 1 and make known that we will not be intimidated.
> Thank you for getting the word out.
> Patricia Gándara and Gary Orfield
> Patricia Gándara
> Professor of Education, UCLA
> Co-Director, The Civil Rights Project/
> Proyecto Derechos Civiles
> Graduate School of Education & IS
> 3329 Moore Hall Box 951521
> Los Angeles 90095-1521
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