Arizona English Language Learners – Part II

As I touched on this subject back in February, more information and decisions have become available and since my new home is Arizona, I am now reading the local papers about the English Language Learners debate.

Arizona is known for having many children and adults whose first language is not English. Many are of the Hispanic race and their first language is Spanish. Due to this, many students do not succeed in school and cannot go to college because of the language barrier they face. According to The Arizona Republic, 175,000 students are considered “at-risk.” This means they will never be able to communicate verbally in the English language, as well as be able to write.

The argument among residents is since the students are immigrants, why does Arizona have to budget their school expense to include English language classes for non-native English speakers? It is quite simple; children are our future and the future of the country. For any of them to succeed, they will need to communicate in the English language. Most of the English Language Learners are legal US citizens, they have the right to learn whatever subject they choose and it has become the government’s responsibility to make sure these students can succeed in life.

Developing classes where all the foreign language speaking students are together does not help in learning the English language. Just like any foreign language, being immersed in the language and culture will help the student begin to understand the language quicker. Arizona now has a mandatory English Immersed instruction law which is state mandated.

For more information about this case, visit http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/viewpoints/articles/0305deUriarte0305.html

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