As a teacher that came from Ohio, who doesn’t speak any Spanish, this is what our classrooms look like up north. After spending a year teaching in Yuma, AZ , I see the need for bilingual education. It’s very hard as a Math teacher to instruct students who don’t understand anything you’ve said. I have no other choice than to teach in English because that’s all I know, so I have to find ways around the language barrier to make sure my students are getting the same education as their English speaking peers. Sometimes that means using their fellow peers to re-teach them the material in their native language.
Flores vs. Arizona argued that Limited English Proficient (LEP) programs were not being funded appropriately, by the Arizona Department of Education (ADE). It also claimed that the ADE failed to ensure that schools were providing adequate language acquisition and academic instructional programs for LEP students; both of which are in violation of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA). The District Court ruled in favor of Flores saying that the state was not following the EEOA. The ruling stated that there were too many students in a classroom, not enough classrooms, not enough qualified teachers, not enough teacher aides, inadequate tutoring opportunities, and insufficient teaching materials. In August of 2000, Superintendent Lisa Graham Keegan, entered into a consent agreement with the plaintiffs which resolved the District Court’s concerns. In the consent agreement she agreed that the schools will have to follow 5 provisions: Standardized method for identifying LEP students, uniform standards for monitoring students, alignment of standards and practices for student achievement, criteria on individualized education plans for English Language Learners, and monitoring and compliance by the ADE. The battle for funding of these programs has continued to be taken to court. Since these programs have been implemented since before I started teaching in this state, I find that the principals and school coaches make sure we are following all the provisions set forth by the Flores Consent Decree. Our principal and coach make sure to visit classrooms once a week to make sure we are on the right track with our students and to make sure each student is getting the same opportunities.
Lau vs. Nichols was a civil rights case brought by Chinese American students living in the San Francisco area. These students had limited English proficiency and were not being given any special help due to their lack of understand and fluency of the English language. They argued that they should be given extra help since they were entitled to it under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They believed that