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Court to weigh state's duty to English learners
Law Center | 2009/04/20 09:31
The Supreme Court on Monday takes up an Arizona case that could limit a federal court's power to tell states to spend more money to educate students who aren't proficient in English.
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Arizona state legislators and the state superintendent of public instruction want to be freed from federal court oversight of the state's programs for English learners. They've been ordered by a lower court judge to spend potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to comply with rulings in a 17-year-old case./ppParents of students attending southern Arizona's Nogales Unified School District sued the state in 1992, contending programs for English-language learners in Nogales were deficient and received inadequate funding from the state./ppIn 2000, a federal judge found that the state had violated the Equal Educational Opportunities Act's requirements for appropriate instruction for English-language learners. He ordered state legislators to create a plan to provide sufficient funds and placed the state's programs for non-English speaking students under court oversight./ppSince then, the two sides have fought over what constitutes compliance with the order. Arizona has more than doubled the amount that schools receive per non-English speaking student and taken several other steps prescribed by the No Child Left Behind Act, a broader education accountability law passed by Congress in 2002./ppPlaintiffs say that's not enough to comply with federal law and a judge agreed. But the state appealed, and now the high court will answer the question./p


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