Poll Shows Arizonans Support Dual-Language Immersion Rather Than English-Only Classes For Multilingual Students

Published: Thursday, May 9, 2019 - 1:03pm
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In 2000, voters in Arizona passed a so-called “English-only” law, which requires students who don’t speak English to be placed in what’s called structured English immersion programs, where they learn English apart from every other subject.

Those programs, however, have been met with a lot of criticism. The graduation rate for English Language Learner, or ELL, students in Arizona was only about 18 percent in 2017.

Now, a new poll shows voters in Arizona would support the repeal of that law, and according to the Arizona Mirror, most say they agree with the alternative dual-language immersion approach to teaching English.

Right now, there are two different paths for learning another language in Arizona schools.

There's the Structured English Immersion classes that ELLs are currently placed in. And then there's dual-language immersion programs, which teach students to be bilingual in both English and another language. These have been very successful, but are off-limits to most ELL students.

Now, there’s a bill making its way through the state legislature that would send the repeal of the English-only law to voters, and open up dual-immersion programs to English Language Learners.

Megan Karns Garvy is secretary of the Arizona Affiliate of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and was instrumental in laying the groundwork for our state’s dual-language immersion programs. She joined The Show to talk about it.

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