Republican lawmaker again proposes to repeal Arizona’s English-only law

By Laura Gómez | Arizona Mirror

Amethyst Hinton Sainz, an English Learner educator, teaches a lesson at Rhodes Junior High in Mesa.
/Kelsey Mo/Cronkite News

Rep. John Fillmore is again proposing to repeal a 19-year-old voter-approved law that forbids students who are learning English from getting instruction in any other language. 

Fillmore, an Apache Junction Republican, introduced a proposal Tuesday to repeal the state’s English-only law. His proposal last year won bipartisan support in the Arizona House of Representatives but failed in the Senate. 

The measure was approved on a 59-1 vote in the House of Representatives and was unanimously approved by the Senate Education Committee, but it stalled for over a month in the Senate. The proposal then picked up steam as the session wound to a close, but sine die arrived before it received a formal vote by the entire Senate.

Fillmore’s House Concurrent Resolution 2001 seeks to repeal Arizona’s English-only model, officially known as Structured English Immersion. The framework for the state’s SEI model was mainly established by Proposition 203 in 2000. As a result of this law, all English learners – children who have a home language other than English – can’t be taught in their home language and are placed in English-only classrooms.

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