‘Watchdogs’ will monitor Tom Horne on English-only education policy

The Arizona Supreme Court decision finding that Tom Horne didn’t receive due process illustrates the need for fundamental administrative law reform

By Yana Kunichoff || The Arizona Republic

A group central to limiting Arizona’s English-only instruction requirement for English language learners is planning to monitor Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne’s efforts related to the program.

S”and for Children Arizona “is committed to acting as a watchdog organization over Superintendent Horne’s dangerous rhetoric and political theatre moving forward,” the organization said in a statement following remarks Horne made in front of a legislative committee earlier this year about English language learning strategies.

That means looking for any efforts by the administration to change English language learning in a manner that is not in line with laws and regulations, according to the group.

Horne, a Republican, has long advocated for English-only instruction for students learning the language. His January return to the helm of the Arizona Department of Education, following the tenure of Democrat and bilingual education supporter Kathy Hoffman, has renewed a battle over what type of instruction is best for English language learners, who make up about 8% of Arizona’s student population, according to October 2022 enrollment data.

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English language learning in Arizona over the years

In 2000, in response to a campaign led in part by Horne’s Deputy Superintendent Margaret Garcia Dugan, voters approved Prop. 203, which repealed previous bilingual education laws and paved the way for lawmakers to require English language learners to be in English immersion classes for four hours each day.

Horne took office in 2003, promising to enforce that mandate.


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March 2023