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English Language Learners: Not Enough Funding Case Goes To Supreme Court

In this session of the Supreme Court, there will be several cases heard in the educational field. One of which is based on the English language learners, or ELL, courses available in the state of Arizona. The case, Horne vs. Flores is a disagreement by several groups, often split along political party lines. The case involves the amount of funding for such courses and the legal requirements of the state to provide for such courses.

1504001%20Gavel%20%26%20Money%202.jpgThe Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 states that states need to provide appropriate action to provide for equal education to all students, regardless of their origins and nationalities. Yet, in Arizona, the claim is that there was a lack of funding for English language learners instructional methods. The law states, specifically, that every state must, “take appropriate action to overcome language barriers that impeded equal participation by its students in instructional programs.”

In 2006, a law passed that increased per pupil ELL funding. In 2007, a judge from the U. S. District stated that the law did not go far enough to provide for the programs in that it only went for providing $444 per pupil in ELL education up from $365 per pupil. Further, the law cut off funding for students who remained in such courses beyond two years. The judge ruled that the state’s ELL funding was in violation of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act.

The case gets further complex when the No Child Left Behind Act, a federal act, is taken into account. The state’s ELL law requires an offset of funds from the federal government to districts, but runs the risk of reducing the amount that the state can obtain from the No Child Left Behind Act.