No hablo ingles? Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Thomas Horne, does not seem to care all that much. Horne is the subject of a 1992 class action lawsuit, Flores v. Horne, which charged Arizona with failing to comply with a federal law requiring the states to provide the necessary accommodations needed for students to overcome language barriers. The case is expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in April.
The issue at hand is how much money should be spent teaching English to students who enter school unable to speak the language. Thomas Hogan, Flores’s lawyer, had already succeeded in persuading the 9th US District Court of Appeals to agree that Arizona has failed to comply with a 2000 federal district court order, due to the state’s inadequately funded programs to help children learn English and excel academically. There was a threat of a fine for $2 million a day, which was replaced with a total price of $40 million to help the 138,000 students who do not speak English.