Ducey enacts law to give more English language flexibility in schools
PHOENIX — Following a unanimous legislature, Gov. Doug Ducey signed a bill into law Thursday that allows schools to determine how long they want their English intensive blocks to last each day.
In a statement, the governor called the previously mandated four-hour daily blocks “rigid.”
State Sen. Paul Boyer, the sponsor of SB 1014, agreed.
“I don’t want to be so arrogant as to say, ‘Well, I know how every single school in the state of Arizona should teach English,'” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
The new law allows students learning English to spend more time interacting with native speakers to improve social skills.
It also gives them more time to study other subjects by reducing the amount of time they must stay in English Language Learning (ELL) classes.
“It’s a huge step for our kiddos in the state who are struggling to learn English who have been trapped in programs year after year,” Rebecca Gau, executive director of the advocacy group Stand for Children, said.
The Arizona Department of Education said it is thrilled for a new law allowing more flexibility.
“For the past two decades, Arizona’s English language learner students have suffered from a misguided policy that left them isolated, undereducated and unprepared to enter the workforce,” Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said in a statement.
“The passage of this legislation will give tens of thousands of ELL students a greater chance at success in school and in life, and their success will benefit all Arizonans.”
The state Board of Education must still approve models for ELL in the schools.