ARIZONA NEWS

Judge tosses Tom Horne’s challenge of Arizona programs that teach non-English speaking students

Mar 11, 2024, 7:00 AM

A child is writing on a worksheet with colored pencils...

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Arizona's schools chief that challenged dual language programs. (Pexels Photo)

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Arizona’s schools chief that challenged programs that some school districts use to teach non-English speaking students.

Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne argued dual language programs – in which students spend half the day learning English and the other half focusing on another language — violate a 2000 voter-approved law that requires those students to be taught only in English, KJZZ radio reported.

In a ruling Tuesday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper concluded Horne lacked the statutory authority and legal standing to file the lawsuit and that he failed to state legal claims against Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs, Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes and 10 school districts.

In dismissing the case, Cooper ruled districts are required to use language immersion models approved by the state Board of Education, and the dual language models used by the 10 districts named in the lawsuit had that approval.

“The State Board, not the School Districts, are responsible for developing and approving the immersion models. … The School Districts, like all public and charter schools, are required to follow a model as approved by the State Board,” Cooper wrote.

Cooper ruled that neither Hobbs nor Mayes have any role in implementing or approving language models under the voter-approved law, so “none of the Defendant Parties has the ability to effect the relief he seeks.”

Last year, Mayes issued an opinion at the request of Democrats in the Arizona Legislature that concluded only the state education board, and not the superintendent of public instruction, has the authority to decide whether schools are in compliance with state laws governing how schools teach English language learners.

Horne’s attorneys argued that opinion is incorrect, but Cooper wrote that is not grounds for a lawsuit. “An opinion by the Attorney General is just that, an opinion. It is not actionable. It is advisory and has no legally binding effect,” Cooper wrote.

Cooper wrote that the Legislature gave the state Board of Education the authority to monitor school districts’ compliance with state and federal law, and the ability to file lawsuits if violations occur. She also ruled that Prop. 203 gives parents and guardians the power to file lawsuits to enforce that law.

In a statement, Horne said he will appeal the ruling and that a parent will file a similar lawsuit that would have more dire consequences for districts.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

Rattlesnake activity...

Nick Borgia

Warmer temperatures leads to increased rattlesnake activity in the Valley

The Banner Poison and Drug Information Center has seen an increase in rattlesnake activity in the Valley due to warmer weather.

1 hour ago

Housing program...

Nick Borgia

Gov. Katie Hobbs announces new $13M housing program

Gov. Katie Hobbs and the Arizona Department of Housing (ADOH) announced a new housing program on Friday, called "Arizona is Home."

2 hours ago

expand
The Lee Lee International Supermarkets store in Chandler. (Maison Solutions Inc.)...

Brandon Brown/Phoenix Business Journal

Arizona Asian grocery chain acquired by California company

Arizona's Lee Lee International Supermarkets has been acquired by a Southern California-based specialty grocery retailer.

3 hours ago

Deshan Begay, 24, was struck by a vehicle while walking when he didn't have the right of way, polic...

KTAR.com

Man fatally struck while crossing I-10 access road at red light in Phoenix

Deshan Begay, 24, was crossing the I-10 westbound access road on Wednesday evening when a vehicle fatally struck him, Phoenix police said.

12 hours ago

Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol after ...

Associated Press

Abortion ruling supercharges Arizona to be an especially important swing state

A ruling this week instituting a near-total abortion ban supercharged Arizona's role, turning it into the most critical battleground.

13 hours ago

Preston Lord murder suspect Talyn Vigil posted bond and was released from jail on April 12, 2024. (...

KTAR.com

Talyn Vigil, suspect in murder of Preston Lord, posts bonds and is released from jail

Talyn Vigil, one of seven suspects indicted in the murder of 16-year-old Preston Lord in Queen Creek, posted bond and was released from jail Friday, authorities said.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

COLLINS COMFORT MASTERS

Here are 5 things Arizona residents need to know about their HVAC system

It's warming back up in the Valley, which means it's time to think about your air conditioning system's preparedness for summer.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Judge tosses Tom Horne’s challenge of Arizona programs that teach non-English speaking students