Horne wants names of teachers participating in UA/ASU studies

by David Safier

Tom Horne wants university researchers to turn over the names of teachers who participated in UA and ASU studies. The studies conclude that Horne's English Immersion program is having a negative effect on students.

This would be a frightening request at any time, but the idea of giving this kind of ammunition to Horne during campaign season is terrifying.

A subpoena seeking research data related to the education of English-language learners in Arizona is drawing fire from civil rights advocates and researchers.

Lawyers for state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne want the data for use in a long-running federal court case over Arizona’s approach to educating its ELL students. But researchers from the University of Arizona, Tucson, and from Arizona State University, Tempe, had promised that the information—which includes the names of study participants—wouldn’t be made public.

The raw data requested are associated with three studies conducted by those researchers for the Civil Rights Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles at the University of California, Los Angeles. The studies take a critical view of Arizona’s requirement that all English-learners be separated into classrooms for four hours each day to learn discrete English skills.

Horne has staked a lot on his English Immersion program which segregates ELL students for most of the school day, and these studies put Horne's program in a negative light.

The findings of the three studies suggest the program will have negative consequences for ELLs. One study, for example, found that 85 percent of 880 teachers surveyed throughout the state were very concerned about the “segregation” of students in the classes, and that most said a majority of students were not meeting grade-level standards through them.

The thought of what ultra-vindictive Horne might do to teachers who said the "wrong thing" to the researchers sends chills up my spine. I don't know what promises were made to the participating teachers, but if the researchers turned over the names, it would be an incredible violation of confidence. And you might as well forget about getting teachers to participate in a study like this ever again.

6 responses to “Horne wants names of teachers participating in UA/ASU studies

  1. Wrote about this issue here:
    http://www.reappropriate.com/2010/08/13/az-school-superintendent-subpoenas-researchers-to-reveal-confidential-information-about-study-participants/

    Relevant excerpt:

    “It’s naive for Arizona’s Superintendents to insinuate that the investigators in this study deliberately biased their sample, and that none of the study’s peer-reviewers caught on; they are, in essence, accusing an entire community of researchers of conducting bad science.

    In fact, the accusation would be insulting, if it weren’t hilariously ironic. Explaining the state of Arizona’s reasoning for requesting release of the study participant’s information, Dugan characterized the classroom selection as“slanted.” She further said, “At least I would like for them to have surveyed districts and teachers who are positive about the model.”

    In other words, Dugan takes issue not with the possibility that the studies were biased, but that they were biased in the wrong direction. And how should we correct it? Choose to sample classrooms in such a way as to fix the outcome.

    I don’t think Horne and his colleagues can even spell “scientific method”, let alone recognize the flaws in Ms. Dugan’s proposed solution.

    (And Ms. Dugan is running to replace Tom Horne as Arizona School Superintendent, folks. This state is so fucked.)”

  2. This ain’t nothin’ but a publicity stunt. No IRB is going to allow an investigator to release personal information about their subjects.

    If anything, Horne betrays his own lack of understanding of how science and research works.

  3. I hope that Arizona voters make decisions based on provable facts and not accusations.

  4. Personal experience, Ragnar. He’s a mean, nasty old man with some cognitive slippage.

  5. Do you have a reference as to why you label Tom Horne ultra-vindictive?

  6. It has been a while since I submitted a research proposal for human subjects approval, but my understanding is that when a researcher designs a project such as the one described above they must clear the project through the Office for Responsible Research Conduct http://orcr.vpr.arizona.edu/irb . ASU has a similar office. When you have human participants you have to get their consent to use the information. The language in such forms about protection and privacy is very strong. I imagine Horne will be told to get lost. At least I hope so.