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.