by David Safier
Sarah Garrecht Gassen has written an excellent piece in the Star on the Arizona ELL case that will be taken up by the U.S. Supreme Court Monday. If you want an overview and analysis of the 1992 Flores v. State of Arizona case, it's all here.
Gassen makes one important point about the argument our legislature and Dept. of Ed are making.
It's less about what ELL students need than about whether the courts can tell us what to do.
Instead of arguing solely on the merits of Arizona's ELL system, the legislative leaders are, essentially, arguing that the federal district court judge should not be allowed to force the Legislature to take any specific action.
The push back against the federal court's power has attracted friend-of-the-court briefs from conservative groups and attention from high-profile right-wing activists such as Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum, who in 2006 wrote a piece about the Flores case headlined "Supremacist Judicial Mischief in Arizona."
I don't know the odds on this case going one way or another, but I do know the timing couldn't be much worse. If the Supremes decide Arizona has to spend more to educate ELL students, as I hope they do, it's going to turn into one more budget battle field. A few years ago, money would have been an issue, but not like it is now.