Language Policy in Arizona

One of our latest publications is Language Policy Processes and Consequences edited by Sarah Catherine K. Moore. Here, Sarah gives us a bit of background on the complex situation in Arizona.

Language Policy Processes and ConsequencesIn terms of language policy implementation, and specifically, English-only implementation, Arizona is unique because of its degree of oversight, top-down scrutiny, and elevation of English-only as a political priority. In Arizona, English-only played out quite differently than in California and Massachusetts, in part due to its precedence within socio-political contexts and its utilization as a tool for ideological rhetoric pronounced by those seeking to ascend in political office.

Understanding the complex case of English-only in Arizona requires following not only implementation of the state’s respective proposition (Prop. 203) in schools, but also its relationship with a court case critical to the larger scenario, and highly relevant to the field of emergent bilingual education—the Flores case. An additional facet involves teasing out the relationship between these two issues and compliance with No Child Left Behind (2001). Together, these three issues, combined with an aggressively restrictive and potentially xenophobic political atmosphere, created in Arizona roots that are, as we carry on, becoming established and entrenched artifacts and a new reality in schools.

In this new reality, kids are separated based on language proficiency for roughly half of each school day. If they don’t speak English, they are kept just one step back from access to content. Instead of content, they are taught ‘discreet’ English ‘skills’. And hundreds into thousands of teachers are being groomed to believe that teaching first involves separating kids.

This text attempts to document through a series of case studies, how policies become practice, and ultimately, what they mean for schools, teachers, and students.

Implementing Educational Language Policy in ArizonaFor more information on this book please go to our website. You might also be interested in this title: Implementing Educational Language Policy in Arizona.


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