Arizona English Language Education for Children in Public Schools, Proposition 203 (2000)
the English Language
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|English Language Education for Children in Public Schools|
- Election results from Arizona Elections Department.
Text of measure
The Summary by Arizona Legislative Council was:
Proposition 203 would repeal the existing bilingual education laws and change the law to require that all classes be taught in English except that pupils who are classified as "English Learners" will be educated through sheltered English immersion programs during a temporary transition period. The sheltered English immersion programs will provide nearly all classroom instruction and materials in English, but may use a minimal amount of the child's native language when necessary. The temporary transition period for sheltered English immersion programs will normally not exceed one year. When an English learner has acquired a good working knowledge of English, that pupil will be transferred to a regular English language classroom.
Proposition 203 allows parents to apply for waivers from participation in English immersion programs if their child already knows English, their child is at least ten years of age or their child has special needs. If the school grants the waiver, the child will be transferred to classes that teach English and other subjects through traditional bilingual education instruction or other generally recognized educational methods that are permitted by law.
Proposition 203 allows parents or legal guardians to recover actual and compensatory damages and attorney fees, but not punitive damages, against persons who willingly violate its provisions. Any school official who willfully and repeatedly refuses to comply with Proposition 203 is personally liable for damages and attorney fees to the parents or legal guardians of the child, shall be removed from office and shall be prohibited from holding any position of authority in the public school system for five years.
Proposition 203 requires that all students in grades two through twelve be tested annually to monitor their progress in academic subjects and in learning the English language. Students who are classified as severely learning disabled may be exempted from this test. The test score of an individual pupil compared to the national average will be confidentially provided to the parent or legal guardian of that pupil. The combined test scores for schools and school districts will be published on the Internet and the aggregate scores achieved by pupils classified as "limited-English" will be listed in a separate sub-category.
Fiscal Impact Summary:
Proposition 203 requires pupils who are "English learners" to be taught in English immersion classes during a temporary transition period. Under current law, school districts receive extra funding from the state for "English learners" without a specific time limit. Because the Proposition would limit the amount of time that pupils could remain eligible for additional state funding for "English learners," the Proposition is expected to lead to state savings. The amount of the savings is difficult to predict in advance as it depends on the number of pupils who learn English more quickly in the immersion classes. In addition, it is unclear how federal law would affect the transfer of students out of the immersion classes. The maximum state savings would be as high as $20.3 million in 2004 if all English learners become proficient in English within a year, although that outcome is unlikely.
An additional fiscal impact could occur if school districts had to revamp their curricula, staff assignments, and operating procedures in order to comply with the Proposition. Since it would alter neither the state funding formula for public schools nor laws that "cap" school district expenditures, any additional costs would require a reallocation of existing school district resources.