ProEnglish hails 5-4 Decision as Victory for English Language Learners
Contact: Phil Kent
June 25, 2009
Phone: (404) 257-0542
ARLINGTON, Va.—“We are thrilled by today’s Supreme Court decision in Horne v. Flores that recognizes the demonstrated effectiveness of structured English immersion (SEI) teaching methods for teaching English language learners (ELL),” says K.C. McAlpin, executive director of ProEnglish. The Arlington, Va.-based organization advocates making English the official language of the United States. It joined three other groups in filing an ‘amicus curiae’ brief in the case.
“The majority opinion states, ‘Research on ELL instruction indicates there is documented, academic support for the view that SEI is significantly more effective than bilingual education. Findings of the Arizona Department of Education in 2004 strongly support this conclusion,’ ” McAlpin added.
The court ruled that the lower court had failed to adequately consider whether the Nogales school district’s implementation of SEI was a “changed circumstance” warranting relief.
McAlpin said SEI has proven its superiority to bilingual education wherever it has been implemented and called bilingual education an abject failure that handicaps ELLs for life. He pointed to new numbers from the Arizona Department of Education released this week estimating that 40,000 or 29 percent of ELLs enrolled in SEI classes passed the English fluency exam and will transition into mainstream classes this year up from only 17,813 students or 12 percent of ELLs that passed the English fluency exam after being enrolled in bilingual education classes in 2006-2007
“This decision is a victory for English language learners and a major defeat for the bilingual education industry,” McAlpin says. “It’s time to get rid of bilingual education and give English language learners a real opportunity to learn English and succeed,” he adds.