FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 17, 2023
PHOENIX – Educators in the House Democratic Caucus praised a legal opinion released today by Attorney General Kris Mayes that the State Board of Education has the sole statutory authority to govern Arizona's public school dual language immersion programs. Schools using the 50-50 dual immersion programs had recently come under political threat to withhold funding by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne. The State Board also announced today that it plans no changes to its models and will take no action against schools using them.
The opinion was requested by Democratic Representatives Jennifer Pawlik, Judy Schwiebert, Nancy Gutierrez and Laura Terech, all current or former public school classroom teachers. Pawlik, Schwiebert, Gutierrez and Terech released the following statement in response to the State Board's decision to keep dual language programs in place following the legal opinion:
"This extremely effective program is one of four models approved by the State Board of Education for English language learner instruction. With school beginning this week, we are grateful for the quick response of Attorney General Mayes, and for clarifying that authority to evaluate and approve the programs rests with the State Board of Education. Schools may continue to use the effective dual language immersion programs without fearing loss of funding. This is a big win for students and parents who choose to enroll their children in dual language programs."