As you know, for years bi-lingual education programs under Republican
and Democratic administrations have not been adequately funded.   The
US Supreme Court on April 20, 2009 heard oral arguments in the case of
Miriam Flores (Flores v. State of Arizona)  whose family filed suit
against the state of Arizona in 1992 for not providing court mandated
support to Miriam who entered school as a non-English speaking
student.    In the next few weeks the Court will issue a ruling but
given the right wing philosophy of a majority of the Justices, i am
not too hopeful for a favorable ruling.
The attached excerpt is taken from National Public Radio website.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a case testing what
states must do to comply with the federal law requiring public schools
to teach children to speak English. Butting heads in the case are
politicians, federal laws, the power of the federal courts to enforce
judicial orders, and the power of state legislatures to decide how to
spend taxpayer money.
Nogales, Ariz., along the border with Mexico, is heavily Hispanic.
Many, if not most, of the children who go to school there speak
Spanish at home. Unless they learn English at school, they almost
inevitably fall behind.
Miriam Flores was one of those youngsters.
"It was quite a disadvantage, definitely," Flores says. "For example,
even when it comes to math, I mean problem solving, they were all in
English. So in order to understand, you need to be proficient in your
reading in English."
The same was true for science, social studies and the other subjects.
Flores and other youngsters like her were drowning — falling further
and further behind. So Flores' mother and other parents sued the state
of Arizona for failing to live up to the federal law that requires all
states to take the steps needed to overcome language barriers so that
non-English language speaking students can become English-proficient
and fully competitive. The law, first enacted in 1974, provides a
right to sue to enforce this mandate.
In 2000, a federal judge declared that the state of Arizona was in
violation of the federal law. The judge said the state had failed to
put in place trained teachers and programs reasonably calculated to
teach English. He found that some teacher aides did not themselves
speak adequate English, and that the state was spending less than $150
to bring each child up to speed.
Since then, the state says it has built more schools, hired more
teachers, shrunk the size of classes and doubled the amount spent per
pupil on English language learning.
But the state and the courts have remained at loggerheads. Most
recently, a federal appeals court ruled that the state's overall
increase in general education spending and management improvements in
Nogales did not excuse the state from its obligation to develop and
fund an appropriate English language learners program. When the
state's Democratic attorney general decided not to appeal, the
Republican speaker of the House and the Republican president of the
Senate hired their own lawyers, appealed, and to the surprise of
almost everyone, the Supreme Court agreed to take a look at the case.
Their principal ally is Tom Horne, the state's superintendent of
education, also a Republican. He sees the case as an example of a
judiciary run amok.
History of Flores -v- Arizona
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(Reverse Chronology)
March 2008
U.S. District Judge Raner Collins accepted arguments by attorneys for Republican legislative leaders that they could not meet his March 4 deadline to have funding in place. His two-page order gave them until April 15. Collins said each day lawmakers go beyond April 15 will cost Arizona $2 million in fines. If they hit May 15 without funding, those daily fines will go up to $5 million.
February 2008
United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholds the Judge Collins ruling and orders the State of Arizona to comply by March 4, 2008.
December 2007
The Legislature and Superintendent Horne go before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and argue that Judge Collins is illegally ordering them to spend more money for ELL students/programs. They argue that components of HB2064 from March 2006 address the Flores Consent Order.
October 2007
Judge Collins finds by �clear and convincing evidence the State willfully violated the clear and specific (March 2007) Order of the Court.� Tim Hogan�s motion for civil contempt is granted. The State is ordered to appropriate funds for the ELL Programs that are rationally related to helping ELL students overcome their language difficulties by March 4, 2007. If at that time, the State fails to comply, then the Court will levy appropriate sanctions.
March 22, 2007
Judge Collins rules that the most recent attempt by the Legislature to provide for the needs of English Language Learners falls far short of meeting the court order to fund ELL programs at adequate levels. Last years ELL funding bill required school districts to use federal funds in lieu of state funds which violates federal law. In addition, last year's solution fell short of meeting the needs of our ELL students by making funding available to students for only two years. The judge also notes that the funding level was far short of what past cost studies have recommended. The judge required the Legislature to approve an adequately funded and legal ELL provision by the end of the legislative session.
January 2007
Judge Collins begins hearings to consider changing circumstances in ELL instruction, costs, and needs and determine the adequacy of Arizona's current ELL funding system.
August 2006
At the appelate level the fines are ruled outside the authority of the lower court judge and the issue is sent back to Judge Collins to determine adequacy using more up-to-date data.
March 2006
When the Legislature failed to act, the State was fined $500,000 per day. Fines totaling $22 million dollars were assessed and eventually held in a fund to be distributed to school districts to support ELL instruction. The Legislature sent an ELL bill to the Governor which she allowed to go into law without her signature predicting that the Court would find it inadequate forcing a quicker solution than continued fines. The Legislative Leadership and State Superintendent Horne enter the legal battle arguing that the new law meets the federal guidelines.
Beginning of 2006 Legislative Session -

As the 2006 Legislative Session began in January, the Court granted a motion to exempt ELL students from passing the AIMS test in order to graduate until the State properly funds ELL programs and there is sufficient time to allow ELL students to compete equally on the test. Upon full compliance, the State must present evidence as to the reasonable time ELL students should remain exempt from the AIMS test as a requirement for high school graduation. Judge Collins gave the Legislature 15 calendar days to comply.
Click here for more details on ELL events of the 2006 Legislative session.
Otober 2005: Federal Judge Raner Collins hears arguments for sanctions against the State of Arizona presented by the plaintiffs.
June 2005: Governor Napolitano unveils a plan to fund the Flores Consent Decree that the AEA supports and urges the legislature to consider it. Draft of proposal.
May 2005: Republican Leadership sent a Flores funding bill (HB2718) to the Governor. AEA opposed this bill. The Governor vetoed the bill.
February 2005: National Conference of State Legislatures released full cost study. Legislature deemed the study flawed. NCSL does not get paid contract price ($238,528).
August 2004: National Conference of State Legislatures released a draft of the cost study to Legislative staffJanuary 2005: Newly appointed to the Flores case, Federal Judge Raner Collins gives the State until the end of the 2005 legislative session to comply with the Court’s 2000 Order.
August 2002: Legislative Council selected the National Conference of State Legislatures as the contractor for the English learner cost study (firm, fixed price of $238,528 for the project).
June 2002: On reconsideration, Judge Marquez reversed his previous order saying, “the State has taken appropriate action to address the directives issued in this case, especially since the Legislature adopted the new funding under HB 2010 as an interim measure pending further study and review.” [emphasis added]
April 2002: Judge Marquez ordered the State to perform another cost study by January 1, 2003 and to comply with the lawsuit by June 30, 2003.
December 2001: HB 2010, 45th Legislature Second Special Session, became law. HB 2010 doubled the ELL group B weight and appropriated money for each of the next three years for ELL instructional materials ($1.5 M), teacher training ($4.5 M), compensatory education ($5.5 M) and reclassifying students ($3 M). It also appropriated money for a study to determine the cost of educating English learners.
June 2001: Judge Marquez ordered the State to provide adequate funding to educate English learners by January 31, 2002 or by the end of any special session, whichever came first.
May 2001: Arizona Department of Education released an English Acquisition Program Cost Study. The study, however, was of limited usefulness.
October 2000: Judge Marquez ordered the State to do a cost study to establish the funding needed to effectively implement programs for English learners.
June 2000: State entered into a consent order with the plaintiffs to resolve the non-monetary issues of the lawsuit. The consent order included a requirement for the State Board and Arizona Department of Education to adopt rules for English language instruction, compensatory instruction and monitoring by the Department.
January 2000: U.S. District Court Judge Alfredo Marquez ruled the State provided a funding level for English learners that was “arbitrary and capricious” and failed to provide enough teachers, teachers’ aides, classrooms, materials and tutoring for these students.
August 1999: Trial was held on whether the State adequately funded English learner programs.
1992: Flores v. Arizona lawsuit filed in federal court. Claimed the State failed to provide instruction for English language learners to make them proficient in English and enable them to master standard academic curriculum.