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‘English-only’ repeal law held in House Rules

By: - February 3, 2020 3:46 pm

Amethyst Hinton Sainz, an English Learner educator, teaches a lesson on “mixed emotions” at Rhodes Junior High School in Mesa. Photo by Kelsey Mo | Cronkite News

The House Rules Committee, which reviews the constitutionality of proposed legislation, didn’t review a ballot referral to repeal Arizona’s English-only law as scheduled on Monday. 

Rep. Anthony Kern, R-Glendale, who chairs the committee, said he was holding House Concurrent Resolution 2001 from Monday’s agenda, but didn’t explain why. 

Last week, the measure sponsored by Rep. John Fillmore, R-Apache Junction, cleared the House Education Committee

HCR2001 repeals Arizona’s English-only model of instruction approved by voters in 2000 which prohibits all English learners (children who have a home language other than English) from being taught in their home language. This results in English learners being shut out of bilingual education programs.  

Moment’s after HCR2001 was held, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman urged lawmakers to continue pushing for the passage of the English-only repeal proposal. 

“For too long, educators have been handcuffed to a policy that inhibits English language learning for our multilingual students. Research shows this harmful policy drives the disproportionate outcomes we see among these students  — particularly within our high school graduation rates,” Hoffman told the House Education Committee in her annual State of Education address.

“Let’s keep this bill moving and send the ‘English-only’ law back to the voters to repeal it once and for all,” she said. ”By taking this step, Arizona teachers will be further empowered to lead all of their students to success.”

Last year, lawmakers also considered a measure from Fillmore to repeal the state’s English-only law. It had broad bipartisan support, passed through the House but it didn’t receive a formal vote by the entire Senate before lawmakers finished the session.

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Laura Gómez
Laura Gómez

Reporter Laura Gómez Rodriguez covers state politics and immigration for the Arizona Mirror. She was named Best Investigative Reporter by Phoenix Magazine in its 2018 newspaper category and has been honored by the Arizona Press Club for education, immigration, political, and public safety reporting and Spanish-language news and feature reporting. Laura worked for The Arizona Republic and La Voz Arizona for four years, covering city government, economic development, immigration, politics and trade. In 2017, Laura traveled the length of the U.S.-Mexico border for “The Wall,” the Pulitzer Prize-winning project produced by The Arizona Republic and USA Today Network. She is a native of Bogotá, Colombia and lived in Puerto Rico and Boston before moving to Phoenix in 2014. Catch her researching travel deals, feasting on mariscos or playing soccer.