For immediate release: July 18, 2023
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Horne: AG Opinion on dual language is politically charged
Vows court challenge
PHOENIX – State Superintendent of Public Instruction and former Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne says the formal Opinion issued by current Attorney General Kris Mayes regarding the state’s Structured English Immersion law is ideologically driven.
Horne has reviewed the Opinion and is issuing the following detailed statement:
“It is surprising that the Attorney General evades the key issue, placing ideology over the law.
The Attorney General Opinion, in the second paragraph under background, recites that the voter passed, and voter protected initiative (Proposition 203) requires that English Language Learners be taught in English. A dual language program without waivers is an obvious violation of that to anybody who can read English. The Arizona Legislative Council reached that conclusion.
The Attorney General, for ideological reasons, wanted to rule in favor of the Democrat legislators who favor dual language. So, she refused to comment on whether a dual language program without waivers violates the voter protected initiative. She simply said that the State Board of Education has the power to adapt models under legislation. Neither the legislature nor the board has the power to overrule a voter approved initiative. Legislative Council found that dual language without a waiver does violate the initiative.
This will obviously be resolved in the courts. Until that happens, the State Board will not withhold funds. However, there are other remedies in the initiative for violation of its requirements. Any parent can sue a school or district that adopts dual language without waivers, and if the parent is successful, the school board, and the superintendent, and maybe the principal must leave office and cannot apply for their offices for five years. That will be a considerable incentive for school districts not to adopt dual language without waivers.”