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ERIC Number: EJ1001978
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 33
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1467-9620
Separate and Not Equal: The Implementation of Structured English Immersion in Arizona's Classrooms
Lillie, Karen E.; Markos, Amy; Arias, M. Beatriz; Wiley, Terrence G.
Teachers College Record, v114 n9 2012
Background/Context: Over the last ten years, a convergence of laws and decrees has impacted the development and implementation of Arizona's current program for English language learners (ELLs): the four-hour Structured English Immersion (SEI) model. Arizona's new model, while being touted by some as the most effective program for ELLs (Clark, 2009), is raising concerns with researchers and educators involved with the education of ELLs (Combs et al., 2005; Faltis & Arias, 2007; Krashen, Rolstad, & MacSwan, 2007, Lillie et al., 2010; Wright, 2005). A recent Auditor General's report (Davenport, 2011) indicates that instructional programs for ELLs have lacked uniformity and that the impact of the SEI model on ELLs' language development and academic achievement is unknown. Therefore, although it has been over a decade since the Flores Consent Order, we must continue to examine the evidence regarding implementation of the SEI model in order to determine if the instruction offered to ELLs is comparable in amount, scope, and quality to that provided to English-proficient students. Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: This paper utilizes the trajectory of these language policies as a lens for examining how ideas stemming from the Flores Consent Order and the English-Only voter initiative (Proposition 203), and continuing through to the legislative response of the court order (House Bill 2064) are evidenced in Arizona's SEI classrooms. Research Design: The purpose of this qualitative study is to document and describe the characteristics of the four-hour SEI policy in practice. Over a seven-week period during the spring semester of the 2009/2010 school year, researchers utilized ethnographic observation methods, interviews, and a collection of artifacts to document the implementation of the SEI model and instruction of ELLs. Using a constant comparison analysis, findings were re-examined to show how this restrictive language policy has impacted and shaped the SEI model in practice today. Conclusions/Recommendations: Arizona's current four-hour model, as implemented in K-12 SEI classrooms, hinders policy intentions: ELLs do not have access to quality instruction, or a curriculum that is comparable in amount, scope, and quality to that of non-ELLs. Furthermore, deficiencies in funding abound, limiting ELLs' opportunities for the compensatory education needed to help them catch up academically. The authors contend that a re-examination of the SEI policy is warranted if the state is to fully realize the intentions of the Flores Consent Order and equal educational opportunity for ELLs. (Contains 2 tables, 1 figure, and 9 notes.)
Teachers College, Columbia University. P.O. Box 103, 525 West 120th Street, New York, NY 10027. Tel: 212-678-3774; Fax: 212-678-6619; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona