[lg policy] Most Arizonans Support Dual-Language Education

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Wed May 22 11:12:51 EDT 2019


Most Arizonans Support Dual-Language Education
May 20, 2019
16
[image: A brilliantly colorful sunset in the Sonoran Desert landscape with
a little girl gazing up at a towering saguaro cactus.]

A recent voter poll, commissioned by UnidosUS (formerly National Council of
La Raza) and Helios Education Foundation, indicates that the majority of
Arizonans support dual-language education for children, and nearly 60% of
respondents approve of a measure that would allow undocumented students to
receive in-state tuition rates.

Education is the hot topic in Arizona, where voters have singled it out as
the most important issue facing the state for four years in a row.
According to a January survey
<https://www.expectmorearizona.org/blog/2019/01/07/education-top-issue-for-fourth-straight-year/poll-results/>,
in an open-ended question, education was ranked most important (40% of
respondents), while 29% cited border issues, and 8% chose health care.

“Our poll results reflect a strong rebuke of Arizona’s rigid approach to
teaching English learner (EL) students—an approach that has negatively
impacted academic outcomes for the approximately 100,000 ELs enrolled in
the AZ public education system. We are not only encouraged by the broad
support that exists to introduce dual-language learning models to English
instruction, but—more importantly—by the steps Arizona voters and lawmakers
alike are taking to restore equity to Arizona’s education system,” said
Eric Rodriguez, VP of Policy and Advocacy at UnidosUS.

“As a foundation focused on improving Latino Student Success, we are
encouraged by these poll results. They indicate definitively that Arizonans
recognize the importance of ensuring all students in our state have access
to a high-quality education,” said Paul J. Luna, president and CEO, Helios
Education Foundation. “Ensuring all students have opportunities to succeed
in education, regardless of primary language spoken at home or citizenship
status, will help secure a stronger quality of life for all of us and a
stronger economic future for Arizona.”

Key findings of the statewide poll include:

   - High levels of support for the dual-language ballot measure across the
   political spectrum: 60% of Republican voters, 62% of Democrats, and 63% of
   Independents backed the measure.
   - Support for dual-language education was also consistent across
   ethnicity: 56% of White voters and 69% of Hispanic voters indicated that
   they would vote yes on the proposal. Of note, 71% of White women expressed
   support for the measure.
   - Younger voters are particularly supportive of the measure: 78% of
   respondents ages 18-34 say they would vote yes on the dual-language
   initiative.
   - Six out of ten voters (59%) also approve of a measure that would allow
   undocumented students to receive in-state tuition rates.

“The poll specifically addressed pending legislation before lawmakers right
now—HCR 2026 and SB 1217 /HB 2186,” said Janice Palmer, VP & director of
Policy at Helios Education Foundation. “HCR 2026 is a referendum that would
give voters the opportunity to adopt dual-language instruction
opportunities for all children – an opportunity currently not available to
our English Language Learners to master the English language. SB 1217 / HB
2186 would establish the high school graduate tuition rate at all Arizona
community colleges and universities, providing relief to DACA (Deferred
Action for Childhood Arrival) students who due to a court ruling now are
subject to out-of-state tuition rates, as well as other high school
graduates.” The telephone survey was conducted by Public Opinion Strategies
among 600 registered voters in Arizona between April 23-25, 2019. Poll
results can be found here
<http://publications.unidosus.org/bitstream/handle/123456789/1944/unidosus_arizonasurveyduallanguage.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y>

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 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com
http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/

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