August 6, 2004
Students in English immersion classes consistently learn more than those in bilingual education courses, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne said Thursday.
Horne said results of standardized tests given to students last year show higher scores for students in immersion courses.
The superintendent said the test results should end the debate over whether bilingual education has value.
"Hopefully there are no additional students subjected to these educationally inferior bilingual programs," he said.
But a professor at Arizona State University questioned whether the figures in the study lead to Horne’s conclusion.
Josue Gonzales said it may be that students with fewer language skills are put into bilingual education classes. Gonzales, director of the Southwest Center for Education Equity and Language Diversity, said that would skew the data.
Horne said state law requires students to show more ability to speak English to avoid immersion courses.