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CRP Resources Related to Horne v. Flores

Authors: Civil Rights Project
Date Published: September 21, 2010

Resources on the court decision, including research and legal documents.
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Horne v. Flores, 129 S.Ct. 2579 (2009), is a case about the rights of English Language Learners (ELs) in public schools in Arizona. The United States Supreme Court accepted the case and, in effect, evaluated whether or not Arizona educational policy with regard to students learning to speak English complied with the law, particularly the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA). On June 25, 2009, the Court overturned the decision of the state court, deciding in favor of Superintendent Horne and allowing Arizona to determine its own requirements with regards to ELL instruction. Justice Breyer dissented (joined by Justices Stevens, Souter, and Ginsburg) and issued an opinion warning that the Court’s decision risked harming ELLs by denying schoolchildren the English-learning instruction necessary “to overcome language barriers that impede” their “equal participation.”

Research related to Horne V. Flores

Concern about these issues and the deepening racial polarization in Arizona led scholars from UCLA, Stanford, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona to donate their time to study how Arizona's ELs are faring under the state's current educational policies and to produce the best possible information so that the state and the federal district courts can consider this when applying the Supreme Court decision.

District Court Case Developments

After these independent studies were published in compliance with Institutional Review Board (IRB) on each campus, Arizona’s lawyers took the unprecedented action of attempting to force the researchers and the schools they represented to disclose confidential information about research participants. 

Ultimately, a federal judge protected the names of research subjects, but ordered that the names of schools involved should be released to state authorities.

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