Arizona Goes After Teachers With Accents
If not 'fluent,' they can't teach English learners
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2010 9:39 AM CDT
In this photo taken on April 20, 2010, Cedarlane Middle School teacher, Angela Wang, right, teaches Origami as part of a Chinese Language and Culture class in the Hacienda Heights area of Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

(Newser) – Arizona is already under fire for its controversial new immigration law, and now this: Schools in the state are being forced to fire or reassign some teachers who speak English with an accent. Teachers who aren’t deemed fluent can’t be in classrooms where students are still learning English, meaning many veteran teachers are taking classes to improve their English—and if that doesn’t work, facing a move to a higher grade where English learners are fewer; about 12.5% of the state's public-school students are considered "English Language Learners."

Some of the pronunciation problems the Department of Education notes: violet is “biolet” and think is “tink.” While one principal agrees “teachers should speak grammatically correct English,” she doesn’t see why accents should be punished. “This is just one more indication of the incredible anti-immigrant sentiment in the state,” one professor tells the Wall Street Journal. Ironically, Arizona hired hundreds of Spanish-speaking teachers, many of them recruited from Latin America, in the 1990s to teach bilingual education.

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Showing 3 of 239 comments
filipinodescentamerican
May 24, 2010 6:07 PM CDT
Unfortunately, most of the comments I read on this blog that are criticizing teachers with accent can't even spell words accurately. Just for the record, there are plenty of teachers with accents that came from other countries such as the Philippines. Every once in a while, you will hear a Filipino speak with a deep accent but their pronunciation of an english word is correct. They also write better than most Americans I know. If I have to choose between someone who has an accent but used proper English or someone without an accent (if there is such a thing since everyone has an accent) that could not even spell a word correctly, then I'll take the one with an accent anytime.
filipinodescentamerican
May 24, 2010 6:07 PM CDT
Unfortunately, most of the comments I read on this blog that are criticizing teachers with accent can't even spell words accurately. Just for the record, there are plenty of teachers with accents that came from other countries such as the Philippines. Every once in a while, you will hear a Filipino speak with a deep accent but their pronunciation of an english word is correct. They also write better than most Americans I know. If I have to choose between someone who has an accent but used proper English or someone without an accent (if there is such a thing since everyone has an accent) that could not even spell a word correctly, then I'll take the one with an accent anytime. FYI: I am a US Citizen that immigrated from the Philippines
filipinodescentamerican
May 24, 2010 6:02 PM CDT
Unfortunately, most of the comments I read on this blog that are criticizing teachers with accent can't even spell words accurately. People should not discriminate against people just because they are different. Also, stop categorizing a race into one pool. Just for the record, there are also plenty of teachers with accents that came from other countries such as the Philippines. Every once in a while, you will hear a Filipino speak with a deep accent but their pronunciation of an English word is correct. They also write better than most Americans I know. If I have to choose between someone who has an accent but use proper English or someone without an accent (if there is such a thing since everyone has an accent) that could not even spell a word correctly, then I'll take the one with an accent anytime. FYI: I am a US Citizen that immigrated from the Philippines