A federal judge ruled last week that education researchers at Arizona State University and the University of Arizona can't be forced to release records that identify individual teachers they interviewed for their studies, which have become part of a court battle. But the judge ruled that the names of schools and districts studied must be released.
The scholars involved promised confidentiality both to the teachers and to the schools and districts, so while faculty members cheered the part of the ruling protecting the names of teachers, they said the other part of the ruling could hinder research involving schools.The judge's ruling concerned subpoenas that had been obtained by Tom Horne, the state superintendent of education, for documents about research conducted by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles. The UCLA center has been coordinating a major research effort on Arizona's controversial policies about education for schoolchildren learning English, and the research team includes professors at Arizona and Arizona State, such that many records exist at those universities and are subject to the subpoena.
Those researchers -- whose work has questioned the effectiveness and fairness of Arizona's policies on teaching English -- are expected to be expert witnesses in a trial about the state's approach.
Their findings are particularly critical of rules forcing those learning English to be separated from other students so they can focus solely on English four hours a day. The research has found that this approach -- which state officials say promotes learning English -- has failed to close education gaps among student groups and has effectively amounted to segregation, with a restoration of "Mexican rooms" that once served to separate Latino and Anglo students.. . .