Cholla Elementary School, in the Casa Granda Elementary District in Arizona

An official state inspection of Arizona public schools reveals that many students are being taught English by Spanish-speaking teachers whose command of English is so poor that the officials can barely understand them.

The recent inspection revealed teachers providing instruction in Spanish instead of the legally required English, students unable to answer questions in English, and teachers’ instructions such as “Sometimes, you are not gonna know some.”

The results of the inspections were reported by the Arizona Republic, which concluded hundreds of students in the state are trying to learn English from teachers who don’t know the language.

The inspections found teachers who are unable to use English grammar and cannot pronounce English words. The “You are not gonna know” comment came from a Mesa teacher instructing a classroom filled with students trying to learn English.

From a Casa Grande Elementary District teacher came, “read me first how it was before,” and a Phoenix teacher at Creighton Elementary asked, “If you have problems, to who are you going to ask?”

State officials each year visit classrooms where children are learning English. Of the 32 school districts visited last year, there were problems at about one-third.

“Some teachers’ English was so poor that even state officials strained to understand them,” the assessment found. “At a dozen districts, evaluators found teachers who ignored state law and taught in Spanish.”

The visits, which lasted from one to three days, discovered teachers did not know grammar or pronunciation. “In one classroom, the teacher’s English was ‘labored and arduous.’ Other teachers were just difficult to understand. Some teachers pronounced ‘levels’ as ‘lebels’ and ‘much’ as ‘mush,'” the newspaper reported.

Other visits uncovered:

  • In the Humboldt Unified District, one teacher said, “How do we call it in English?”

  • In Phoenix’s Isaac Elementary, a teacher said. “My older brother always put the rules.”

  • In Marana, a teacher said, “You need to make the story very interested to the teacher.”

The report found children in Cartwright Elementary in Phoenix who still were in the beginning stages of learning English were “sitting, comprehending very little, and receiving almost no attention.”

Another school, in Maricopa Unified, provided English instruction for students, from a teacher’s aide at the back of the class.

Changes, however, apparently are on the way. The state under a new plan is requiring that schools put language learners into four hours of classes each day where the students will learn English grammar, phonetics, writing and reading. It also has a new program to help school managers train teachers in the new procedures.

Those commenting on the newspaper’s forum pretty much followed a single track:

“Send them back, problem solved,” wrote “MikeB.”

“In all fairness, send the illegals home, then there would be enough qualified teachers for the students that are legitimately here and eligible for school,” added ToddStallion.

“Excuse me, but how about taking the teachers back to 1st grade and teaching them ENGLISH first?” added “azconservative.”

“Conquest of Aztlan”: Will Mexicans retake American Southwest?

Previous stories:

No Spanish? No job, teachers told

No lawsuit over English-speaking eviction

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.