The Great Wall of “English Only”: Teacher Perceptions of Classroom Ecology in Arizona’s Post-Proposition 203 Era

Mariella M. Espinoza-Herold


In 2000, Arizona voters enacted Proposition 203, which limited the use of children’s native language in public schools and instead, mandated an accelerated one-year English immersion model for children with limited English proficiency.  This study examines the results of a 20-question survey and follow-up interviews with 117 Arizona K-12 teachers of English Language Learners (ELLs) to determine their views on the effects of the “English–only” model on teaching and learning. The results revealed that restrictive language policies have upset the balance of classroom ecology, resulting in teacher frustration and concern. Teachers’ recommendations to improve ELL education are also discussed.


bilingual education; English language learners; language policy; Structured English immersion

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