English is my second language and although when I moved to the states as a child I worked to speak English perfectly (and I do) I’m reminded that my perfect English comes with an accent when I hear yet again, “You kind of sound like JLo.” I love that I have a slight accent. It’s a tie to my culture and my roots and it has never held me back in any way, at least none that I’m aware of.
That was not the case for Arizona teachers during the last 10 years. “Accent” monitors were routinely sent “to classrooms across the state to check on teachers’ articulation.” But facing federal civil rights investigations, the state put a stop to this policy.
The claim for the original policy was:
The state says its teacher reviews were in line with the decade-old federal No Child Left Behind Act, which requires that only instructors fluent in English teach students who are learning English. State education officials say that accents were never the focus of their monitoring.
“It was a repeated pattern of misuse of the language or mispronunciation of the language that we were looking for,” said Andrew LeFevre, a spokesman for the State Department of Education. “It’s critically important that teachers act as models when it comes to language.”
Read full story in the New York Times.