Arizona's been a bit controversial this month. The Arizona Department of Education has gotten into the mix, instructing school districts to remove teachers whose spoken English is deemed "heavily accented or ungrammatical" from classrooms with ESL students.
Hundreds of teachers, largely hired in the 1990s when Arizona heavily recruited teachers whose first language was Spanish, now face reassignment or removal.
Coincidentally, a new study out of Israel's University of Haifa finds that understanding a second language is much easier when spoken in the accent of the listener. Examining students' comprehension of core subject material (not just second language acquisition), the study found that "English taught to Mexican students as a second language, for example, can be taught just as well by a Mexican teacher speaking English, as by a native American who's been speaking English since birth."
We wonder what kind of training will be provided to help Arizona principals judge the thickness of their teachers' accents. Maybe the same training that's being provided to Arizona cops.