Now, if it was just this crack down, I would say Arizona officials are trying to circumvent seniority (or tenure) rules in the state to fire older and more expensive teachers (there's a growing trend in the US about this issue, and I'll probably address this in a later post). However, in light of the other laws recently passed, it has a different flavor. And notice how quickly even that Fox News story linked above keys in on Spanish speakers. Not, say, the sub-continent Indian instructor with a heavy accent (the bug-a-boo of University of Akron students, although, really, I never had a problem with any of the instructors people complained about), or those from Europe or Australia. Or say the odd Chinese or Japanese teacher (did you know there is heavy recruiting of grade school teachers from the Philippines?).
And, as other commentary, here's a language log entry on it. (Grokked from Jay Lake).
No, seriously, time to call it what it is. Gee, Arizonians, if being so close to icky Hispanics are driving you crazy, frickin' move to Wyoming. You're on the border. You were once part of Mexico (yeah, I know, I'm sure the new Texas Schoolbook Standards whitewashed that whole war out of the histories). I understand that the drug violence has got you scared. But the laws you are passing, and these kind of administrative hijinks won't protect you. In fact, it'll make the matter worse.
Hell, I can do an Appalachan accent that will leave you all scratching your head wondering what language I'm speaking. There are people around me who talk that way. I can also do a NJ/PA/NY accent, which is different from my Boston/Maine accent, two types of Southern Accent, and at one time I used to be able to do Valley. Seriously, no accents? As someone who lives in the part of the country news announcers imitate to neutralize their own accents, there is no such thing.
And those Arizona Department of Education evaluators, I want to see their test scores on how they do. You say "saw" with an "r" or "Warshington"? You're out. Say, "um"? Gone. Restart sentences midway? Adios. And they want people to "speak English grammatically"? WTF? As a writer myself, nobody does that. Nobody. Seriously. Let me sit down with these people and I'll have them crying in minutes by nitpicking (and you can ask my critiquers just how badly I comma splice).
edits. from the Fox News story linked above:
"It's my jobs to make sure they're taught English in the most rigorous, possible way so they can learn English quickly, can compete with their peers, and succeed academically," Home told Fox News.
Tom Home is state superintendent of public instruction. Dear Mr. Home, that should be, "It's my job" or "My jobs are", not "It's my jobs." You're fired. Get the hell out. No, I'm serious here. This is the state superintendent who is enforcing this rule of speaking with grammatically correct English. It's call "noun verb agreement."
"As you expect science teachers to know science, math teachers to know math, you expect a teacher who is teaching the kids English to know English," said Tom Home...
No, Mr. Home. You have superfluous words and some missing ones. You're missing about two "would"s and there's confusion on "who and whom." The end of your sentence would read much smoother as, "... you would expect a teacher (delete "who is") teaching (delete "the") kids English to know English." You don't speak grammatically, Mr. Home. You deserve to be reassigned according to your own standard.
This is an impossible standard, one that is not required or justified by the laws they're citing. And it only goes to illuminate the real problem. This is racism, plain and simple.