Some concerned about new ELL screening

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PHOENIX -- The state schools superintendent is changing the screening process that determines whether students get extra help with English.

Fewer students enrolled?

Some concerned about new ELL screening - The state schools superintendent is changing the screening process that determines whether students get extra help with English.

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Tom Horne says too many kids are being placed in the daily four-hour immersion course designed to help English learners. Some children are being enrolled in the course because they're behind academically, not because English is their second language.

Schools are using a series of three questions to determine whether students belong in the immersion class. Horne is telling to schools to simply one of the questions to ask "What is the primary language of the student?" If the answer is not English, the child will be placed in the ELL program.

The decision to change the screening process is stirring up come controversy. Some teachers and lawmakers claim that the changes are simply a way to save money. They say it's going to cost students who don't read, write or speak English well enough to be successful in school.

Horne denies that.

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights could investigate.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.