Politics of ELL By: Joe Lofstedt and Katie Tamola
Current Definition • ELL-The term English language learner (ELL), as used here, indicates a person who is in the process of acquiring English and has a first language other than English. Other terms commonly found in the literature include language minority students, limited English proficient (LEP), English as a second language (ESL), and culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD).
Controversy (BUM BUMBUM!) • English One language or the official language? • Proposition 63 (11/1986): California rules that English is their state’s official language! -Initiative: “to insure that the role of English as the common language of the State of California preserved and enhanced.”
Proposition 63 (Continued) • Bill Honig: “programs to teach non-English speakers” would be unaffected by P63 • U.S. English: group that spent over $700,000 to get P63 passed) • U.S. English waited for the expiration of the CA’s bilingual education statue • The old statue had strict requirements in regards to establishing bilingual classrooms, how to evaluate LEP children, etc.
The Shot Heard Around the USA! • Many acts similar to P63 followed • Between 1987 and 1995, similar proposals were put forth • Eleven states passed these proposals • Bringing the total of “official-English” states to twenty.
But People Want the Bilingual Ed Law! • Fall 1986: “Virtually every school board and educators’ organization in California endorsed AB 2813” • AB 2813: A bill to extend the bilingual education law • 1987: The governor denies reauthorization on this bill
Teresa P. v. Berkeley • Berkeley Unified School District had a Language Remediation Program • Plaintiff claimed that BUSD did not design program effectively • Teachers were not qualified to teach the material • School needed to examine programs for LEP students: Castañeda vs. Pickard 1981
‘English Plus’ Alternative • To counter the English Only movement • United Latin American Citizens and Spanish American League Against Discrimination • These two groups launched campaign • “We don’t want a monolingual society. This country was founded on a diversity of language and culture, and we want to preserve that diversity.”
‘English Plus” (cont) • This offered a positive alternative • English + other tongues • Passed in three states • New Mexico, Oregon and Washington • As well as in municipalities • Atlanta, Tucson, Cleveland and Washington D.C.
Split into two groups • Each group must draft an act for their state • One person needs to sponsor the piece of legislation • One person must be the Governor of the state • Group A • The demographics of your state by native language 20% Spanish, 15% Polish, 65% English • Group B • 5% Spanish 5% German and 90% English
Reminders for groups • For the Governor and half of the congress it is an election year • You are all re-running and want to win • You have five minutes • Discuss
Plot Twist • Your demographics have changed • Group A • The demographics of your state by native language 5% Spanish 5% German and 90% English • Group B • 20% Spanish, 15% Polish, 65% English • Are you going to change your Act? Why or why not?
EPIC • English Plus Information Clearinghouse • First national effort against English Only • One of the main objectives: fending off attacks on bilingual education • By 1988 this movement lost strength • “English minus”
The Bennett Years • 1985: US Secretary of Education William J. Bennett • We have “lost sight of the goal of [teaching] English” and instead adapted “ a way of enhancing students’ knowledge of their native language and culture” • He claimed bilingual education was “a failed path”
Bennett (cont) • Non-English speakers were not loyal Americans • Bilingual education muddies the water for English acquisition • War on all languages other than English
Break into 6 groups • Go to Wikipedia and search: Bilingual Education Act (reason for using Wikipedia accurate and easily searchable) • Group 1- 1968 Act, 2-1974, 3-1978, 4-1984, 5-1988 and 6-1994
NCLB • Renamed the English Language Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement Act • Name change signifies a philosophical shift • Failure is determined by….tests • “The policy still remains highly debated at both the state and federal level.”