Advocating for English Learners: Selected Essays (Bilingual by James Crawford

By James Crawford

How one can educate English language novices has been one of the so much contentious - certainly, such a lot politicized - matters in American schooling over the last 3 many years. assembly the pedagogical wishes of those young children, the fastest-growing inhabitants in U.S. faculties, is an impressive problem in itself. Educators' venture is extra complex by means of exterior components together with the English-only circulation, anti-immigrant agitation, resistance to civil-rights legislation, assaults on bilingual schooling, mandates for high-stakes checking out and different inaccurate "reforms", uninformed media insurance, and legislators' one-size-fits-all responses to varied scholars. within the 18 essays accrued the following, James Crawford analyzes the rules and politics in the back of those conflicts, opinions the techniques and strategies hired, and indicates how you can enhance advocacy on behalf of English language freshmen.

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Of course. Should they assume that rapid English acquisition is the only thing that matters for ELLs? Of course not. Yet that’s what tended to happen. There was a more reasonable way to frame the debate over 227 that was largely ignored: Should parents, teachers, and local school boards continue to have the option of bilingual education? Or should this choice be severely restricted in favor of a one-size-fits-all, English-only approach limited to one year? I would argue that this question paints a sharper picture of the initiative, a more precise explanation of the practical consequences of a yes or no vote.

We debate the language of instruction because political realities forbid a comprehensive effort to improve schooling for poor children, whatever language they happen to speak. It’s easier and less expensive to attack a scapegoat such as bilingual education. We pay lip service to the value of foreign-language skills in today’s global economy, while devaluing and even fearing these same skills at home. Ethnic languages can be divisive, the thinking goes. Better not encourage them with government subsidies.

Had they done so, they would have discovered not only the sponsor’s personal ambitions but also a detailed neoconservative agenda, which had everything to do with repositioning the Republican Party as ‘pro-immigrant, but pro-assimilation,’ and nothing to do with improving schools. They would have been able to document how political, not pedagogical, concerns were driving Proposition 227. Instead, the news media tended to take Unz at his word and portray him as a Selfless Reformer up against the Big, Bad Bureaucracy.

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