Encyclopedia of Bilingual Education


Edited by: Josué M. González

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      Editorial Board


      Josué M. González, Arizona State University

      Managing Editor

      Silvia C. Noguerón, Arizona State University

      Assistant Managing Editor

      Pauline Stark, Arizona State University

      Editorial Board

      Gerda de Klerk, Arizona State University

      Terrence G. Wiley, Arizona State University

      Wayne E. Wright, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Nancy F. Zelasko, George Washington University

      List of Entries

      Reader's Guide

      About the Editor

      Josué M. González is Professor of Education at the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University, in the division of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. He is also the director of the Southwest Center for Education Equity and Language Diversity at ASU. Dr. González received an EdD in Educational Leadership from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst in 1974. Known internationally for his work, Professor González was an early innovator in bilingual and dual-language education. As early as 1967, he wrote curriculum materials and designed programs at all levels, from elementary to graduate school. He has written extensively in that field and has lectured widely. He has helped train future teachers and other school leaders and has held faculty appointments at Chicago State University, Southern Methodist University in Dallas, and Teachers College in New York City. He has also held adjunct appointments at Roosevelt University in Chicago and George Mason University in Virginia.

      When the U.S. Department of Education was organized by President Jimmy Carter, Dr. González was appointed the first director of the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs under the nation's first Secretary of Education, Shirley Hufstedler. He was president of the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) from 1986 to 1987 and has served on several advisory committees and commissions. From 1999 until 2006, Dr. González was coeditor of the nation's premier professional journal in the field, the Bilingual Research Journal.


      Hamsa Aburumuh, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Jorge A. Aguilar, Arizona State University

      Alfredo J. Artiles, Arizona State University

      Lani Asturias, Arizona State University

      Diane August, Center for Applied Linguistics

      Colin Baker, University of Wales, Bangor

      María V. Balderrama, California State University, San Bernardino

      Donald Jeffrey Bale, Michigan State University

      Andy Barss, University of Arizona

      Coni Battle, National Puerto Rican Forum (ret.)

      Alfredo H. Benavides, Texas Tech University

      William Black, University of South Florida

      María Estela Brisk, Boston College

      Valentina Canese, Arizona State University

      Mario J. Castro, Arizona State University

      Ellina Chernobilsky, Rutgers University

      Donna Christian, Center for Applied Linguistics

      James Cohen, Arizona State University

      Debra L. Cole, Teachers College, Columbia University

      Mary Carol Combs, University of Arizona

      Albert Cortéz, Intercultural Development Research Association

      Cathy A. Coulter, Arizona State University

      James Crawford, Institute for Language and Education Policy

      Kimberley K. Cuero, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Irene Cuyun, National Council of La Raza

      María de la Luz Reyes, University of Colorado, Boulder

      William G. Demmert, Western Washington University

      Barbara J. Dray, Buffalo State College

      Jacqueline Castillo Duvivier, National Council of La Raza

      J. David Edwards, Joint National Committee for Languages and National Council for Languages and International Studies

      Lucila D. Ek, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Kathy Escamilla, University of Colorado, Boulder

      Alberto Esquinca, University of Texas at El Paso

      Carol Evans, University of Arizona

      Christian Faltis, Arizona Sate University

      Barbara Marie Flores, California State University, San Bernardino

      Belinda Bustos Flores, University of Texas at San Antonio

      David E. Freeman, University of Texas at Brownsville

      Yvonne S. Freeman, University of Texas at Brownsville

      Eugene E. García, Arizona State University

      Ofelia García, Teachers College, Columbia University

      Heriberto Godina, University of Texas at El Paso

      Gustavo González, Texas A&M University

      Virginia Gonzalez, University of Cincinnati

      Josué M. González, Arizona State University

      Minerva Gorena, George Washington University

      Margo Gottlieb, Illinois Resource Center and WIDA Consortium

      Paul E. Green, University of California, Riverside

      Toni Griego Jones, University of Arizona

      Norma A. Guzman, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Stella K. Hadjistassou, Arizona State University

      Kenji Hakuta, Stanford University

      John J. Halcón, California State University, San Marcos

      Holly Hansen-Thomas, Binghamton University

      Timothy Hogan, Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest

      Paquita B. Holland, District of Columbia Public Schools (ret.)

      Susan Hopewell, University of Colorado, Boulder

      Nancy H. Hornberger, University of Pennsylvania

      Sarah Hudelson, Arizona State University

      Mary Esther Soto Huerta, Texas State University, San Marcos

      Li-Ching Hung, Mississippi State University

      Julian Jefferies, Boston College

      Bryant T. Jensen, Arizona State University

      Li Jia, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Margarita Jiménez-Silva, Arizona State University

      Eric Johnson, Arizona State University

      Faryl Kander, Arizona State University

      Deborah Kennedy, Center for Applied Linguistics

      Hye Jong Kim, Arizona State University

      Kathleen King, Arizona State University

      Jo Anne Kleifgen, Teachers College, Columbia University

      Janette Kettmann Klingner, University of Colorado, Boulder

      Michelle Kuamoo, National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition

      Ha Lam, Arizona State University

      Juliet Langman, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Jin Sook Lee, University of California, Santa Barbara

      Mengying Li, Arizona State University

      Na Liu, Arizona State University

      Amalia Humada Ludeke, New Mexico State University

      Jeff MacSwan, Arizona State University

      Kate Mahoney, State University of New York, Fredonia

      Nancy Sebastian Maldonado, Lehman College, City University of New York

      Paul E. Martínez, New Mexico Highlands University

      Leah M. Mason, Teachers College, Columbia University

      Julie Renee Maxwell-Jolly, University of California, Davis

      Kara T. McAlister, Arizona State University

      Teresa L. McCarty, Arizona State University

      Geri McDonough Bell, Phoenix Union High School District

      Grace P. McField, California State University, San Marcos

      Scott McGinnis, Defense Language Institute

      Kate Menken, City College of New York

      Betty M. Merchant, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Eva Midobuche, Texas Tech University

      Robert D. Milk, University of Texas at San Antonio

      María Robledo Montecel, Intercultural Development Research Association

      Sarah Catherine Moore, Arizona State University

      Jill Kerper Mora, San Diego State University

      Judith H. Munter, University of Texas at El Paso

      Janet L. Nicol University of Arizona

      Silvia C. Noguerón, Arizona State University

      Alberto M. Ochoa, San Diego State University

      Carlos J. Ovando, Arizona State University

      Chanyoung Park, Arizona State University

      Gregory Pearson, George Washington University

      Bertha Pérez, University of Texas at San Antonio

      John Petrovic, University of Alabama

      Alicia Pousada, University of Puerto Rico

      Chang Pu, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Victor R. Quiñones Guerra, Teachers College, Columbia University

      Luis Xavier Rangel-Ortiz, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Iliana Reyes, University of Arizona

      Luis O. Reyes, Lehman College, City University of New York

      Roger L. Rice, Multicultural Education Training and Advocacy, Inc.

      Ana Roca, Florida International University

      M. Victoria Rodríguez, Lehman College, City University of New York

      Mariela A. Rodríguez, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Rodolfo Rodríguez, University of North Texas

      Kellie Rolstad, Arizona State University

      Mary Eunice Romero-Little, Arizona State University

      Peter D. Roos, Multicultural Education Training and Advocacy, Inc. (ret.)

      Irma Rosas, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Stefan M. Rosenzweig, California State University, Long Beach

      Olga Gloria Rubio, California State University, Long Beach

      Richard Ruiz, University of Arizona

      Malena Salazar, University of Texas at San Antonio

      María Teresa Sánchez, Education Development Center, Inc.

      Patricia Sánchez, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Guadalupe San Miguel, Jr., University of Houston

      Marietta Saravia-Shore, Lehman College, City University of New York

      Peter Sayer, University of Texas at San Antonio

      María M. Seidner, Texas Education Agency (ret.)

      Kathryn Singh, Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey

      Cary Stacy Smith, Mississippi State University

      Howard L. Smith, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Karen Smith, Arizona State University

      Michaela Steele, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Debra Suárez, College of Notre Dame

      Koyin Sung, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Elsie M. Szecsy, Arizona State University

      Yun Teng, Arizona State University

      Josefina V. Tinajero, University of Texas at El Paso

      Roberto Tinajero II, University of Texas at El Paso

      Robert Toonkel, U.S. English, Inc.

      Rudolph C. Troike, University of Arizona

      Armando L. Trujillo, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Pei Ju Tsai, Columbia University

      G. Richard Tucker, Carnegie Mellon University

      Guadalupe Valdés, Stanford University

      Abelardo Villarreal, Intercultural Development Research Association

      Dennis Viri, Arizona State University

      Larisa Warhol, Arizona State University

      Miku Watanabe, Arizona State University

      Terrence G. Wiley, Arizona State University

      Wayne E. Wright, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Hsiaoping Wu, University of Texas at San Antonio

      Nancy F. Zelasko, George Washington University

      Jingning Zhang, Arizona State University


      An appropriate way to open an encyclopedia of bilingual education is to define the term in brief. The simplest definition is that bilingual education is the use of two languages in the teaching of curriculum content in K-12 schools. This definition is most germane to the United States, the country that is the focus of this encyclopedia. Other nations and cultures define bilingual education differently. There is an important difference to keep in mind relative to bilingual education on the one hand and the study of foreign languages as school subjects on the other. In bilingual education, two languages are used for instruction, and the goal is academic success in and through the two languages. The traditional model of foreign-language study places the emphasis on the acquisition of the languages themselves. Several entries in this encyclopedia describe emerging efforts to bring these two segments of the language-teaching world into a more unified effort.

      Design of the Project

      The task of assembling this encyclopedia of bilingual education in the United States was complex because the material does not come from a single discipline. It is embedded in several domains of knowledge: applied linguistics, politics, civil rights, various versions of historical events, and of course, classroom instruction. Procedurally, with the help of a small but enthusiastic editorial board and doctoral students, we began by developing an initial list of headwords that encompassed a cross section of relevant information from all of these fields and others. The result was a listing of over 300 discrete topics. We then organized the topics into several categories focused on the following:

      • Family, Communities, and Society
      • History
      • Instructional Designs
      • Languages and Linguistics
      • People and Organizations
      • Policy Evolution
      • Related Social Sciences
      • Teaching and Learning

      In the front matter of the encyclopedia, readers will find a List of Entries, with all topics organized alphabetically, as well as a Reader's Guide, with topics organized by category.

      A work of this type requires a huge storehouse of knowledge and experience and a common desire to package information in particular ways. An important function of the general editor is to search for and mobilize those who have the knowledge and convince them to share it in this way. Although most of the contributors are university people, they all agreed to dispense with the academic writing style they commonly use and instead employ a style intended to communicate the information to a wide readership. Having worked for more than 40 years in this field, I had personally experienced many of the trends and events on the initial list. I had also met many of the people who helped to shape the field from the beginning. More recently, I have been privileged to be part of the faculty of the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education at Arizona State University (ASU), home to an exquisite cadre of experts on literacy, English as a second language, policy, and bilingual education. I called on these friends and colleagues to pitch in, and they did so with gusto.

      After an initial schema was put on paper outlining the corpus of work by category and title, the list was circulated to colleagues around the country who made suggestions for additions, deletions, and alternative ways of parsing and organizing the topics. Most of these reviewers were pleased to critique the list and volunteered themselves or others to prepare entries. With this high level of help and support, locating contributors to write the entries was not difficult.


      The editorial board and I made a decision early on that we wanted this work to be a mix of contributions by seasoned scholars and researchers on the one hand and, on the other, promising doctoral students who might someday be listed as leading scholars themselves. We wanted the work of writing and rewriting to be another learning experience for these junior colleagues. We often paired up a senior person with one of his or her graduate students to review the entry and early drafts. Several contributors commented that the process felt somewhat like a “handing off” by senior people to those who will follow them in this work. The high quality of the results validates this intergenerational approach.

      More than 150 authors wrote for the project. I thank them all for their diligent work and for helping us bring in the project on schedule. The graduate students and their mentors alike approached the task of preparing entries with enthusiasm. Several told us of their desire to portray the often controversial topics even-handedly. Recognizing that loose rhetoric has clouded some aspects of bilingual education over the years, faculty members and editorial board members worked with entry writers to avoid the conceptual traps, assumptions, and easy generalizations that sometimes plague a complex and controversial field such as this. Drafts were reviewed with a view to shaping the entries so as to be helpful to a wide array of users.

      Purpose and Content

      As general editor, I often asked writers to picture who might use the book and under what circumstances. Imagine, I suggested, a young journalist rushing breathlessly to the reference librarian's desk and asking the best starting point to learn about some aspect of bilingual education in order to complete a story on deadline. The librarian suggests our encyclopedia for its design because, more or less uniformly, the entries give enough information, in a compact way, to allow this user to draft an outline for his assignment. The lists of Further Readings at the end of each entry allow the user to dig deeper into specific subtopics as needed. In effect, the Further Readings serve the user as a vertical expansion of the first entry they consult. The cross-references allow for an equivalent horizontal articulation by listing other entries in the book the user might find valuable. By reading two or three additional entries from among those listed in the cross-references, our young journalist would be able to draft his story. Finally, by selecting from the recommended readings, an in-depth look is possible within a short time.

      Most of the entries in this encyclopedia are straightforward informational pieces without editorial comment. Other entries would be of little interest, and hardly credible, if they did not reflect the fact that the field of bilingual education is dynamic, controversial, and subject to multiple perceptions of reality. Ignoring these aspects of the field would be a disservice to the end user. We chose to take note of these dynamics and point out where they live: in schools, research centers, legislative bodies, advocacy organizations, and families.

      Nature of the Work

      This encyclopedia was not designed to push the envelope of new knowledge. We leave that function to the academic journals and scholarly books in which research and new insights are usually reported. The function of this encyclopedia is to collect and synthesize the knowledge base that is already well accepted and that has been well researched both in the United States and abroad. A handful of entries, however, go beyond the requirements of mere information giving. A small number of distinguished specialists in the field were invited to prepare entries that combine information with expert opinion or advocacy positions. The result is a group of very special entries that round out the history and current status of bilingual education in the United States with commentary on particular contexts, situations, and developments. We believe these additions to the informational content of most entries may help the reader reflect on the matrix in which bilingual education is embedded. These items are identified with a note accompanying the entries.

      Readers are reminded that this work is a compendium of information on bilingual education and related topics in the United States. While bilingual education in this country is not completely unique, the context in which it has evolved does reflect an “American way” of thinking about languages and education and the relationship between the two. I made the judgment that greater clarity and focus on the U.S. context might be gained through an international perspective. In particular, the entries by Colin Baker, Ofelia García, Betty Merchant and Michaela Steele, and Richard Ruiz provide such international insights, while keeping a sharp focus on the U.S. context.

      Readers should also understand how topics may be presented elsewhere. The encyclopedia contains many Spanish words and proper names, some of which require diacritical markings such as the acute accent over vowels. The ñ also makes an appearance in various places. In Spanish, these are conventions of spelling and so we have followed them here. In English, however, they may not be used consistently and create problems in Internet searches. If a search for accented words on the Internet or in a digital database fails to return results, repeat the search without the accents or type n instead of ñ as needed. Our apologies, but this is the state of the art at the moment.


      There were many persons at Arizona State University and elsewhere who contributed in important ways to the content, spirit, and logic of this project. I am especially appreciative of the work of the editorial board. Terrence Wiley, Wayne Wright, and Nancy Zelasko were superb collaborators. The simple but honest explanation of their contributions is that the work would have never been done without their keen understanding of the task and its possibilities, as well as their willingness to write, edit, recruit authors, and gently berate those who took too long to complete assignments.

      Even with wonderful Internet researchers willing to help, the task of checking all facts and citations in over 300 entries is daunting. That was my responsibility. If any facts got by me with less than total accuracy, it was my omission and not that of the authors.

      In the Southwest Center for Education Equity and Language Diversity, where I work, several persons deserve special mention for their work behind the scenes. Silvia Noguerón and Gerda de Klerk shared the job of managing editors, responsible for the flow and early reading of entries. By the time the project approached completion, Silvia had become a trusted editor in English, her own second language. Pauline Stark, my administrative associate, demonstrated that she can also do a mean job of proofreading and tightening up of loose text. In her usual quiet way, Elsie Szecsy periodically asked how she could help. She would usually walk away with additional work, which she completed efficiently. Lani Asturias left before the project was complete, but during her stay served as the Internet connection, doing biographic and bibliographic fact-checking. Ha Lam went away to join her husband in Alaska, but not before writing and editing an important set of entries. My debt of gratitude to these fine coworkers is enormous.

      I was especially pleased that in a work devoted to bilingual education, speakers of many languages were involved. In the Center alone we had representation from native speakers of Afrikaans, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Tagalog. The blending of accents was a daily reminder that bilingual education exists because the United States has become a microcosm of the linguistic world. Among our faculty colleagues, languages too numerous to name were represented. Most important, it was the delight that everyone took in this polyglot place that made us smile as we worked. A special note of gratitude is owed to our interim Dean of Education, Sarah Hudelson, who not only supported the project in every way possible; she also rolled up her own sleeves to write important entries.

      Finally, I wish to acknowledge the facilitating role played by the Sage reference staff every step of the way, from our first contact with the acquisitions editor, Diane McDaniel; to developmental editors Sara Tauber and Sanford Robinson; our technology specialist, Leticia Gutiérrez; reference systems coordinator Laura Norton; the books production team, led by Kate Schroeder; and the copyediting team, Carla Freeman and Robin Gold. They are outstanding professionals, ever ready to help a beleaguered editor. For that, I humbly thank them.

      Josué M.González
    • Appendix A: Policy Landmarks in U.S. Bilingual Education

      1923—Meyer v. Nebraska decided by the U.S. Supreme Court (262 U.S. 390). The Court overturned a Nebraska state law that made it illegal for schools, private and public, to teach in any language other than English. The case involved a private school in which a teacher used a German Bible to teach reading. Meyer affirmed English as the primary language of instruction in Nebraska. It also held that elective learning, in this case learning a language, is among the rights protected, implicitly, by the Constitution.

      1927—Farrington v. Tokushiga, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court (273 U.S. 298). This U.S. Supreme Court ruling struck down excessive regulation of private nonsectarian schools by the territorial legislature of Hawai'i prior to it becoming a state. The major issue in the case was the degree of parental control of the curricula in private schools. The court overturned the level of regulation over private, nonsectarian schools, finding it to be excessive, including the requirement that the curricula must be in English. In striking down the law and regulations, the Court found that a high degree of regulation was an unreasonable intrusion and that parents can legally exercise greater control over their children's education through curriculum choices.

      1958National Defense Education Act (NDEA) enacted. As a reaction to the launching of the Soviet Union's satellite, Sputnik, the U.S. government made substantial funding available to promote the teaching of modern languages. The driving motivation was to overtake the Soviet Union in space exploration. The presumed reason for the launching of a Soviet satellite ahead of the United States was better education in Soviet schools that included greater emphasis on the study of mathematics, science, and modern languages.

      1960Cuban refugees begin arriving in Florida after Fidel Castro's takeover. The arrival of refugees in Florida helped establish bilingual education programs at Coral Way and Coral Gables elementary schools. Their objective was to preserve the Spanish language in anticipation of their eventual return to Cuba. The Ford Foundation and the U.S. government provided funding to support these language preservation efforts.

      1964Congress enacts the Civil Rights Act (CRA). This law was meant to protect the rights of racial and ethnic minorities. Title VI of the act became a powerful tool for fighting discrimination cases because it eliminated the necessity to prove intent to discriminate, as required by the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause. Although CRA was subsequently eroded by an increasingly conservative Court, it was vitally important in the last quarter of the 20th century, in civil rights litigation.

      1965Congress passes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). This was the first piece of legislation providing major funding for K-12 schools. Title I, aimed at better serving the nation's poor, was the largest of the various parts of the act. It was meant to leverage improvements in the education of minorities and the poor. There were no earmarks or set-asides for bilingual education in the original ESEA, but the act sparked interest in creating a possible federal role to assist children and youth who were not fluent in English.

      1966The National Education Association (NEA) sponsors a national conference in Tucson, Arizona. This conference focused on the needs of the Spanish-surnamed population of the country. The primary theme of the conference was bilingual education and other programs aimed at resolving the “language barrier” faced by non-English-speaking students. NEA's involvement helped raise the visibility of this issue in professional educator circles.

      1968Congress enacts Title VII of the ESEA, the Bilingual Education Act. This addition to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 had several goals for the development and implementation of bilingual education in U.S. schools. Funding from this source included research, teacher training programs, technical assistance centers, and fellowships for graduate students. In its heyday, Title VII, ESEA, was the largest funding source for bilingual education. With the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), Title VII was not reauthorized and discretionary funding for bilingual education by the federal government ended almost entirely. NCLB focused on English language instruction without a home language component.

      1972Massachusetts becomes the first state to enact legislation to support transitional bilingual education in K-12 for English language learners. The Massachusetts legislation inaugurated the use of the term transitional to signal the use of the home language for limited purposes. The term gained wide currency as other states adopted the Massachusetts legislative model to their own needs.

      1974U.S. Supreme Court rules on Lau v. Nichols (414 U.S. 563). This case was brought by Chinese families against the San Francisco schools. Plaintiffs alleged that San Francisco Unified School District violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by failing to teach English effectively to these children and subsequently requiring that the children pass a high-stakes graduation test in that language. The High Court overturned a lower-court decision favoring the school district and ruled that schools must take “affirmative steps to open their instructional program” to all students. Lau v. Nichols did not mandate bilingual education but acknowledged that a bilingual approach is one of the options available for complying with Title VI.

      1974Enactment of the Equal Educational Opportunity Act (EEOA). This legislation codified the findings of Lau v. Nichols into federal law. Since the weight of Lau v. Nichols and the authority of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act were diminished by subsequent cases decided by the Supreme Court, the EEOA, which prohibits states from denying equal educational opportunity to all students, has become an important tool for suits against school districts in cases similar to Lau.

      1981—Castañeda v. Pickard decided by U.S. Court of Appeals (648 F.2d 989 5th Cir). A South Texas school district was ordered to adopt an instructional program that satisfied the requirements of Lau v. Nichols and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The process ordered by the court, now widely known as “the Castañeda three-part test,” was subsequently adopted by the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education as a template to judge the adequacy of compliance efforts throughout the country. It constitutes current Lau enforcement policy.

      1981Education Consolidation and Improvement Act (Part of Public Law 97–35) enacted to create block grants in education. The act consolidated 42 funding programs, most of them discretionary grant programs, into 7 block grants that would allow funds to flow directly to state education agencies or to school districts on the basis of formulas. This obviated the need for competitive program proposals to access federal funds. Title VII of the ESEA was among the 7 programs that were not consolidated at this time.

      1982—Plyler v. Doe decided by U.S. Supreme Court (457 U.S. 202). The Supreme Court held that public schools are prohibited from denying immigrant children access to public education. According to Plyler, undocumented children have the same right to a free public education as the children of citizens and permanent residents. The decision also requires that undocumented students obey mandatory attendance laws of the states and remain in school until they reach the age mandated by such laws.

      1991Native American Language Preservation Act passed. Through this legislation, the federal government provides funding to assist Native American peoples to teach and learn their ancestral languages. Previous government actions, such as the creation of Indian boarding schools, contributed to the erosion of native languages among Native American children and youth.

      2002—No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act enacted by Congress. The act replaced the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the Education Consolidation and Improvement Act of 1981. The legislation seeks to increase accountability by schools and school districts by imposing a stringent testing program before students may graduate from high school. It threatens penalties for schools in which students fail to make “adequate yearly progress.” Critics charge that taken together, these provisions place the burden of accountability on students rather than on failed policies and practices. NCLB ended the practice of discretionary funding to school districts for bilingual education. It allots the bulk of K-12 federal funds to state departments of education to use at their discretion.

      1998/2002Antibilingual education voter initiatives approved in three states. Under the slogan of “English for the Children,” Arizona, California, and Massachusetts approved initiatives severely curtailing bilingual education in the public schools of those states. A similar measure failed at the polls in Colorado. Yet another failed to be included on the ballot in New York. (Note: Most states do not have provisions in their constitutions that permit voter initiatives and referenda.)

      2006Report of the National Literacy Panel on Language Minority Children and Youth. This study, financed by the U.S. Department of Education, assessed the value, impact, and effectiveness of various components and approaches to the education of English language learners. The National Literacy Panel was made up of leading authorities in the field appointed by the Education Sciences Institute, an arm of the U.S. Department of Education. The study reported favorably on the use of bilingual instructional methods. Inexplicably, the U.S. Department of Education refused to issue the panel's report. After a 2-year delay, the panel's report was published by the contractor through a commercial publisher.

      2006—National Security Language Initiative announced by President George W. Bush. This initiative was designed to promote the teaching of languages needed for national security by civilian agencies and the military. Only small levels of funding under this initiative were directed toward public schools. Most of the funds were used to support programs in the military and in national security agencies.

      Appendix B: Title VII, Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1968

      Title VII—Bilingual Education Programs
      Findings of Congress

      Sec. 701. The Congress hereby finds that one of the most acute educational problems in the United States is that which involves millions of children of limited English-speaking ability because they come from environments where the dominant language is other than English; that additional efforts should be made to supplement present attempts to find adequate and constructive solutions to this unique and perplexing educational situation; and that the urgent need is for comprehensive and cooperative action now on the local, State, and Federal levels to develop forward-looking approaches to meet the serious learning difficulties faced by this substantial segment of the Nation's school-age population.

      Amendment to Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965

      Sec. 702. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 is amended by redesignating title VII as title VIII, by redesignating Sections 701 through 707 and references thereto as Sections 801 through 807, respectively, and by inserting after title VI the following new title:

      “Title VII—Bilingual Education Programs
      “Short Title

      “Sec. 701. This title may be cited as the ‘Bilingual Education Act’.

      “Declaration of Policy

      “Sec. 702. In recognition of the special educational needs of the large numbers of children of limited English-speaking ability in the United States, Congress hereby declares it to be the policy of the United States to provide financial assistance to local educational agencies to develop and carry out new and imaginative elementary and secondary school programs designed to meet these special educational needs. For the purposes of this title, ‘children of limited English-speaking ability’ means children who come from environments where the dominant language is other than English.

      “Authorization and Distribution of Funds

      “Sec. 703. (a) For the purposes of making grants under this title, there is authorized to be appropriated the sum of $15,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1968, $30,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1969, and $40,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1970.

      “(b) In determining distribution of funds under this title, the Commissioner shall give highest priority to States and areas within States having the greatest need for programs pursuant to this title. Such priorities shall take into consideration the number of children of limited English-speaking ability between the ages of three and eighteen in each State.

      “Uses of Federal Funds

      “Sec. 704. Grants under this title may be used, in accordance with applications approved under section 705, for—

      • planning for and taking other steps leading to the development of programs designed to meet the special educational needs of children of limited English-speaking ability in schools having a high concentration of such children from families (A) with incomes below $3,000 per year, or (B) receiving payments under a program of aid to families with dependent children under a State plan approved under title IV of the Social Security Act, including research projects, pilot projects designed to test the effectiveness of plans so developed, and the development and dissemination of special instructional materials for use in bilingual education programs; and
      • providing preservice training designed to prepare persons to participate in bilingual education programs as teachers, teacher-aides, or other ancillary education personnel such as counselors, and in-service training and development programs designed to enable such persons to continue to improve their qualifications while participating in such programs; and
      • the establishment, maintenance, and operation of programs, including acquisition of necessary teaching materials and equipment, designed to meet the special educational needs of children of limited English-speaking ability in schools having a high concentration of such children from families (A) with incomes below $3,000 per year, or (B) receiving payments under a program of aid to families with dependent children under a State plan approved under title IV of the Social Security Act, through activities such as
        • bilingual education programs;
        • programs designed to impart to students a knowledge of the history and culture associated with their languages;
        • efforts to establish closer cooperation between the school and the home;
        • early childhood educational programs related to the purposes of this title and designed to improve the potential for profitable learning activities by children;
        • adult education programs related to the purposes of this title, particularly for parents of children participating in bilingual programs;
        • programs designed for dropouts or potential dropouts having need of bilingual programs;
        • programs conducted by accredited trade, vocational, or technical schools; and
        • other activities which meet the purposes of this title.
      “Applications for Grants and Conditions for Approval

      “Sec. 705. (a) A grant under this title may be made to a local educational agency or agencies, or to an institution of higher education applying jointly with a local educational agency, upon application to the Commissioner at such time or times, in such manner and containing or accompanied by such information as the Commissioner deems necessary. Such application shall—

      • provide that the activities and services for which assistance under this title is sought will be administered by or under the supervision of the applicant;
      • set forth a program for carrying out the purpose set forth in section 704 and provide for such methods of administration as are necessary for the proper and efficient operation of the program;
      • set forth a program of such size, scope, and design as will make a substantial step toward achieving the purpose of this title;
      • set forth policies and procedures which assure that Federal funds made available under this title for any fiscal year will be so used as to supplement and, to the extent practicable, increase the level of funds (including funds made available under title I of this Act) that would, in the absence of such Federal funds, be made available by the applicant for the purposes described in section 704, and in no case supplant such funds;
      • provide for such fiscal control and fund accounting procedures as may be necessary to assure proper disbursement of and accounting for Federal funds paid to the applicant under this title;
      • provide for making an annual report and such other reports, in such form and containing such information, as the Commissioner may reasonably require to carry out his functions under this title and to determine the extent to which funds provided under this title have been effective in improving the educational opportunities of persons in the area served, and for keeping such records and for affording such access thereto as the Commissioner may find necessary to assure the correctness and verification of such reports;
      • provide assurance that provision has been made for the participation in the project of those children of limited English-speaking ability who are not enrolled on a full-time basis; and
      • provide that the applicant will utilize in programs assisted pursuant to this title the assistance of persons with expertise in the educational problems of children of limited English-speaking ability and make optimum use in such programs of the cultural and educational resources of the area to be served; and for the purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘cultural and educational resources’ includes State educational agencies, institutions of higher education, nonprofit private schools, public and nonprofit private agencies such as libraries, museums, musical and artistic organizations, educational radio and television, and other cultural and educational resources.

      “(b) Applications for grants under title may be approved by the Commissioner only if—

      • the application meets the requirements set forth in subsection (a);
      • the program set forth in the application is consistent with criteria established by the Commissioner (where feasible, in cooperation with the State educational agency) for the purpose of achieving an equitable distribution of assistance under this title within each State, which criteria shall be developed by him on the basis of a consideration of (A) the geographic distribution of children of limited English-speaking ability, (B) the relative need of persons in different geographic areas within the State for the kinds of services and activities described in paragraph (c) of section 704, and (C) the relative ability of particular local educational agencies within the State to provide those services and activities;
      • the Commissioner determines (A) that the program will utilize the best available talents and resources and will substantially increase the educational opportunities for children of limited English-speaking ability in the area to be served by the applicant, and (B) that, to the extent consistent with the number of children enrolled in nonprofit private schools in the area to be served whose educational needs are of the type which this program is intended to meet, provision has been made for participation of such children; and
      • the State educational agency has been notified of the application and been given the opportunity to offer recommendations.

      “(c) Amendments of applications shall, except as the Commissioner may otherwise provide by or pursuant to regulations, be subject to approval in the same manner as original applications.


      “Sec. 706. (a) The Commissioner shall pay to each applicant which has an application approved under this title an amount equal to the total sums expended by the applicant under the application for the purposes set forth therein.

      “(b) Payments under this title may be made in installments and in advance or by way of reimbursement, with necessary adjustments on account of overpayments or underpayments.

      “Advisory Committee

      “Sec. 707. (a) The Commissioner shall establish in the Office of Education an Advisory Committee on the Education of Bilingual Children, consisting of nine members appointed, without regard to the civil service laws, by the Commissioner with the approval of the Secretary. The Commissioner shall appoint one such member as Chairman. At least four of the members of the Advisory Committee shall be educators experienced in dealing with the educational problems of children whose native tongue is a language other than English.

      “(b) The Advisory Committee shall advise the Commissioner in the preparation of general regulations and with respect to policy matters arising in the administration of this title, including the development of criteria for approval of applications thereunder. The Commissioner may appoint such special advisory and technical experts and consultants as may be useful and necessary in carrying out the functions of the Advisory Committee.

      “(c) Members of the Advisory Committee shall, while serving on the business of the Advisory Committee, be entitled to receive compensation at rates fixed by the Secretary, but not exceeding $100 per day, including travel time; and while so serving away from their homes or regular places of business, they may be allowed travel expenses, including per diem in lieu of subsistence, as authorized by section 5703 of title 5 of the United States Code for persons in the Government service employed intermittently.

      “Labor Standards

      “Sec. 708. All laborers and mechanics employed by contractors or subcontractors on all minor remodeling projects assisted under this title shall be paid wages at rates not less than those prevailing on similar minor remodeling in the locality as determined by the Secretary of Labor in accordance with the Davis-Bacon Act, as amended (40 U.S.C. 276a-276a-5). The Secretary of Labor shall have, with respect to the labor standards specified in this section, the authority and functions set forth in Reorganization Plan Numbered 14 of 1950 and section 2 of the Act of June 13, 1934, as amended (40 U.S.C. 276c).”

      Conforming Amendments

      Sec. 703. (a) That part of section 801 (as so redes-ignated by section 702 of this Act) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 which precedes clause (a)7 is amended by striking out “and VI” and inserting in lieu thereof “VI, and VII”.

      (b) Clause (j) of such section 801 as amended by this Act8 is further amended by striking out “and VI” and inserting in lieu thereof “VI, and VII”.

      Amendments to Title V of the Higher Education Act of 1965

      Sec. 704. (a) The third sentence of section 521 of the Education Professions Development Act (title V of the Higher Education Act of 1965)9 is amended (1) effective for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1968 only, by inserting after “a career of teaching in elementary or secondary schools” a new phrase as follows: “a career of teaching children of limited English-speaking ability”, and (2) effective with respect to subsequent fiscal years, by inserting “and including teaching children of limited English-speaking ability” after “including teaching in preschool and adult and vocational education programs”.

      (b) Effective for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1968, only, section 522(a) of such Act10is amended by striking out “ten thousand fellowships for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1968” and inserting in lieu thereof “eleven thousand fellowships for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1968”.

      (c) (1) Section 628 of such Act11 is amended, effective with respect to fiscal years ending after June 30, 1967, by striking out “$275,000,000” and inserting in lieu thereof “$285,000,000” striking out “$195,000,000” and inserting in lieu thereof “$205,000,000” striking out “$240,000,000” and inserting in lieu thereof “$250,000,000” and striking out “July 1, 1968” and inserting in lieu thereof “July 1, 1970”.

      (2) The amendments made by this subsection shall, notwithstanding section 9(a) of Public Law 90–35, be effective with regard to fiscal years beginning after June 30, 1967.

      (d) Section 531(b) of such Act12 is amended by redesignating clauses (8) and (9) thereof as clauses (9) and (10), respectively, and by inserting immediately after clause (7) the following new clause:

      “(8) programs or projects to train or retrain persons engaging in special educational programs for children of limited English-speaking ability”.

      Amendments to Title XI of the National Defense Education Act of 1958

      Sec. 705. (a) Section 1101 of the National Defense Education Act of 1958 is amended by striking out “and for each of the two succeeding fiscal years” and inserting in lieu thereof “and for the succeeding fiscal year and $51,000,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30,1968”.

      (b) Such section is further amended by striking out the period at the end of clause (3) and inserting in lieu thereof a comma and the word “or”, and by inserting after such clause a new clause as follows.

      “(4) who are engaged in or preparing to engage in special educational programs for children of limited English-speaking ability.”

      Amendments to Cooperative Research Act

      Sec. 706. Subsections (a) and (b) of section 2 of the Cooperative Research Act 14 are each amended by inserting “and title VII” after “section 503(a) (4)”.

      Approved January 2, 1968.

      720 U.S.C.A. § 881.

      820 U.S.C.A. § 881(1)

      920 U.S.C.A. § 1111.

      1020 U.S.C.A. § 1112(a).

      1120 U.S.C.A. § 1118.

      1220 U.S.C.A. § 1119.

      Appendix D: The Challenge of a Multicultural America (Speech by Senator Joseph M. Montoya)

      Editor's Note: The following is the text of the speech delivered by Senator Joseph M. Montoya (D-NM) at the conference “A Re-look at Tucson '66.” (November, 1973. Albuquerque, New Mexico.)

      1966: Commitment

      The National Education Association Symposium of 1966 was a challenge to those of us who lived in the Southwest, where the need was greatest for a change in the way we taught Mexican American children. It was in Tucson that we first determined to build what we called “bridges of understanding” for the people in this country so that America would become the truly united nation it should be: a nation, which valued its own variety and could speak and understand its own languages.

      We left that meeting determined to generate interest in new kinds of schools wherever language-minority children needed them. We wanted to generate new ideas in colleges and universities where teachers were preparing for the future. We wanted to generate concern in governments at every level.

      Senator Yarborough and I returned to Washington with your words reinforcing our own awareness of the needs in our states and in the nation. The first Bilingual Education Act was the result.1 That was seven years ago—a time when new and progressive ideas about education were welcome in Washington, and when many of us thought it was enough to spotlight a need, develop a program to meet that need, provide federal help to get things going—and then settle back to wait for good results.

      1973: Reappraisal

      That was naive, of course. Things didn't work out quite the way we planned. We have helped some children, produced some teachers, funded some programs. But somehow, in these last seven years we have failed to do the job we pledged to do.

      We have not been able to help the millions of students who entered our schools in those years since 1966—children who were poor and spoke a language other than English. We called them “bilingual” children. But they were not bilingual. They were monolingual—but in the wrong language. Wrong for most Americans, that is. We encouraged that “wrong” definition by calling them children of “limited English speaking ability.” We offered them, at best, remedial education as a temporary measure—and we found that “remedial” education was expensive, difficult, and unpopular.

      These children brought to their schools the language and culture of their homes, and in kindergarten or the first grade they were asked to forget all that they had learned in their first six years, to sacrifice their heritage, their individual worth, their unique talents, their pride in their communities and homes—all so they could be taught to think and read and write in English and lose that definition of being limited.

      At six or seven years of age they were asked to perform a kind of mental miracle—and when that miracle didn't happen those around them, too, often pretended it was the children's failure, instead of ours. Of course it was our failure, because we did not understand the values of the languages and cultures we were asking those children to leave behind. Most of the programs we offered did not have the goal of real bilingualism, but simply offered a change in the brand of monolingualism the children used. We tried to turn a child with “limited English-speaking” ability into a child with “limited Spanish-speaking” ability or “limited Indian-language” ability.

      In all the years between that first meeting in Tucson and this one in Albuquerque, we have only managed to provide programs for a few hundred thousand children—a tiny 2 percent of those who needed our help. And most of the programs we offered were transitional programs designed to change one limiting handicap for another.

      Even now, seven years later and six years after the legislation which was supposed to solve the problem, the federal government is helping only 217 programs in the whole United States. Some states have joined in the effort to help, and some local schools have begun to think about the problem—but very few places have faced the depth of the need or the realities of the problem.

      For most children who spoke a language other than English in 1966, the reality of the last seven years has been not bilingual or bicultural education, but instead the gradual loss of learning potential; the frustration and indignity of falling further and further behind other children every year; the anger at a system which refused to teach them in a language they understood, and demanded instead conformity in a language they could not comprehend.

      Those children who entered school in 1966, when we first pledged to provide a better kind of education for them, should be in the eighth grade today. For those who did not speak English we know statistically what has happened. Ten percent of them have dropped out of school already. Of those who are still in school, 64 percent are reading below grade level and 10 percent are at least two years behind, in the fourth or fifth grades. And by the time they should be in the twelfth grade—just four years from now—40 percent of these students will have dropped out of school. Only 5 percent of them will ever complete college.

      What those statistics mean to the dropouts is painfully clear. They will always face the handicaps of higher unemployment, less income, less opportunity. All the fringe benefits of poverty will be theirs: more illness, harder and less rewarding work, and earlier death.

      The truth is that we failed those children who entered school in 1966—and we may be going to fail their children, too.

      What went wrong?

      We did pass the legislation. But we failed to make it live up to its promise. Other priorities were greater in Washington, and in 1968 we elected a president who did not share our belief in this new kind of education. By 1970 we heard the rumblings of discontent from the White House about money we were “wasting”—and finally this year we heard the requests that no money at all be budgeted for bilingual education.

      In addition to our failures in government, educators themselves were discovering that the problem was more complex than we thought. Even if the money and support had been available, you educators were not really ready. You did not have the teachers trained, the textbooks written, the testing materials and teaching techniques developed.

      Lessons of Experience

      But all of us know more today than we did in 1966. We know that:

      • We need not only bilingual but also bicultural programs and one without the other is meaningless.
      • Not just Spanish children or Indian children, children who speak any language other than English, will benefit from bilingual and bicultural education, all children would benefit from that kind of opportunity in our schools.
      • In the few places where bilingual education has been tried, the results have been a sharp increase in achievement, not only for the child who speaks a language other than English, but for the English speaking child who shares the program.
      • Literacy in two languages is better than literacy in one and if children are allowed to read and write first in the language they know best they can soon learn to read and write in a second language at a faster pace. They can become literate in the language they bring to school and in the language they find in school instead of becoming illiterate and nonfunctioning in both.
      • The teachers for successful bilingual programs are not just people who speak Spanish or French or Chinese or Indian—but are people who are bilateral (sic) and have been trained to teach in two languages, not one.
      • We have very few universities or colleges which are prepared to train that special kind of teacher—that is why we do not have enough teachers even for the few programs in existence. (A recent survey shows that only about one-fourth of the teachers listed as being “bilingual” actually are trained to teach bilingually.)
      • It will take us many years to produce the teachers in the numbers needed, or the books and histories, the testing materials, the counseling and administration for these new programs. We are not ready yet—and we know that.
      • Bilingualism means more than j ust getting through the transition period from kindergarten to third grade—and then being transformed overnight into a “normal” student who works only in English. It means instead learning in two languages steadily right on through high school and college—so that in the end the language you bring to school and the language you find in school are tools you can use all your life.

      Most challenging of all, we know that there are still many American citizens who don't share our concern and don't understand the valuable resources that our multicultural population represents. In the crisis world of 1973, with inflation and shortages and world environmental problems pressing from every side, it is going to be even more difficult to make bilingual education a first priority. What can we do?

      Legislative Proposals: Promises and Constraints

      The Title VII Amendments now being considered by the Senate Education Committee will provide more money, more teacher training, a greater emphasis on biculturalism and on expansion into adult and vocational education, better supervision and administration, research into innovative techniques, and cooperation with state and local governments and with families and communities.

      The most important change in this legislation is that it presents the bilingual child as “advantaged and not disadvantaged” and it offers opportunities to the monolingual English-speaking child as well as to the child who is monolingual in another language.

      However, the money that we can honestly promise to appropriate will not be enough to do the job—not nearly enough. Before we can provide that kind of money from government at any level we are going to have to convince other Americans that bilingual education is not remedial or a program to help handicapped children.

      Bilingualism—Resource Education

      We are going to have to make all Americans understand that bilingual education is resource education—that it will provide better education for children who come to school speaking only English.

      We must somehow make sure that our neighbors and friends who are handicapped by not being able to speak any language except English understand the great gift which children who speak another language bring to the schools—a “gift” they can share with all children if they are talked to in that language.

      We must find a way that every child is allowed to learn about the many kinds of people who have written the history of America, and about the treasure of many cultures that are now ignored.

      People from many nations came here to find freedom—and brought with them the stored knowledge of their many homelands. Today, as a result of that rich heritage, we should be the focal point of understanding and progress.

      Knowing that, and understanding the thousands of ways in which America would be better today if we had taught our children about the riches of history and language and culture which were present in the Native Americans who were here first and in every group that came later, we can see now how foolish it was to try to melt people down into something homogeneous so that all Americans would be limited and identical.

      Multicultural Understandings: A Future Imperative

      The challenge we must take from this meeting is not only the challenge of increasing and improving bilingual education for minorities. We must also accept the challenge to provide for our country the multicultural knowledge which the twenty-first century will demand.

      We must see that every citizen in the United States understands that when children are asked to forget their own identity and their own traditions they do not miraculously turn into something better—instead, they shrink inside, and when that happens our whole nation shrinks too. As these small citizens are diminished, so the opportunities and knowledge and future of this nation are diminished too. The dollar loss is monstrous. For every child who only graduates from the eighth grade when he could have graduated from high school, the lifetime income loss is more than $100,000. Multiply that by the millions who drop out of the schools that fail to provide the education they need, and the gross productivity loss to the nation is staggering.

      But even more important to average Americans must be the loss of education their children could have had, but missed—the chance to learn two languages instead of one, the chance to expand into many cultures, instead of one, the opportunity to be ready for the many-cultured world of the twenty-first century instead of being forever handicapped by being both monolingual and monocultural.

      When we talk about bilingual education in the last 10 years, we have to say that in many ways we have failed. But in trying to solve the problem, we have learned; and we know enough now to be able to enlarge our own horizons and the horizons of every American.

      If we can leave this meeting in Albuquerque understanding that opportunity, we can more easily open the doors to rapid expansion of bilingual and bicultural education. But we will have done more—we will have started on the road to a multicultural America, a place of leadership in the multicultural world in which we must all learn to live harmoniously if we are to survive.

      1 Bilingual Education Reform Act of 1973—Companion Bills S. 2552 and 2553. introduced by Senators Montoya, Kennedy, and Cranston.

      Appendix E: Official English Legislation, Opposed

      Editor's Note: This statement summarizes arguments against making English the official language of the United States through Congressional action and/or by an amendment to the Constitution of the United States. It was originally prepared as testimony by Mr. James Crawford to a committee of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006 and titled “Official English Legislation: Bad for Civil Rights, Bad for America's Interests, and Even Bad for English.” It is reprinted here with permission of the copyright holder. The opposing view is presented in the entry “Official English Legislation, Favored.”

      Testimony Before the House Subcommittee on Education Reform by James Crawford, Director, Institute for Language and Education Policy

      July 26, 2006

      Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee:

      My name is James Crawford. I am director of the Institute for Language and Education Policy, a newly formed nonprofit organization dedicated to research-based advocacy for English-language and heritage-language learners. We represent professionals in the field of language education who are working to promote academic excellence and equity for these students.

      I want to thank Chairman Castle and Representative Woolsey for the opportunity to present testimony regarding proposals to designate English as the official language.

      We at the Institute believe that such legislation is ill-advised: harmful to individuals, to the nation, and to the goal of language learning. We are concerned that the U.S. Senate recently passed a “national language” amendment without holding a single hearing to consider its potential impact and with only limited debate. So we commend the Subcommittee on Education Reform for convening today's hearing in the House. In our view, “official English” is:

      • Unnecessary—The overwhelming dominance of English in the United States is not threatened in any way. Newcomers to this country are learning it more rapidly than ever before. Our language does not need “legal protection.”
      • Punitive—Restricting government's ability to communicate in other languages would threaten the rights and welfare of millions of people, including many U.S. citizens, who are not fully proficient in English.
      • Pointless—Official-English legislation offers no practical assistance to anyone trying to learn English. In fact, it is likely to frustrate that goal by outlawing programs designed to bring immigrants into the mainstream of our society.
      • Divisive—The campaign to declare English the official language often serves as a proxy for hostility toward minority groups, Latinos and Asians in particular. It is exacerbating ethnic tensions in a growing number of communities.
      • Inconsistent with American values—Official-English laws have been declared unconstitutional in state and federal courts, because they violate guarantees of freedom of speech and equal protection of the laws.
      • Self-defeating—English Only policies are foolish in an era of globalization, when multilingual skills are essential to economic prosperity and national security. Language resources should be conserved and developed, not suppressed.
      Language and Liberty

      Our nation has gotten by for more than 200 years without adopting an official language. So the obvious question arises: Why do we need one now?

      Proponents of official English have responded with platitudes (“A common language is what unites us as Americans”) or truisms (“In this country it's essential to know English”) or anxieties (“Spanish is spreading at unhealthy rates”) or unsupported claims. (“Bilingual programs discourage people from learning English”.) These are not compelling arguments. They also reflect an ignorance of history.

      Language has been far less central to American identity than to, say, French or Greek or Russian identity. From its infancy the United States was conceived as a nation that newcomers could join, whatever their ethnic background,1 simply by swearing loyalty to the democratic principles on which it was founded. To be sure, there have been ugly episodes of language-based discrimination, such as the English Only school policies that once targeted Native Americans and Mexican Americans. Unlike many other countries, however, we have seldom passed laws to repress or restrict minority tongues. Language has usually been taken for granted here—as a practical rather than a symbolic issue—despite the diversity that has historically prevailed.

      Today there are more non-English languages spoken in America than ever before, owing to the ease of travel, which has brought immigrants from all over the world. But the proportion of minority language speakers was certainly as large, if not larger, in 1776, 1865, and 1910. Where immigrant groups were numerous and enjoyed political clout, they were often accommodated in their own vernaculars. Until the early 20th century, state and local governments provided documents and services in languages such as German, French, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian, Welsh, and Czech. Bilingual education was more widespread in German and English in 1900 than it is today in all languages.2

      Despite or—more likely—because of these tolerant policies, immigrant groups gradually adopted English and stopped speaking their ancestral tongues. Sociologist Nathan Glazer has noted the irony: “Languages shriveled in the air of freedom while they had apparently flourished under adversity in Europe.” Except in a few periods of nativist hysteria, such as the World War I era, laissez-faire policies made language conflicts relatively rare in the United States.

      Is there any reason to abandon our tradition of tolerance now? Certainly there is no threat to English in America, no challenge to its status as the language of educational advancement, economic success, and political discourse. According to the 2000 census, 92% of U.S. residents speak English fluently; 96% speak it “well” or “very well” and only 1.3% speak no English at all.

      Language Spoken at Home and English-Speaking Ability, 2000
      All speakers, age 5+262,375,152100.0%
      English only215,423,55782.1%
      Other language46,951,59517.9%
      Speaks English “very well”25,631,1889.8%
         “not well”7,620,7192.9%
         “not at all”3,366,1321.3%
      Source: 2000 Census of Population.

      Demographic research also shows that, while the number of minority language speakers is increasing, largely because of immigration, the rate of Anglicization is also on the rise. Immigrants at the turn of the 21st century are learning English—and losing other languages—more rapidly than those at the turn of the 20th.

      Official English is truly a “solution in search of a problem.”

      All Stick and No Carrot

      While official-English proposals vary, those now pending before Congress take a radical, restrictionist approach. They would not merely celebrate “our common language.” In addition, they would prohibit most uses of other languages by the federal government—whether to communicate information, provide services, or enable limited-English speakers to exercise rights they would otherwise enjoy.

      The assumption is that English Only policies would create an incentive to learn English by making life as difficult as possible for those who have yet to do so. Yet where is the evidence that the current patchwork of basic services in other languages provides a disincentive to English acquisition? How many immigrants say to themselves, for example, “If I can read pamphlets about Social Security in Spanish or visit a bilingual health clinic or rely on a court interpreter if I'm charged with a crime, why should I worry about learning English?” Don't limited-English speakers face language barriers in countless other situations on a daily basis? It would be irresponsible for Congress to legislate without empirical data in this area, considering that millions of people could be adversely affected.

      English-as-a-second-language instruction, by contrast, has proven quite effective in helping adult immigrants learn the language. Yet, to date, no official-English bill has included any provisions to address the chronic shortage of such classes in most parts of the country. Coercion, not empowerment, is the operative principle here.

      A major target of official-English bills, including the Senate's national-language amendment, is Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency.” The order, issued by President Clinton in 2000 and reaffirmed by President Bush in 2001, is grounded in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of national origin in federally supported activities. It requires federal agencies and, equally important, programs that receive federal funding to “provide meaningful access” for those whose English is limited. These long-overdue efforts have just barely begun. Yet Official-English legislation would halt them in their tracks by overriding EO 13166, prohibiting assistance for limited-English-proficient persons in numerous areas. The national-language amendment in particular would instruct federal courts to disregard language as a factor in national-origin discrimination.3

      Federally funded programs include school districts, which currently have an obligation to communicate with parents, “to the extent practicable,” in a language they can understand. This right of access is mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act and by Title VI regulations enforced by the U.S. Office for Civil Rights. Official-English legislation would eliminate the requirement, making it difficult for the parents of English-language learners to assist in these students' education or to advocate for their children with school officials. This is just one of numerous ways in which English Only policies would be harmful not only to individuals but also to national priorities such as school reform.

      Sponsors of official-English measures have typically responded to such criticisms by carving out exceptions. Some bills would allow government to use other languages for purposes of national security, trade and tourism promotion, public health and safety, census activities, and so forth. The proposed loopholes are narrow, however, and would no doubt keep government lawyers busy trying to interpret their meaning. Could the Department of Veterans Affairs continue to publish pamphlets in Spanish to explain disability benefits for U.S. soldiers wounded in Iraq? Probably not. Could the Department of Labor keep funding state efforts to inform workers about wage-and-hour regulations in Chinese? Doubtful. Would the White House have to shut down the Spanish-language section of its web site? ¿Quién sabe?

      The constitutionality of such restrictions is questionable at best. The most draconian official-English laws at the state level, in Alaska and Arizona, were struck down under the First and Fourteenth amendments. State and federal courts ruled that, while advancing no compelling public interest, these measures violated free-speech and equal-protection guarantees.4

      Without exception, the bilingual assistance programs now provided by government are designed to safeguard the rights and serve the needs of limited-English speakers so as to help them acculturate. Those who are thereby brought into the mainstream are more able and more inclined to learn English than those remaining on the margins of society, unable to access government services. While English Only advocates seem intent on making a symbolic statement, their proposals would have very practical consequences in areas such as education, social services, civil rights, and government efficiency. Among other things, their proposals are bad for English acquisition.

      A Message of Intolerance

      The symbolic statement itself has consequences that are as damaging as the direct legal effects. English Only bills say, in effect, that the principles of free speech and equal protection apply only to those who are fully proficient in English; that discrimination on the basis of language is legitimate, even laudatory in America; and ultimately, that those from non-English backgrounds are unwelcome here.

      Whatever “message” the sponsors believe they are sending with this legislation, the message received is a message of intolerance. This phenomenon is evident in the language vigilantism that occurs every time the issue flares up, as local officials and individuals seek to impose their own English Only rules. Here are a few of the mean-spirited incidents that occurred after the House passed a “language of government bill” in 1996:

      • Tavern owners in Yakima, Washington, refused to serve patrons who conversed in Spanish, posting signs such as: “In the U.S.A., It's English or Adios Amigo.”
      • A judge hearing a child-custody case in Amarillo, Texas, accused a mother of child abuse for speaking Spanish to her five-year-old daughter.
      • Police in Yonkers, New York, ticketed a Cuban American truck driver for his inability to answer questions in English.
      • In Huntsville, Alabama, the county assessor refused to approve routine tax exemptions for Korean property owners whose English was limited.
      • Norcross, Georgia, authorities fined the pastor of a Spanish-speaking congregation for posting placards that allegedly violated an English Only sign ordinance.

      These acts are deeply offensive, not only to recent immigrants, but also to a broader population: persons who are proud of their heritage both as Americans and as ethnic minorities. As Senator Mel Martinez, a Cuban immigrant and a Republican from Florida, recently explained: “When they start saying that it's un-American to have ballots printed in Spanish, it sends a message that we're not wanted, not respected.”

      No doubt this is the message that some extremists intend to send—or to exploit—in hopes of building support for a restrictive immigration policy. In doing so, they are dividing communities across the nation. Two weeks ago the city council of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, coupled an official-English ordinance with harsh penalties for businesses that hire or landlords who rent to undocumented immigrants. The result has been to exacerbate tensions between longtime residents and recently arrived Latinos who are clearly being targeted. Similar proposals are fueling race hatred in municipalities from Avon Park, Florida, to San Bernardino, California.

      It's ironic that official-English legislation, promoted as a way to “unite Americans,” is having precisely the opposite effect: igniting ethnic conflicts. Congress should refuse to fan these flames.

      Instead of English Only…English Plus

      The aftermath of September 11 highlighted a longstanding concern of national security officials: the United States remains an underdeveloped country where language skills are concerned. When our military invaded Afghanistan to hunt down al Qaeda, five of that country's seven major languages—including Pashto, spoken by 8 million Afghans—were not even taught in U.S. colleges and universities.5 Meanwhile, the FBI was so desperate for translators of Arabic and the languages of South Asia that it was forced to place want-ads in newspapers, with problematic results.

      Monolingualism, for which Americans are justifiably notorious, is also an economic handicap. While English is indisputably dominant in global commerce, it is spoken by only a small minority of the world's population. As globalization increases, competitors who are proficient in other languages will have an increasing advantage.

      The President's National Security Language Initiative, designed to fund programs in critical languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Russian, and Farsi, is a positive step. His proposed investment, however -$114 million in FY07, including just $24 million at the K-12 level—is ludicrous. If approved, it would have a limited impact relative to the nation's growing needs.

      Yet this is not just a funding problem. More important, it is an attitude problem. While a language learned in the classroom is valued in this country, a language learned by growing up in a minority community is likely to be considered a liability, not an asset. “Ethnic bilingualism” has enormous potential to supply the multilingual skills that America needs. Rather than cultivating it, however, we rush language-minority children into all-English classrooms as soon as possible. Most never get the chance to develop advanced skills, including literacy, in their native tongue. Although developmental bilingual education does exist, it is getting much harder to find. High-stakes testing in English for these students and, in some states, English Only instruction laws have forced schools to dismantle many bilingual programs.

      Instead of English Only, the United States needs a language policy that could be described as English Plus. This approach begins with the recognition that, of course, we should pursue the goal of English proficiency for all Americans. But while English is necessary, it is not sufficient in today's world. To prosper economically and to provide security for our people, we need well-developed skills in English, plus other languages. Step one is to conserve and develop, not destroy, the language resources we already have. Rather than treating bilingualism as a nuisance or a threat, we should exploit our diversity to enrich the lives of individuals and foster the nation's interests, while encouraging ethnic tolerance and safeguarding civil rights.

      We believe that a policy of English Plus would advance these important goals. Official English would be a step backward for the nation.

      1 Except in a few shameful cases, such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

      2 For more details, see “Frequently Asked Questions About Official English,” an attachment to this testimony.

      3 Senator Inhofe, chief sponsor of the amendment, inserted a “legislative history” into the Congressional Record (18 May 2006, pp. S4754-55) that explicitly addresses these points.

      4 In 1997, federal district and appeals court decisions in Yñiguez v. Arizonans for Official English were vacated as moot by the U.S. Supreme Court on a technicality (the lead plaintiff, an Arizona state employee, had found another job). A year later the Arizona Supreme Court struck down the English Only law as unconstitutional. An Alaska district court reached the same result in 2002.

      5 According to the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland, about 600 U.S. students were learning Farsi, the dominant language of Iran, which is a relative of Dari, spoken by about 5.6 million Afghans. There were just four U.S. students studying Uzbek, which has 1.4 million speakers in Afghanistan.

      Source: Copyright © 2006 by the Institute for Language and Education Policy. Reprinted with permission.

      Appendix F: Title VII Funding for States and Territories from FY69 to FY95

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