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

By James Crawford

A set of 18 essays addressing the coverage and politics of teaching English language rookies. topics comprise demographic swap and its academic implications, American responses to language variety, public controversies over bilingual schooling, high-stakes trying out and its effect on English language novices, and the precarious prestige of language rights within the united states.

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Extra info for Advocating for English Learners: Selected Essays (Bilingual Education & Bilingualism)

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It actively discouraged bilingual educators and others from defending the field. Although many of us ignored such advice, UnzWatch and similar efforts by individuals tended to speak with many voices, communicating a variety of messages, without central coordination. Not surprisingly, we failed to have much impact on press coverage. 2 Several journalists confided that they were bored with the story, in part because 227 was so far ahead in the polls. The trend was evident as early as October 1997, when the first Los Angeles Times Poll reported 80% of likely voters and 84% of Latinos were favoring 227 (Barabak, 1998).

But I would argue that the stakes are higher when an initiative is involved. We’re not talking here about murky position papers that candidates are likely to ignore after they get elected. We’re talking about the text of legislation that, in this case, Californians are likely to be stuck with for years to come. This is a law that cannot be repealed or even amended without a two-thirds vote of the legislature, another ballot initiative, or an adverse court ruling. What’s more, many of the horse-race stories were false in a way that proved quite helpful to the Unz campaign.

Besides its limiting effects on instruction, this policy has exerted a powerful influence on language attitudes. Children soon get the message: Their mother tongue has low prestige in this country and so do its speakers. No wonder most of them shift to English as soon as they can. For the few who wish to continue studying the heritage language, ‘foreign’ language classrooms rarely meet their needs. A survey of biliterates in Southern California turned up frustrating memories of such instruction – for example, being criticized by teachers and classmates for speaking ‘substandard’ vernaculars, lacking familiarity with grammatical rules, or not knowing the conventions of formal writing (Tse, 2001).

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