Immigrant Children and the Politics of English-Only: Views from the Classroom

Immigrant Children and the Politics of English-Only: Views from the Classroom

Immigrant Children and the Politics of English-Only: Views from the Classroom

Immigrant Children and the Politics of English-Only: Views from the Classroom

Synopsis

Stritikus examines restrictions on bilingual education in California, demonstrating complex relationships between educational practice and political and pedagogical ideaologies.

Stritikus examines the effect of California's anti-bilingual initiative, Proposition 227, on the education of Latinos. He highlights the teachers' role in enacting the policy, studying two schools which developed their own Proposition 227 implementation plans. One ended its bilingual program and began a program of English immersion, and a second maintained its bilingual program through obtaining parental waivers.

Using sociocultural analysis of classroom observation data, Stritikus shows how Proposition 227 implementation legitimized questionable educational practice and made effective teaching more difficult. His research documents how teachers actions under the policy were closely connected to their political and pedagogical ideologies.

Excerpt

As typical teachers look at the students in their classrooms, they see dramatic differences from the classrooms of their youth. Today 1 in 3 children in the United States is from an ethnic or racially diverse group; 1 in 7 speaks a language other than English at home, and 1 in 15 is born outside the United States (Garcia, 1999). Linguistic and cultural diversity has become a reality in U.S. schools. Unfortunately, schools have fallen short in meeting the needs of diverse students (SuarezOrozco & Suarez-Orozco, 1995). While one-tenth of EuropeanAmerican students leave high school without a diploma, one-fourth of African-American, one-third of Latino, and two-thirds of immigrant students drop out of school.

According to the 1990 U.S. Census, 6.3 million children in the United States spoke a language other than English at home. In 19971998, State Education Agencies reported that 7.8% (3, 452, 875) of all U.S. schoolchildren were classified as Limited English Proficient (LEP). Since 1990, the growth rate for linguistically diverse students has hovered around 10%. While linguistic diversity is a reality throughout the United States, the highest populations are concentrated in select states. California, Texas, Florida, and New York enroll the largest numbers and largest percentage of students classified as LEP (Macias, 2000). In addition to these states, large populations of LEP

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