English as a Second Language
and Nonstandard English
According to census figures, the U. S. population has more than doubled since 1960, and immigration has contributed significantly to this growth. Some states have been affected more than others. In California, for example, between 1990 and 2000, 9 out of 10 new Californians were Latino or Asian immigrants. In Orange County, south of Los Angeles, the population rose from just over 1 million in 1970 to more than 2.5 million in 2000. Ninety percent of the increase was the result of immigration from Mexico and Asia.
Over the next 40 years, the U. S. population will more than double again, and estimates are that 85% of the increase will be through immigration from Asia, Mexico, and Africa as the world experiences a great movement of people from the undeveloped to the developed world known as the South–North migration. The social consequences of this mass immigration are significant, for it quite literally has altered the state of the nation and figures into nearly every question associated with public policy—from education and health care to housing and employment. For this reason, bilingual education always has been—and is likely to remain—primarily a political issue rather than a pedagogical one.
Mainstream English speakers feel apprehension when they consider the level of immigration that has occurred over the last several decades. The status that English enjoyed after World War I as the dominant language in American society is no longer secure. The sheer number of Spanish speakers now in the United States, the majority of whom speak little or no English, is reshaping the linguistic character-