pledgin allegiance is not enough...

Aurolyn Luykx aurolynluykx at
Tue Mar 1 17:11:20 UTC 2005

Personally I wouldn't spend time on it, given that the
bill seems to be dead in the water, and the article
already gave some space to a dissenting argument
(Trinidad's), though (admittedly) not a particularl
effective one.
See the attached for a particularly blood-boiling
example of anti-bilingual boneheadedness...

--- David Johnson <davidcasselsjohnson at>

> In a previous email, Dr. Schiffman suggested that
> responses be developed for
> Gregg Easterbrook's article in the New Republic. In
> a previous lgpolicy
> strain, a conversation was generated by another list
> member, Francis Hult,
> about linguistic and educational scholars lacking
> access to the public
> relations and/or political machinery that might help
> engender more
> multilingual language policies in the U.S. and stop
> initiatives such as
> anti-bilingual education laws. (Is that close
> Francis? If I'm getting it
> wrong let me know...)
> Following Professor Schiffman's example, I would
> like to suggest that brief
> letters be written in response to Rep. John
> Piscopo's comments in the
> article below. He makes some clearly erroneous
> statements, seemingly based
> more on ideological (or perhaps political)
> orientations towards language
> than on any educational linguistic research.
> Interestingly, Piscopo seems to
> use bilingual education's failure as support for an
> English-Only law (even
> though other anti-bilingual education advocates like
> Rosalie Porter are
> quick to disassociate with the English-Only camp).
> This seems like an opportunity for those who are
> interested to engage a
> policitician who has burgeoning interests in
> spearheading English-Only
> legislation and seems to have bilingual education on
> his radar. So, I am
> willing to compile and synthesize any letters sent
> to me which I will then
> send to John Piscopo. I'm imagining a polite and
> reasonably brief letter,
> quickly outlining the benefits of bilingual
> education. Letters from
> Connecticut people (Connecticutians?) are
> encouraged. Who knows how he'll
> respond - my bet is a very vague, meaningless form
> letter will arrive long
> after I forget who John Piscopo is. But, who knows?
> -David
> >From: "Harold F. Schiffman"
> <haroldfs at>
> >Reply-To: lgpolicy-list at
> >To: Language Policy-List
> <lgpolicy-list at>
> >Subject: Bill to make English official language of
> Connecticut Fails
> >Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2005 09:38:32 -0500 (EST)
> >
> >
> >02/18/2005 Thomaston Express
> >Piscopo's quest for English language takes hit
> >KARSTEN STRAUSS , Special to The Express
> >
> >THOMASTON - A hearing for Rep. John Piscopo's,
> R-76, bill to make English
> >the official language of Connecticut has been
> denied by the Government
> >Administration and Elections Committee.  Piscopo
> said he has introduced
> >the bill nine times before and has only received
> one hearing in the late
> >1990s, when the legislation came under fire and was
> not sent to the House
> >for a vote.
> >
> >"I was hoping for a public hearing this year out of
> colleague courtesy,"
> >Piscopo said. "But it doesn't look like its going
> to happen." Piscopo said
> >that opposition to the bill comes from those who
> feel it is mean-spirited,
> >divisive and even racist - something that he
> strongly denies. Piscopo also
> >said there are those who wish to bar legislation
> that has economic
> >interests at stake.
> >
> >"There's an entrenched bureaucracy in the state
> that makes a living off of
> >printing and education, and other agencies that are
> entrenched in
> >multilingual endeavors," he said. The bill, which
> according to Piscopo is
> >largely symbolic, would declare English as the
> state's official language.
> >As far as changes to the way the state or
> educational curriculum is run in
> >Connecticut, Piscopo said that driver's licenses,
> voting ballots and voter
> >registration documents would be printed only in
> English.
> >
> >"We want to state that Connecticut is a state with
> English as the official
> >language so that everybody can assimilate and learn
> this universal
> >language of commerce and to get ahead faster," he
> said. Piscopo said that
> >bilingual education, once thought to benefit
> children raised to speak
> >foreign languages, is in fact holding those
> children back.
> >
> >"You do not help a non-English speaking student by
> keeping them at least
> >three years in their native tongue," Piscopo said.
> "The best way we can
> >help someone that does not speak English that comes
> to this country and
> >this state is to teach them English as quickly as
> possible through English
> >immersion, or just English as a second language,
> not teach them in their
> >native tongue." Piscopo says he has backing from
> Hispanic mothers who
> >would like to see their children assimilate more
> completely into the
> >English-speaking curriculum.
> >
> >"We need these kids to have an equal opportunity to
> go through the process
> >of transition from one culture, one language to
> another one," said
> >Torrington Board of Education member Edgar
> Trinidad, who disagrees
> >strongly with Piscopo's views on bilingual
> education. "I know many great
> >professionals who have been in bilingual
> education." "I don't know of what
> >world this gentleman is," Trinidad said of Piscopo.
>  "Maybe he doesn't
> >have kids in school. It's proven that bilingual
> education is going to help
> >the kid enjoy the concept of inclusion."
> >
> >Trinidad said that some aspects of bilingual
> education need to be
> >addressed, but not eliminated. Rep. Livvy Floren,
> R-149, ranking member on
> >the Government Administration and Elections
> Committee said Piscopo's
> >proposed bill was not given a hearing because the
> commission's calendar
> >for this year was too full, not because of the
> merits of the bill or any
> >ideological opposition.
> >
> >"It was just a matter of time and priorities, and
> this just wasn't the
> >year," Floren said. "Probably next year, when we
> have a little bit less on
> >our docket, we'll be able to get to it again."
> Piscopo said he will be
> >looking for an opportunity to submit the bill as an
> amendment in the House
> >of Representatives.
> >
> >
> >
> >

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