Language Policy SIG Resignation

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Tue May 30 12:21:12 UTC 2006

May 29, 2006

NABE Executive Board Pedro J. Ruiz, Zaida A. Cintron, Heriberto Galarza,
Mary Jew, Elena Izquierdo, Willard Gilbert Thomas Brown

Dear NABE Executive Board,

We are writing to resign our positions as the co-chairs of the Language
Policy Special Interest Group of the National Association for Bilingual
Education. We do not plan on attending the next NABE conference, and have
suspended our planning for the Language Policy SIG session and meeting. We
make this decision with heavy hearts, but do so because we are deeply
disturbed by what we perceive to be a series of poor decisions—firing
James Crawford, a well-known and respected scholar and tireless advocate
for ELL students; suspending the Bilingual Research Journal; holding
meaningless elections; and, above all else, disregarding the legitimate
concerns of NABE members and leaders in the field. We personally wrote
letters on behalf of ourselves and the members of our SIG to the Board
asking for explanations of these recent actions, and have yet to be
answered in a way that honors the transparency that we feel a truly
democratic organization needs.

We are disturbed about the decision to suspend the Bilingual Research
Journal, which we feel offers a voice within academia that cannot be found
elsewhere.  As young scholars ourselves, two of whom have worked as
editorial assistants on the BRJ, and two of whom won first place
dissertation awards from NABE in the past two years, the Bilingual
Research Journal is a primary resource we read, have our students read,
and to which we submit our research for publication. This is not the time
to put a halt on research, when it is so greatly needed to counter claims
of the superiority of English-only education and as many harmful language,
education, assessment and accountability policies are wreaking havoc on
quality programs for our students.

We joined NABE to be part of a professional community who share our
interests in advocacy and research. Given the widespread opposition as
well as our personal disillusionment by the recent actions of this Board,
with sadness we have collectively come to the decision that we cannot
represent to the members of our SIG an organization which we feel no
longer represents us. We are very limited in terms of travel money for
conferences, thus we feel at this time our continuing research and
advocacy efforts are best spent through other local and national
organizations and conferences. If the time comes that it is apparent that
NABE is once again committed to advocacy and research for bilingual
education and research, we will gladly resume our positions as co-chairs
of the Language Policy SIG.

Ha Lam, PhD candidate, Arizona State University
Kate Menken, EdD, City University of New York
Wayne Wright, PhD, University of Texas, San Antonio
Co-Chairs, NABE Language Policy Special Interest Group

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