[lg policy] blog: More on Forbidden Language

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Sun Feb 7 18:02:31 UTC 2010

More on Forbidden Language

Earlier this week Dan Olivas did a post about a discussion and book
signing at UCLA. While we as yet have no posting on the event, I'm in
the process of getting a copy of the book to review for La Bloga. In
the meantime here's more info below from the publisher, Teachers
College Press at Columbia University. What does this have to do with a
Chicano literary site? Demasiado. I live and teach in Denver where
only a federal court order prevents the city's Spanish-speaking
children from being forced into the Forbidden Language ranks. In
recent state elections, English-only referendums have repeatedly raise
their ugly heads, though to-date they've luckily been chopped off at
the jugular.

Denying all our children the language of Neruda and Marquez is not
seen by politicians and others as part of the reason the U.S. trails
much of the world in literacy, math, science, etc. Perhaps this book
will shed some intelligent light for them to improve their vision.
While I don't know what conclusions the authors reached, they've
analyzed practices in three states where English-only proponents
unfortunately succeeded in changing state educational
policy--California, Arizona and Massachusetts. Should be an
interesting read.

Forbidden Language, English Learners and Restrictive Language Policies
Patricia Gandara and Megan Hopkins, Editors
Multicultural Education Series
Pub.: January 2010, 272 pages
Paperback: $32.95, ISBN: 080775045X Cloth: $70.00, ISBN: 0807750468

Pulling together the most up-to-date research on the effects of
restrictive language policies, this timely volume focuses on what we
know about the actual outcomes for students and teachers in
California, Arizona, and Massachusetts—states where these policies
have been adopted. Prominent legal experts in bilingual education
analyze these policies and specifically consider whether the new data
undermine their legal viability. Other prominent contributors examine
alternative policies and how these have fared. Finally, Patricia
Gándara, Daniel Losen, and Gary Orfield suggest how better policies,
that rely on empirical research, might be constructed.

This timely volume:
* Features contributions from well-known educators and scholars in
bilingual education.
* Includes an overview of English learners in the United States and a
brief history of the policies that have guided their instruction.
* Analyzes the current research on teaching English learners in order
to determine the most effective instructional strategies.

“At a time when nativism and ugly anti-immigrant discourse is played
out daily on talk radio and cable television, I took hope in reading
these chapters, especially when it is clear that learning English is
such a priority for these children and their parents. While I doubt
that restrictionists will heed its findings, policymakers and
educators should read this book carefully.” — Michael A. Olivas,
William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law, University of Houston
“This volume offers a sobering view of the consequences of making
educational policy by referendum, and of the ways in which we have
failed English language learners in U.S. schools.” — Catherine Snow,
Harvard Graduate School of Education

Patricia Gándara is a professor of education at the University of
California, Los Angeles and the co-director of the Civil Rights
Project/Proyecto Derechos Civiles. Megan Hopkins is a former bilingual
teacher and a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Education and
Information Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Contributors include Diane August, Alfredo J. Artiles, Kenji Hakuta,
Janette K. Klingner, Daniel Losen, Gary Orfield, and Robert Rueda.

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