Saturday, February 06, 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.

La Bloga would welcome reports from attendees of the UCLA event.

Es todo, hoy,

1 comment:

msedano said...

What goes around comes around, albeit in a modified version. When I entered the UC system in 1963, the foreign language requirement specifically excluded Spanish. The rationale I got from administrative factotums was "nothing was ever written in Spanish, it is not an academic language." Ain't that a kick in the head?