States voter driven initiatives laws relating to english language learner issues

April Volume 66 Number 7 Supporting English Language Learners Pages From the Ballot Box to the Classroom Jill Kerper Mora Using state ballot initiatives to regulate the education of language-minority students is like using a sledgehammer to repair a wristwatch.

States voter driven initiatives laws relating to english language learner issues

April Volume 66 Number 7 Supporting English Language Learners Pages From the Ballot Box to the Classroom Jill Kerper Mora Using state ballot initiatives to regulate the education of language-minority students is like using a sledgehammer to repair a wristwatch.

In the last decade, ballot initiatives in several states have asked voters to make policy decisions about the education of English language learners. These initiatives have run counter to the spirit of past federal laws and court decisions that established the right of language-minority children to a meaningful and equitable education.

Let's take a brief look at the history. During the civil rights era of the s, federal and state governments created laws and policies regarding the education of the growing number of language-minority students in the public schools. This federal law provided legal guidelines and funding for transitional bilingual education programs.

A series of federal court decisions subsequently broadened the scope and implementation of Title VII. The Supreme Court decision in Lau v.

Nichols required school districts to take affirmative steps to protect the civil rights of limited-English-proficient students.

States voter driven initiatives laws relating to english language learner issues

In Lau, Chinese parents in San Francisco claimed that the school district's failure to provide their children with a specially designed program to teach them English violated their civil rights. The court's unanimous decision stated that children who do not speak English are entitled to equal access to the school curriculum and that the plaintiffs had been prevented from receiving a meaningful and effective education.

One means of addressing these rights was through implementation of bilingual education programs, which give students the opportunity to learn academic content in their native language while they gain competence in English.

Several federal and state court cases since Lau v. Nichols established the requirements for programs for language-minority students Crawford, Inthe Fifth Circuit U. Pickard outlined a three-pronged test, stating that to adequately meet the needs of these students under the provisions of the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, programs must 1 be based on a pedagogically sound plan, 2 have enough qualified teachers to implement the program, and 3 have a system to evaluate the program's effectiveness.

Ballot Initiatives in Five States From tovoters in five states were asked to decide policy for educating English language learners. Anti-bilingual-education ballot initiatives passed in CaliforniaArizonaand Massachusetts but were rejected in Colorado and most recently in Oregon The propositions that became law in California, Arizona, and Massachusetts require that English language learners be educated for one year through an approach called sheltered or structured English immersion, in which all instruction is in English; students must then transfer into mainstream English classrooms.

States voter driven initiatives laws relating to english language learner issues

These laws allow instruction of students in their non-English native language only under limited and restricted conditions through a parental petition and waiver process. The political discourse leading up to the votes in these five states was highly contentious and largely unrelated to the practical and pedagogical issues facing public school administrators, teachers, parents, and students.

Proponents argued that instruction in students' native language retards their learning of English and academic subjects.

Opponents maintained that native-language instruction supports language acquisition and content learning while English language learners are acquiring enough English to succeed in all-English classrooms.

When we analyze the arguments, ideologies, and constituencies that either supported or opposed the initiatives, it is clear that conflicts about how to educate populations of immigrant students tap into deeper sociological and cultural issues sparked by demographic changes Mora, Proponents of the initiatives believe that new immigrants must abandon their native languages and cultural practices to fully assimilate into U.

They fear that Spanish-speaking immigrants in particular have been "clinging" to their language and resisting learning English. Through a misguided sense of altruism, many of these proponents believe that policies designed to force children to adopt English as their dominant or only language will promote rapid assimilation and increase students' academic achievement.

Opponents of the anti-bilingual-education measures see bilingualism as a social, economic, cultural, and academic advantage for first- and second-generation immigrants.LANGUAGE LEGISLATION: VOTER DRIVEN INITIATIVES Kelly M.

Jefferson Grand Canyon University: SPE July 23, The issue of language policy and the education of English language learners (ELLs) in this country has been hotly debated and widely contested. "1) Write a word essay in which you analyze the significant legislations in at least three states' voter-driven initiatives/laws relating to English language learner issues.

1) Write a , word essay in which you analyze the significant legislations in at least three states' voter-driven initiatives/laws relating to English language learner issues.

Write an essay of , words in which you compare and contrast each side of the English-only issue and explain your position on the debate. 1. Use the Internet to research at least three to five states' voter-driven initiatives/laws relating to English language learner issues.

Compare and contrast both sides of the English-only issue and explain your position on the debate. (1) Use the Internet to research at least three to five states' voter-driven initiatives/laws relating to English language learner issues.

The study also found that no one approach produces academic excellence for English language learners; rather, high achievement is associated with a number of factors, including the school's capacity to address the needs of English language learners; a focus on standards-based instruction; shared priorities and high expectations; systemic, ongoing assessment; and data-driven decision making.

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Language Legislation in the U.S.A.