Direct democracy and language education policy in Colorado

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Direct democracy and language education policy in Colorado a case study of the discourse about Amendment 31
Diaz, Silvana Carolina
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xiii, 238 leaves : ; 28 cm


Subjects / Keywords:
Language policy -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Direct democracy -- Case studies -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Education, Bilingual -- Law and legislation -- Colorado ( lcsh )
Direct democracy ( fast )
Education, Bilingual -- Law and legislation ( fast )
Language policy ( fast )
Colorado ( fast )
Case studies. ( fast )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
Case studies ( fast )


Includes bibliographical references (leaves 219-238).
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Silvana Carolina Diaz.

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Source Institution:
|University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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Resource Identifier:
260334955 ( OCLC )
LD1193.E3 2008d D52 ( lcc )

Full Text
Silvana Carolina Diaz
B.A., University of Northern Colorado, 1991
Ed.S., University of Northern Colorado, 1998
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Philosophy
School of Education and Human Development

2008 by Silvana Carolina Diaz
All rights reserved.

This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy
degree by
Silvana Carolina Diaz
has been approved
Honorine D. Nocon

Diaz, Silvana Carolina (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation)
Direct Democracy and Language Education Policy in Colorado:
A Case Study of the Discourse about Amendment 31
Thesis directed by Associate Professor Honorine D. Nocon
This case study focused on the construction and use of discourse in 12 public
debates to persuade voters to defeat Amendment 31 in the 2002 Colorado General
Election. A conceptual framework based on Latino critical theory, and the concepts
of language restrictionism rooted in nativism, direct democracy, and social struggle
in discourse guided the study. Four methods of analysis were used: (a)
chronological analysis of the events surrounding and including the 12 debates, (b)
content analysis of official documents and the arguments used in the debates, (c)
critical discourse analysis to examine the deeper meanings implicit in the discourse,
and (d) constant comparison analysis of emerging themes across the many levels of
analysis. The findings provided insight into how each side argued their respective
views, and how arguments may have influenced voter understanding of issues
implicit in Amendment 31. This study found that the discourse used in debates was
rooted in the legal language of the proposed amendment and specific themes were
argued with frequency and consistency.
Secondly, language restrictionism rooted in nativism within the Colorado
context directly influenced how each side constructed and used discourse.
Proponent discourse reflected anti-bilingual education sentiments. Opponent
discourse pointed out that bilingual education was working, and that Amendment 31
had problematic aspects that would impact all Coloradans through the loss of parent
choice, extreme punitive consequences, loss of local control, and higher taxes.

The vital role of the convergence of legal, political, and educational experts
for understanding the issues surrounding Amendment 31, and for constructing
discourse to effectively shape public interpretation of Amendment 31 also emerged.
The defeat of Amendment 31 was unprecedented in the history of such ballot
initiatives, especially given initial polling results of 80 percent support in favor of
Amendment 31. This study is significant in understanding the role of discourse in
persuading voters. The findings contribute to our general understanding of the
dynamics of official discourse related to restrictive language education policy in the
United States.
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates thesis. I
recommend its publication.
Honorine D. Nocon

Papi y Mami, nunca podre mostrarles el agradecimiento que siento en mi
corazon por el apoyo, la paciencia, el animo, y el amor que siempre me han dado
para que yo logre mis suenos. Lo que mas deseo es ser un orgullo para ustedes.
Dr. Christina Bernal-Sati. You have been my sister and my constant
companion throughout this lonely, painful, and seemingly never-ending process. It
was you I trusted when I didnt trust the process, and I was afraid to trust myself. I
will never forget those moments when you believed in me. Thank you.
Hal, your love nourished my spirit and will through the difficult times. Your
humor reminded me to live in the moment. My gratitude is beyond words or
measure. Te amo mi tesoro.
Special appreciation is given to my committee, Drs. Honorine Nocon, Kathy
Escamilla, Lorenso Aragon, Lorenzo Trujillo, and Rene Galindo for your guidance,
scholarly insights, and encouragement in my accomplishing this dream. It has been
my fortune to have you collaborate as my committee. Thank you for helping me
gain a greater sense of confidence in my research and writing.
A heartfelt thank you to Jorge Garcia, Dr. Helen Berg, Dr. Genie Canales,
the Kellys and the Bacas for your love, encouragement, and understanding
throughout this process. You have made a difference for me, and now my work can
make a difference for others.
I extend appreciation and many thanks to The BEN, JeffCo colleagues,
EDLI peers, SOE faculty, CABE, and to so many others who had faith that I would
complete this journey. I dedicate this work to the many students, parents, and
teachers who value bilingualism. The struggle to ensure bilingual education for you
is what inspired this work. c/s

1. INTRODUCTION...............................................1
Amendment 31: The Potential Impact.............1
Anti-Bilingual Education in Colorado:
The Significant Defeat of Amendment 31.........1
Amendment 31: A Citizen Initiative.............6
Description of the Present Study.....................8
Problem Statement....................................8
Purpose of the Study.................................9
What My Study Contributes to the Literature...11
My Own Political Agenda.............................13
Theoretical and Conceptual Framework................14
LatCrit Theory................................15
Language Restrictionism Rooted in Nativism....16
Direct Democracy..............................18
Social Struggle in Discourse..................19
The Research Questions..............................21
Overview of Methods.................................21
Limitations of the Study............................22
Organization of the Dissertation....................24

Bilingual Education...............................26
Language Policy: The Current Context of
Fear and Control..................................36
The Current Context of Language Policy within
Education Policy: No Child Left Behind......38
The Current Context of Language Policy within
Immigration Policy..........................41
Historical Overview of Official Language Policy
In the United States..............................44
History of Language Policy in Colorado......56
Empirical Analysis of Language Policy in the United States:
Looking Through the Lens of Fear and Control......58
Language Restrictionism Rooted in Nativism..58
Language as a Proxy.........................70
Direct Democracy..................................87
English in the United States:
Two Perspectives............................88
Official English at the State Level:
Direct Democracy............................91
English for the Children: The New
Anti-Bilingual Education Movement...........93
3. METHODOLOGY..............................................98
Data Collection..................................101
Document Analysis........................ 101

Data Sources
Data Management..................................105
Chronological Phase of Organization........106
Technical Phase of Organization............Ill
Conceptual Phase of Organization...........112
Chronological Analysis:
The Timeframe of the Study.................113
Content Analysis:
Identifying the Arguments..................114
Critical Discourse Analysis:
The Conceptual View........................127
The Fairclough Model of Discourse Analysis.128
Data Verification................................135
AMENDMENT 31............................................136
Chapter Four Summary.............................142
OF EACH SIDE............................................143

Topic Area 1:
The Discourse about Bilingual Education............143
Yes-on-31: Bilingual Education is a
Disastrous Failure..........................145
No-on-31: Bilingual Education Works.........148
Summary: Topic Area One
The Discourse about Bilingual Education.....151
Topic Area 2:
Amendment 31 and Schools...........................152
Yes-on-31: Amendment 31 is the Solution.....152
No-on-31: Amendment 31 is Too Restrictive...156
No-on-31: Amendment 31 is Too Punitive......159
No-on-31: Amendment 31 is Too Costly........163
Summary: Topic Area Two
Amendment 31 and Schools....................164
Topic Area 3: Parental Rights......................166
Opposing the Bilingual Education Industry...167
Yes-on-31: Protecting Parental Rights.......169
Yes-on-31: Parental Choice..................171
Yes-on-31: Necessary Legal Consequences.....178
No-on-31: Amendment 31 Eliminates Choice....181
No-on-31: Unverified Claims.................184
Summary: Topic Area Three
Parental Rights.............................188
Chapter Five Summary...............................189

The Convergence of Three Arenas:
No-on-31 Counter-arguments.......................192
Challenging Conventional Truths and
Nativist Social Constructs.................197
A Case of the Devil in the Details.........202
Critical Examination of Amendment 31: Countering
Language Restrictionism Rooted in Nativism.204
Chapter Six Summary..............................206
7. IMPLICATIONS AND CONCLUSION..........................208
The Call for a New Discourse...............210
Convergence of Experts is Key..............211
Educators as Social Justice Advocates......212
Hearing What Is Not Said...................212

2.1 Five bilingual education program models frequently used in public school
3.1 Timeline: data organized chronologically.................................107
3.2 Chronological order of the 12 debates....................................109
3.3 Fifteen yes-on-31 themes identified......................................116
3.4 Ten no-on-31 themes identified...........................................117
3.5 Fourteen additional themes identified for yes-on-31......................119
3.6 Six additional themes identified for no-on-31............................120
3.7 Larger theme set for yes-on-31...........................................122
3.8 Larger theme set for no-on-31............................................123
3.9 Arguments in rank order by frequency and with consistency noted..........124
3.10 Alignment of the yes-on-31 argument, corresponding excerpts from the title,
summary, and text of Amendment 31, and corresponding lines of discourse
used in debate 1 reflecting the social struggle in discourse concept.126
3.11 Three guiding concepts and their definitions............................130
3.12 Alignment of arguments with concepts....................................131
3.13 Debate 1: Twenty-four yes-on-31 responses by concept with frequency....132
3.14 Debate 1: Forty no-on-31 responses by concept with frequency............133
4.1 Arguments and counter-arguments.......................................... 141

Amendment 31: The Potential Impact
Conventional wisdom would dictate that all English learner immigrant and
citizen children should learn English.1 The authors and proponents of Amendment
31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213) employed the process of direct
democracy to propose an amendment to the Colorado State Constitution to mandate
the exclusive use of English language instruction in public education (Cronin, 1999;
Gerber, Lupia, McCubbins, & Kiewiet, 2001). This translated into a proposed
language education policy that would have mandated across the entire state of
Colorado the exclusive use of English as the language of instruction in every public
school serving English learners, while simultaneously banning bilingual education
programs. Adopting Amendment 31 would have resulted in the elimination of
existing bilingual programs across the state of Colorado. Additionally, the
collaborative decision-making processes extended to educators, parents, and
researchers for implementing effective pedagogy in local schools would have been
muted because with Amendment 31, state law would have superseded local control.
Anti-Bilingual Education in Colorado:
The Significant Defeat of Amendment 31
The first ballot initiative proposed to enact a language education policy to
restrict the use of language in public school education to English was California
English learner is the term used in Amendment 31. Other terms used to describe children
learning English as a second language include limited English proficient (LEP), English language
learners (ELL), students with primary home language other than English (PHLOTE).

Proposition 227 of 1998, also called English for the Children. Cummins (2000)
points out that the debate leading up to Proposition 227 crystallized all arguments
advanced for and against bilingual education in the previous quarter century (p.
32). California Proposition 227 (1998) was promoted as a right to leam English said
to be possessed by non-English speaking immigrants and citizens. The anti-bilingual
education movement traveled from state to state. In 2000, initiatives mirroring
California Proposition 227 (1998 Cal. Legis. Serv.) were seen in Arizona
(Proposition 203 of 2000) and Colorado (In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 #258(A), 4
P.3d 1094). In 2002 similar initiatives were brought before voters in Massachusetts
Question 2 (2002) and Colorado in 2002 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d
213). Voters in Arizona adopted Proposition 203 of 2000 and voters in
Massachusetts adopted Question 2 of 2002. Both the Arizona and the Massachusetts
measures passed with a minimum of 60% approval (Galindo & Vigil, 2004).
Colorado had been targeted for anti-bilingual education efforts when an
English immersion ballot initiative was proposed for inclusion on the 2000 General
Election ballot (In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 #258(A), 4 P.3d 1094). Opponents
challenged the proposal in court, and after many hearings and appeals all the way to
the Colorado Supreme Court, the measure was not permitted onto the 2000 ballot
because the Colorado Supreme Court found that the title of the proposed measure
was misleading and confusing the voter (In re Ballot Title 1999-2000 #258(A), 4
P.3d 1094). An anti-bilingual education initiative was again introduced for the 2002
election, and this time proponents, represented by attorneys Alan Epstein and Beth
Dickhaus, were successful in their efforts to place Amendment 31 on the 2002
General Election ballot (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213).
In Colorado, citizen initiatives are considered for placement onto the ballot
every two years in even years. Proponents of Amendment 31 began the process of
proposing their citizen initiative in late 2001. Proponents of Amendment 31
(English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213) first filed their intention to place a

citizen initiative onto the 2002 ballot with the Colorado Secretary of State. The steps
required by the Colorado Secretary of State included a hearing process, where a
three-person Title Board was charged with reviewing each proposed citizen
initiative. The hearing process in the case of Amendment 31 served specifically to
ensure that the initiatives complied with two specific requirements set forth by the
Secretary of State (a) that the proposed initiative dealt with a single subject (Colo.
Const, art. V, § 1(5.5); § 1-40-106.5, 1 C.R.S. (2001), and (b) that the official
language of the proposed initiative did not include any slogan or catch phrases in the
Title (§ 1-40-106(3) (b), 1 C.R.S. (2001). The following chronology is a timeline
which provides key events of the initiative process, including the 2002 election.
Amendment 31 chronology
December 5, 2001. Formal ballot initiative hearings began. The title board found
the official wording of the proposed initiative to comply with
the requirements as set forth by the Colorado Secretary of
State. Opponents could challenge the official wording of the
proposed initiative by filing an appeal and request for
December 12, 2001. A motion for rehearing was filed by opponents of
Amendment 31. The opponents argued that the proposed
initiative did not deal with a single subject, and that the
official wording did indeed include a slogan and-or catch
phrase, specifically English for the Children.
December 19, 2001. The motion filed by opponents was heard and denied. This
ruling supported the initial decision, which found the official
wording of the proposed initiative acceptable.
December 24, 2001. Opponents filed a request for review by the Colorado
Supreme Court.
January 3, 2002. The request filed by opponents was granted, and the citizen
initiative would be reviewed by the Colorado Supreme Court.

Amendment 31 chronology (cont.)
April 8, 2002.
May 1,2002.
May 8, 2002.
May 15, 2002.
June 13, 2002.
June 13, 2002 and
August 5, 2002.
August 5, 2002.
August 15, 2002.
August 15, 2002 and
October 24, 2002.
The Colorado Supreme Court reviewed the proposed
initiative and found the official wording to be misleading and
deceptive. The Colorado Supreme Court ruled that the
proposed initiative be sent backremandedto the Title
Board so that the title and summary of the proposed initiative
could be fixed to comply with the requirements.
The Title Board approved the new initiative title. The changes
made to the title language complied with the requirements.
Opponents filed a motion for a rehearing by the Colorado
Supreme Court. They wanted to challenge the new title
The Title Board considered the new title language. The
motion for rehearing was granted in part and denied in part.
The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the new title language.
Proponents were given until August 5, 2002, to collect at
least 80,571 signatures to endorse the initiative. The signature
requirement was the next step in adding the proposed
initiative to the 2002 ballot.
Three of the 12 debates analyzed in this study took place
between these dates.
At least 80,571 signatures on voter petitions were due.
Proponents of Amendment 31 submitted this number of
signatures to the Secretary of State.
The Colorado Secretary of State verified 138,678 signatures
collected by proponents. The proposed initiative was added to
the ballot and assigned number 31.
The remaining nine debates analyzed in this study took place
between these dates.

Amendment 31 chronology (cont.)
October 21, 2002. Early voting began 15 days before the General Election at the
early voters' polling place for the general public.
November 1, 2002. Friday preceding the General Election was the last day for
early voting at the early voters' polling place for the General
November 5, 2002. The 2002 General Election. Polls opened at 7:00 a.m. until
7:00 p.m. Emergency absentee ballot requests were required
before 5:00 p.m. and returned no later than 7:00 p.m. on
General Election day. All absentee ballots were required to be
in the hands of the county clerk no later than 7:00 p.m.
November 5, 2002. The vote results indicated that 56% opposed Amendment 31,
and 44% supported Amendment 31. Amendment 31 was
Shortly after Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213)
was deemed eligible for the 2002 ballot, on June 13, 2002, three different opinion
polls showed that 66 to 80% of the electorate polled favored Amendment 31 (Ciruli,
2002; Feldman Group, 2002; Talmey-Drake, 2002). Opponents of Amendment 31
hired a firm to conduct a statewide voter survey on the English-immersion initiative
in Colorado (Feldman Group, 2002). Data collected by the Feldman Group (2002)
in early July 2002 indicated that 80% of the voters supported the proposal. More of
a concern to opponents was that defeating the proposal would be difficult because
the survey data indicated that no message identified proved powerful enough to
move a majority of voters away from voting yes (Feldman, 2002). Based on these
polling results, which were consistent with the Ciruli (2002) and Talmey-Drake
(2002) polls, it appeared that voter support in Colorado was consistent with voter
support in other states where similar measures had been adopted. Amendment 31
had such strong voter support initially that it seemed impossible to defeat at the

polls. However, unlike California, Arizona, and Massachusetts, Colorado voters did
not adopt Amendment 31 (Colorado Secretary of State, 2002).
Amendment 31: A Citizen Initiative
The movement that brought Amendment 31 (English Language Education,
44 P.3d 213) to Colorado seemed to parallel the movement across states to establish
English as the official language. In the late 1990s, the official English movement
expanded its focus toward anti-bilingual education initiatives, which would mandate
that English be the only medium of instruction in public education. Supporters of
Amendment 31 used the citizen initiative ballot process to propose a constitutional
amendment to the voters of Colorado (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213).
Proponents anchored their argument in historically accepted discourse that
maintained the childrens right to a public education, the duty of schools to provide
children with an education necessary to become productive members of our
society (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213), and the importance of English
as part of that education. This, together with the conventional belief that English is
synonymous with success and part of the American dream, positioned proponents
to showcase Amendment 31 as the way to ensure that children would learn English
while simultaneously eliminating bilingual education programs in which they
believed students had failed to learn English. Proponents constructed and used
discourse to argue in favor of Amendment 31. Arguments were presented in public
forums such as in debates, and through media messages in print, radio broadcast,
and television. The strongest assertions argued by proponents were that bilingual
education was a disastrous failure that needed to be eliminated, and that
Amendment 31 would ensure that instruction in schools be officially and
exclusively in English, particularly for teaching English learners.
Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213) was presented
to Colorado voters in two ways. The title and summary of Amendment 31,

consisting of 285 words, was the question posed before voters on the 2002 ballot.
While the title did not include every detail of the proposed amendment, it provided a
description of the most salient aspects of the Amendment 31. The full text of
Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213) included 1,949 words
that provided the details of the measure, which can be found in Appendix A. The
official title and summary, as certified for the ballot, is in its entirety as follows:
Amendment 31 English Language Education
Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado constitution concerning
English-language education in Colorado public schools, and, in connection
therewith, requiring children to be taught by using the English language in
their classrooms and requiring children who are learning English to be
placed in an English immersion program that is intended to last one year or
less and, if successful, will result in placement of such children in ordinary
classrooms; exempting from such requirements those children whose parents
or legal guardians obtain annual waivers allowing the children to transfer
to classes using bilingual education or other educational methodologies, but
making such waivers very difficult to obtain because the school can grant
them only in very restrictive circumstances and can deny them for any
reason or no reason thereby reducing the likelihood that bilingual education
will be used; requiring schools that grant any waivers to offer bilingual
education or other educational methodologies when they have at least 20
students in the same grade who receive a waiver and in all other cases
permitting students to transfer to a public school in which bilingual
education or other methodologies are offered, with the cost of such transfer,
excluding transportation, to be provided by the state; allowing a parent or
legal guardian to sue public employees granting a waiver if the parent or
guardian later concludes that the waiver was granted in error and injured
the child's education; creating severe legal consequences identified in the
amendment for such public employees who willfully and repeatedly refuse to
implement the amendment; and requiring schools to test children learning
English, enrolled in second grade or higher, to monitor their progress, using
a standardized nationally-normed test of academic subject matter given in
English? (Colorado English Language Education, 2002)

Description of the Present Study
This case study examined the construction and use of arguments about
language education policy which were used by opposing political campaigns to
persuade the voting public to adopt or reject Amendment 31 (English Language
Education, 44 P.3d 213). The arguments presented during 12 publicly aired debates
between June 26, 2002, and October 24, 2002, were the focus of this study, and
were critically examined. Because the discourse of the debates contributed to the
defeat of Amendment 31, the debates, the debaters, and the questions posed to
debaters, comprised the context in which each side argued to persuade voters to
either support or reject Amendment 31. This case study also examined printed
campaign documents, and official documents from the office of the Colorado
Secretary of State, both disseminated to the voting public.
Problem Statement
The direct democracy citizen initiative process that had been successfully
used to establish state-level official English language policy was once again used as
a leading strategy in efforts to enact language policy. This time, language education
policy was proposed to restrict the language of instruction exclusively to English.
Beginning in 1998 with Californias Proposition 227: English for the Children
(1998), subsequent measures have been proposed through the use of citizen
initiatives and adopted by wide margins in Arizona in 2000 (Proposition 203, 2000),
and Massachusetts in 2002 (Question 2, 2002). The problem is that language
education policy, then, has been determined not by education experts but by the
voting public. This is further exacerbated by politicians who also are not usually
experts in matters of education. The role of discourse in persuading voters toward a
certain opinion may lead to justifying language restrictionism for reasons unrelated
to educational practice.

Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213) was proposed to
Colorado voters in 2002 as the solution to the perceived problem that English
learners in bilingual education programs failed to learn English. In their discourse,
Yes-on-31 built on the assumption that everyone wants children to learn English,
and that English is a desired resource by all parents. The importance of parent rights
taken together with the importance of knowing English served as one of the main
foundations of Yes-on-31s claims that Amendment 31 was necessary in Colorado.
Purpose of the Study
The social struggle that surrounds linguistic diversity is played out in the
day-to-day discourse that surrounds public events. The proposal of Amendment 31
(English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213) led to the formal organization of two
opposing political action campaigns. The proponents were English for the Children,
referred to here as Yes-on-31; and the opponents were English Plus, referred to here
as No-on-31. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to illuminate the
complexities of the context within which official discourse was constructed in favor
and against Amendment 31. Also, the analysis examined arguments presented by
opposing sides in public debates to understand more deeply how the arguments may
have shaped voter understanding of issues implicit in Amendment 31 (English
Language Education, 44 P.3d 213), and essentially how voters were persuaded to
vote for or against Amendment 31 (Lincoln & Guba, 1985, p. 214). This case study
provided the opportunity to compare two rival propositions that reflect major
differences in public beliefs... (LeCompte & Preissle, 1993, p. 76). As might be
expected in the context of debate, each side constructed arguments and counter-
arguments around conventional truths, which they used consistently throughout the
campaign to shape voter perceptions.
The appeal to the voter was to support Amendment 31 (English Language
Education, 44 P.3d 213) as a measure that would protect the rights of children to

benefit from an adequate education, which included learning English. The counter-
argument made by No-on-31 challenged the assertion that bilingual education
programs in Colorado were failing. No-on-31 tried to deconstruct the argument that
bilingual education is a failure, and then reconstruct a counter-argument to highlight
evidence of research and practice to support that in Colorado, bilingual education
proved to be an effective way for English learners to learn English. The No-on-31
response to the generalized attacks on bilingual education was to point to and
describe what bilingual education looked like in Colorado, and provide data that
they claimed demonstrated the success of bilingual education programs. No-on-31
never disputed that everyone wants children to learn English. The arguments used to
oppose Amendment 31 were aimed instead to move voters to examine and question
the details of mandates written into Amendment 31. No-on-31 repeatedly pointed to
what it saw as problematic aspects of Amendment 31 in an effort to move voters to
examine and question the details of the measure in deciding whether to support or
oppose Amendment 31.
Recently, language policy has been enacted by means of voter-initiated
ballot proposals where language education policy is determined not by educators but
by the voting public. Ballot initiatives, such as Colorados Amendment 31 (English
Language Education, 44 P.3d 213), have been used to establish an official language
education policy with respect to the public education of immigrant children and
ultimately all children. In California Proposition 227 of 1998, Arizona Proposition
203 of 2000, and in Massachusetts Question 2 of 2002, measures similar to
Colorados Amendment 31 were adopted by a comfortable margin.
In Colorado, Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213)
was defeated at the polls; a result unprecedented in the recent history of such ballot
initiatives. Polling results indicated that, initially, Amendment 31 would have been

adopted by 66 to 80% of registered voters. Voter perception changed from June 26,
2002, to November 5, 2002, resulting in the eventual defeat of the measure
(Colorado Secretary of State, 2002). Colorados defeat of Amendment 31 represents
the only state, to date, where voters have chosen not to adopt a proposed anti-
bilingual education measure like Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44
P.3d 213). The focus of this study was to understand how official discourse was
constructed by political campaigns with opposing views, how the discourse in texts
worked to shape perception and understanding of bilingual education, and how the
texts and context were related to the social struggle of persuading voters to vote for
or against Amendment 31.1 conducted this dissertation study to further an
understanding of how the construction of discourse by each side may have played a
role in persuading voters in deciding whether or not to adopt Amendment 31.
Although a case study is limited in terms of the generalizations that can be
made to other cases, understanding the events that unfolded during this campaign in
Colorado may inform how such initiatives might play out in other states. The
findings will contribute to our general understanding of the dynamics of official
discourse related to language policy, specifically language education policy, in the
U.S. To date there is little in-depth study about the political campaign to defeat
Amendment 31 (see Escamilla, Shannon, Carlos, & Garcia, 2003; Palozzi, 2006). A
careful analysis of the only defeat of such a measure will be invaluable for those
interested in how discourse and its dissemination may have impacted the outcome.
What My Study Contributes to the Literature
Any kind of social struggle can be understood by analyzing the construction
and use of discourse that surrounds it; the way different competitors express their
views. The purpose of analyzing data is to understand what people said, how they
argued their view, and to identify the assumptions embedded in the discourse. In
this case study about debates surrounding Amendment 31 (English Language

Education, 44 P.3d 213), the discourse was a manifestation of the social struggle
around issues of language restrictionismprohibitions on the use of languages
other than English (Galindo & Vigil, 2004)and specifically about the best way to
educate English learners. Research is one way to gain an understanding of the
This case study involves a particular understanding of the discoursethe use
of discourse toward the specific goal of persuading voters. The case of Amendment
31 happened as part of a larger context, that being a national movement toward
efforts to enact English as the official language at the national level. The direct
democracy process has been one strategy for enacting official English legislation at
the state level, as citizens have used the direct democracy process to propose
language policy legislation.
This case involved the analysis of one way that the struggle about the best
way to educate English learners was played out in debates around a citizen initiative
to amend the Colorado constitution. Proponents used the direct democracy process
to place a voter-initiated measure on the ballot. Each side then struggled to make its
own case in an effort to influence voters who were charged with determining the
merit of the measure at the polls. Discourse served as a site of struggle to persuade
voters to adopt or reject the proposed constitutional amendment. How do we
understand this phenomenon? Why is it important to understand?
In this study, I used Latino critical theory (LatCrit) to examine the data. The
study of language rights and language restrictionism as experienced by Latinos is
central to the LatCrit theory (Delgado & Stefancic, 1998). This study presents a real
world situation in which Amendment 31 (2002) was defeated after initial polls
suggested that 80% of voters would likely vote in favor of the measure. This case
study adds to the literature because it takes a deeper look at how discourse was used
by two social movements to express opposing views about the best way to educate
English learners. The defeat of Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44

P.3d 213) was unique in the recent history of ballot initiatives surrounding language
restriction policy. It represents the compelling case of an underdog perspective
successfully resisting a nativist stance, a significant and rare occurrence when
considering the historical and sociopolitical context in which this case is situated.
This study critically examined the actual discourse constructed and used to persuade
the public to support or oppose the enactment of a proposed language education
policy. The findings have implications for those who would use discourse to
advance their political agendas.
My Own Political Agenda
My interest in researching this particular topic emerged from my
professional experiences as well as whom I am personally. I am a U.S. bom native
Spanish speaker, fortunate enough to be bilingual and biliterate in Spanish and
English. As I advanced my education in the field of school psychology, I realized
that there was a great need for scholarly research and practice in the area of
bilingual special education. I found myself in a unique position to help families and
children in a manner that most of my colleagues could not in that I could bridge
linguistic and cultural gaps more easily because I could communicate in Spanish
and in English.
Professionally, I worked in the field of bilingual education with researchers
and practitioners at the university level. I helped to contribute to research which
supports the benefits of bilingualism and biliteracy. The research has been
especially meaningful to me because my own life experiences have been reflected in
the literature. My belief that bilingual education should be a viable option for
parents and children who want to choose bilingualism and biliteracy shifted from a
personal opinion to an orientation informed by scholarly research and practice.
In 1999, when the first anti-bilingual education proposal was brought to
Colorado, I became involved in the organization opposing the measure. I eventually

served as the vice-chair of English Plus for the No-on-31 campaign. The experience
I had in helping to defeat Amendment 31 awakened in me a curiosity from an
entirely different perspective. I experienced, from an insider perspective, how
politics and education came together to construct discourse used to challenge a
proposal that would eliminate effective programs across the state. I was particularly
astounded by the power of discourse; the effectiveness of arguments and counter-
arguments. My own belief is that bilingual education works, and that every quality
program should be an available option for those who want it.
In completing this dissertation study, I used particularly rigorous methods of
analysis to interrogate and to reduce the effects of my bias. I carefully chose data
that could be analyzed objectively, and I took every measure to ensure that both
sides were fairly considered. For this reason, I chose debates where both sides were
represented and where other sources of information could substantiate the accuracy
of the discourse used in the debates being analyzed. While I considered this
primarily from the perspective of education, I acknowledge that many other
perspectives could be used to critically examine the same discourse.
Theoretical and Conceptual Framework
The theoretical stance which underpins this study (Merriam, 1998, p. 45) is
the framework of Latino critical theory (LatCrit). LatCrit theory is a refined and
focused area within critical race theory, and also within critical theory which is
overarching to both. In this study, LatCrit theory was used to examine the way
objective facts were used to preserve the status quo and to promote the interests of
the majority (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001). In conjunction with LatCrit theory, three
concepts served to guide this study. Language restrictionism rooted in nativism was
used to examine the discourse of Yes-on-31 as reflecting efforts toward restrictive
language education policy. Direct democracy was used to examine the political
process used to propose the restrictive language education policy to the voting

public. And, the social struggle in discourse was used to examine the discourse used
in the context of public debate to persuade the voting public to support or oppose
Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213). The components of
this theoretical and conceptual framework are described in the sections that follow.
LatCrit Theory
Critical theory is a process of inquiry primarily concerned with inequality of
power and resource distribution. Understanding how inequalities are produced and
reinforced can inform struggles against inequality and efforts of resistance against
tactics to control resources, such as those used in public education (Carspecken &
Apple, 1992; Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995; Payne, 2000; Rabinow, 1984). Critical
race theory, a focused area within critical theory, grew out of the civil rights
movement based in concerns by scholars that gains of the civil rights era were
slowly eroding (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 1995; Taylor, 2000). In an effort to
produce meaningful racial reform (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001), new strategies
were identified toward achieving racial justice. One tenet fundamental to critical
race theory, and applied in this study, is that minorities hold a unique competence
for critically examining and speaking about issues of racism because of their
experiences as minorities (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Ladson-Billings & Tate,
1995; Taylor, 2000). In the mid 1990s, a group of Latino and Latina scholars came
together to research and publish about issues specific to Latinos, and it was this
coming together that marked the inception of LatCrit theory (Delgado & Stefancic,
2001; Johnson & Martinez, n.d.; Martinez, 2000; Solorzano & Yosso, 2001).
The aim of LatCrit theory is to uncover that which lies below the surface and
to expose the underlying power relations. In this study, LatCrit theory informed the
examination of traditional paradigms [that] act as a camouflage for the self-interest,
power, and privilege of dominant groups in U.S. society (Solorzano & Bernal,
2001, p. 313). Central to this studys analysis of competing discourses were the

issues at the heart of the LatCrit theory, including issues of immigration, language
rights, bilingual schooling, the official English movement, nativism, and language
restrictionism, where U.S. bom and immigrant Latinos are the target (Delgado &
Stefancic, 2001; Johnson & Martinez, n.d.).
In Colorado, Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213)
would have changed the Colorado State Constitution with a restrictive language
education policy disguised by the proponents as a measure to ensure that students in
public schools were learning English; the importance of English being central. The
group that would have been most affected by Amendment 31 were Latino and
Spanish speaking, both U.S. citizens and immigrants. In the majority of public
school programs in Colorado, Spanish was the primary language used for the
instruction of English learners. Within the Colorado political context prevailed the
fear of immigration and the fear of losing political control. The proposed language
education policy was another in a long line of efforts targeting Latinos with
language as a proxy for racism. Chapter two delves deeper into these perspectives.
Language Restrictionism Rooted in Nativism
Nativism as practiced through language restrictionism is defined by Arnold
Leibowitz (1974) and used by Galindo and Vigil (2004) as:
The official designation of a particular language, such as English, for
use in a given domain, like education, and the prohibition of the use
of other languages in that domain (p. 28).
It is this definition of language restrictionism that is used in this study. Language
policies are often introduced in response to demographic changes involving
immigrant groups whose primary language is not English (Galindo & Vigil, 2004).

In debates about language policy, those who favor language restrictionism
seem to appeal to their sense of nativism. Nativism" is generally defined as the
belief in giving native Whites a privileged status (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001;
Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Wiley & Wright, 2004), and the maintaining of political
dominance, or control, by native Whites (San Miguel, Jr. & Valencia, 1998).
Huntington (2004) specifically labels White nativism as a movement:
A plausible reaction to the demographic changes underway in the
U.S. [which] could be the rise of an anti-Hispanic, anti-black, and
anti-immigrant movement composed largely of white, working-and
middle-class males, protesting their job losses to immigrants and
foreign countries, the perversion of the culture, and the displacement
of their language (p. 14).
Concurring descriptions found in the literature indicate that nativist attitudes
are expressed through anti-immigrant sentiments (Wortham, Murrillo, Jr., Hamann,
2002; Acuna, 1988). The appeal toward nativism seems to stem from wanting some
kind of protection against whatever threats immigrants might pose. Speaking
English like a native speaker or being a native speaker of English is a hallmark of
nativism (Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Schmidt, 2000; Wiley
& Wright, 2004). From the view of language restrictionism, the mere fact that most
immigrants speak a language other than English, and that many adult immigrants
will not acquire native-like English proficiency in their lifetimes, is a threat to what
it means to be a loyal and patriotic American (Galindo & Vigil, 2006). The English-
only movement and the anti-bilingual movements are reactions that used direct
democracy to respond to this fear by enacting policies to prohibit the use of
languages other than English (Galindo & Vigil, 2004). 2
2 The use of nativism in this study should not be confused with linguistic nativism, the
language theory (see Scholz & Pullam, 2002)

Direct Democracy
Direct democracy was rooted in ancient Greece as a form of government
where all citizensat times 5,000 to 6,000convened in a general assembly to
directly participate in the process of formulating and adopting laws or to decide on
local issues (Finley, 1973). Early in U.S. history, direct democracy was practiced in
a similar manner in the New England colonies in the 1630s in the form of town
meetings (Eule, 2000; Kreis, 2000; Mattson, 2000; McCuaig, 2004; Singer, 1973;
Defining Democracy, n.d.; Direct Democracy, 2005).
In modern times, direct democracy is embodied by decision-making groups,
such as with a tribal council, the local unit of a labor union, or a school board. The
group convenes, discusses issues, and arrives at a decision typically through
consensus or majority vote. All citizens or members of the group participate directly
in face-to-face dialogue toward making changes (Eule, 2000; Kreis, 2000; Mattson,
2000; McCuaig, 2004; Singer, 1973; Defining Democracy, n.d.; Direct Democracy,
2005). In the U.S., there are mainly three devices of direct democracy currently
employed. There is the legislative referendum, which is used to refer a proposed or
existing law or statute to voters for their approval or rejection (Cronin, 1999, p. 2).
There is the recall, which is when citizens can recall recalcitrant representatives
(Bowler, Donovan, & Tolbert, 1998, p. 2). The recall is similar to impeachment,
however, it differs in that the people, not the legislature, initiate the [recall]
election and determine the outcome with their votes (Cronin, 1999, p. 2). The third
form is the citizen initiative, which is used by citizens to draft legislation. Initiatives
are defined as laws that are written by citizens and placed on the ballot by citizen
petition (Gerber, et al., 2001, p.7).
Direct democracy is also a state-level policy making process in some states
through which citizens can draft legislation to be considered directly by the voters
(Bowler, Donovan, & Tolbert, 1998; Cronin, 1999; Warner, 1995; Magleby, 1984

and 1994; Mattson, 2000). Twenty-four states and the District of Columbia permit
citizen initiated direct initiatives. These states include Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas,
California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Mississippi,
Missouri, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma,
Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming, and Washington (Cronin, 1999; Gerber, et
al., 2001). The concept of direct democracy as used in this study describes the
citizen-initiative process as one that allows voters to propose a legislative measure
or a constitutional amendment by filing a petition bearing a required number of
valid citizen signatures (Cronin, 1999, p. 2). Amendment 31 (English Language
Education, 44 P.3d 213) was a citizen initiative intended to amend the Colorado
State Constitution with a restrictive language education policy.
Bowler, et al. (1998) point out that there is some consistency across states
regarding the initial phases of the direct legislation process (p. 7). All three direct
democracy devices involve the circulation of petitions, and it is the Secretary of
State who oversees this process. Requests for circulating petitions are submitted to
the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State then sets an official title and
description to appear on the public petition (Bowler, et al., 1998, p. 7). The
Secretary of State also provides procedural rules; these rules will vary across states.
The procedural rules address the number of ballot measures allowed in any given
election, how petitions are circulated, the time period within which petitions can be
circulated, and the number of signatures needed to qualify the ballot measure.
Colorados process is consistent with the description provided here.
Social Struggle in Discourse
The idea of social struggle in discourse comes from the work of Fairclough
(1989), and is rooted in works by Pierre Bourdieu (see 1977, 1982, 1984), Antonio
Gramsci (see 1971), and Michel Foucault (see 1982). Fairclough identifies (a) text,
(b) interaction, and (c) social context as three elements of discourse. In trying to

understand various dimensions of the relations of power and language, Fairclough
asserts that power is exercised and enacted in discourse, and discourse is shaped by
relations of power. When hierarchy and power are at stake, control over discourse is
a mechanism for sustaining power (Bourdieu, 1999; Fairclough, 1989; Rabinow,
Control over discourse is not a permanent and undisputed attribute of
any one person or social grouping. On the contrary, those who hold
power at a particular moment have to constantly reassert their power,
and those who do not hold power are always liable to make a bid for
power....Power at all these levels is won, exercised, sustained, and
lost in the course of social struggle (Fairclough, 1989, p. 68).
Social struggle in discourse happens because of the role that discourse plays in
maintaining existing power relations or transforming them (Fairclough, 1989).
One dimension of power is controlling the features of discourse so that
ideologies can more easily be embedded in perspectives that are likely to be taken
for granted, and to ensure that one stance is favored over another. Fairclough
(1989), argues that discourse presented as conventional truth is rarely examined or
questioned. Discourse, then, is a site of social struggle because there is always some
degree of ideological diversity. Those who hold power work to determine what
views are included and excluded, how events are represented, and whose
perspective is adopted. Opportunities to construct, develop, and disseminate
discourse are unequally accessible to social groups. Those who hold a stance
counter to the dominant stance are also constantly engaged in efforts to challenge
that which is presented as conventional truth (Bourdieu, 1999; Fairclough, 1989;
Rabinow, 1984).
In this study, the discourse constructed by opposing political campaigns was
surrounded by a political context that was not isolated; rather, opposing discourses
were constructed for the specific purpose of persuading voters to support or oppose
Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213). The context

surrounding the opposing political campaigns held that public schools have an
obligation to ensure that all childrenimmigrant and U.S. citizens alikelearn
English. The construction of discourse, together with the idea that policy is the
expression of political power through the use of language that is adopted,
legitimated, and enforced (Peskett, 2001), underscores that Faircloughs concept of
social struggle in discourse, as defined here, was central to understanding the
discourse analyzed in this case. Understanding how official discourse was
constructed and argued in 12 debates by opposing political campaigns revealed
aspects of the role of discourse in persuading the voting public.
The Research Questions
Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213) prompted an
intense struggle between two organizations representing opposing positions on the
issue. This case study explored the two perspectives expressed through discourse
constructed by each political campaign with the assumption that the discourse
constructed and argued played a role in persuading voters to vote in opposition to
Amendment 31. Two research questions served to guide this study:
1. How was the official discourse constructed by the opponents and
proponents of Amendment 31?
2. Did the dynamics of nativism play a role in the construction of the official
discourse of the opponents and proponents of Amendment 31 ?
Overview of Methods
This qualitative case study (Stake, 1995) focused on the unique occurrence
of Colorados defeat of Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213)
in the 2002 General Election. The foci of analysis were the official discourses
constructed by English for the Children: Yes-on-31 and English Plus: No-on-31, the
official political campaigns for and against Amendment 31, respectively. The

primary data were discourse constructed and disseminated through Yes-on-31 and
No-on-31. Arguments presented by these two opposing sides in 12 debates were the
subject of chronological analysis, content analysis, critical discourse analysis, and a
process of constant comparison (Creswell, 1998; Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Marshall
& Rossman, 1999; Merriam, 1998; Moustakas, 1994; Rosengren, 1981; Strauss &
Corbin, 1998).
The nature of qualitative research is such that questions inevitably evolve
and change throughout the research process. It was virtually impossible to anticipate
new findings and discoveries that emerged. A process of constant comparison
analysis was also used in this study comparison (Creswell, 1998; Lincoln & Guba,
1985; Marshall & Rossman, 1999; Merriam, 1998; Moustakas, 1994; Rosengren,
1981; Strauss & Corbin, 1998). Stake asserts that research questions can serve to
draw attention to the complexity and contextuality of the case by attending
particularly to details of struggle and conflict. The nature of people and systems
become more transparent during their struggles (Stake, 1995, pp. 16-17).
Limitations of the Study
This case study was an analysis of the construction of official discourse in
favor and against Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213). The
analysis examined arguments presented by opposing sides in 12 public debates to
understand how the arguments may have shaped voter understanding of issues
implicit in Amendment 31, and ultimately how the majority of voters were
persuaded to vote against Amendment 31. There were a multitude of perspectives
from which the defeat of Amendment 31 could have been examined. Single case
studies are limited in breadth (Stake, 1995; Yin, 2003).
The primary data set was limited to the discourse constructed and used by
the official Yes-on-31 and No-on-31 campaigns during 12 public debates. This
limited the scope of analysis because statements made by either Yes-on-31 or No-

on-31 beyond the 12 debates were not examined, such as in forums where only one
side was represented. The data were also limited because the spokespeople
representing each side, Yes-on-31 and No-on-31, were few in number. The small
number of debaters limited the variability of discourse and counter-discourse used
within the context of 12 debates.
Data from the media was limited to printed newspaper stories, and only used
in an effort to verify the consistency of arguments used in debates by each side (Yin,
2003). The critical analysis of discourse appearing in television or radio news
stories, or in printed news stories about Amendment 31, were beyond the scope of
this study. Similarly, there were campaign ads purchased by each side for television
and radio broadcast and for print media spots to convey persuasive arguments by
each side. While the broadcast and printed news stories, and the purchased media
ads, were also used to verify the consistency of arguments, a deeper examination of
the content was beyond the scope of this case study.
The role of campaign finance for each side was beyond the scope of this
study. It could be argued that voter perception was influenced by the large amount
of private funds donated by Ron Unz to finance the Yes-on-31 campaign. It could
also be argued that a $3 million dollar donation to No-on-31 from the parent of a
child in a dual language program influenced voter perception. The number of people
who contributed financially to each campaign, to what degree, and where they were
from were aspects beyond the scope of this study.
As a case study, this analysis of the discourse in the debates on the specific
case of Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213) from June 26,
2002, to November 5, 2002, in the state of Colorado, shares the limitations of all
case studies in terms of generalizability (Stake, 1995). This case study was situated
in a unique context, within a specific timeframe, surrounded by particular
circumstances that cannot be recreated within different circumstances. On the other
hand, this in-depth case study points to discourse strategies that may provide

insights to inform the understanding in similar cases where other political
campaigns are interested in persuading voters on the basis of shared or coordinating
interests (Stake, 1995).
Finally, another limitation concerns my personal role in the campaign,
explained above. While I cannot claim that my analysis was not influenced by that
personal role, my acute awareness of the potential for bias caused me to use a very
high degree of rigor in the process of analysis, resulting in what I believe is a solid
argument based on the discourse itself.
Organization of the Dissertation
The following chapters include the review of the literature in Chapter 2, the
description of methods in Chapter 3, the findings which respond to research
question one in Chapter 4, findings which address research question two in Chapter
5, discussion of findings as seen through the LatCrit theory in Chapter 6, and
implications and conclusions in Chapter 7.

The enactment of language policies has been a major manifestation of the
larger social struggle among different groups for power, privilege and influence
over time and around the world. The literature reviewed for this study includes (a)
language policy in the U.S., (b) language policy in education, and (c) the use of
direct democracy as a strategy to enact nativist language policy. The literature
reviewed in this chapter points out how fear and control are embedded in language
policy in the current context of two arenas. First, the education arena where the No
Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 makes particular mandates regarding the
education of English Learners and English language acquisition, and second, the
political arena where issues of immigration are at the forefront. The literature
reviewed also highlights nativist efforts that have typically used language as a proxy
for nativism and racism. Some cases have been played out in the context of direct
democracy and have resulted in the passage of seemingly benign language policy
that when examined more closely served to legitimize nativist language policy.
Abundant examples were found of how language policy is developed,
proposed, and enacted. Though more sparse, the literature also includes studies that
have examined the process of constructing and disseminating discourse around
education policy issues in the U.S. There are also a limited number of studies that
have looked at the role of discourse in persuading voters to decide on language
education policy. These bodies of literature are critical, especially given the recent
use of direct democracy toward the adoption of nativist education policies where
language of instruction, specifically, is the target.

As described by Secada and Lightfoot (1993), Bilingual education lies at
the juncture of not one, but two hotly contested political arenas. The first involves
language, and the second involves education (p. 36). The debates around
Amendment 31 were part of a real life phenomenon that provided an opportunity to
examine one aspect of how the use of discourse resulted in a resistance to nativist
language education policy. What follows is a review of literature defining bilingual
education. This will be followed by a chronological historical review of language
policy in the U.S., an analysis of language policy in the U.S., and finally an
examination of direct democracy in the U.S.
Bilingual Education
Currently in education, the No Child Left Behind Act (2001) controls the
parameters within which bilingual education is shaped. The NCLB also influences
the variety of program models through which bilingual education is delivered.
Bilingual education varies from state to state, district to district, and school to
school. Regardless of the language education model adopted by a school, the NCLB
Act (2001) requires every school nationwide to establish standards of accountability
for student progress in academics, and for English learners in English language
acquisition (August & Shanahan, 2006; CDE, 2007; Francis, Lesaux & August,
2006; Genesee, Lindholm-Leary, Saunders & Christian, 2006; Miramontes, Nadeau,
& Commins, 1997; NCELA, 2007; Ovando, Combs, & Collier, 2006; Peregoy &
Boyle, 2005; Thomas & Collier, 2001; Valdes, 2001; Zelasko & Antunez, 2000).
Each district and school interfaces in a complex way with federal and state
guidelines to determine which program models will best meet the needs of the
students. For example, the U.S. Department of Education and the Colorado
Department of Education (CDE) both state on their respective websites that there
are a variety of programs that can be implemented in delivering education to
English learners because one program model does not meet the diverse needs across

the nation (CDE, 2007; NCELA, 2007; U.S. Department of Education, 2006).
Bilingual education is a simple label for a complex phenomenon (Cazden &
Snow, 1990 cited in Ovando et al., 2006, p. 9; Galindo, 2004).
The literature provides a core set of elements which can be found in any
bilingual education program (August & Shanahan, 2006; CDE, 2007; Francis et al.,
2006; Genesee et al., 2006; Milk, 1993; Miramontes et al., 1997; NCELA, 2007;
Ovando et al., 2006; Peregoy & Boyle, 2005; Rolstad, Mohoney & Glass, 2005;
Thomas & Collier, 2001; Valdes, 2001; Zelasko & Antunez, 2000). The first core
element of bilingual education is that students are expected to acquire a second
language (L2). For most students in the U.S. this is English. In few instances, such
as with dual immersion, a native English speaker may be expected to learn a non-
English second language.
The second core element in bilingual education is that content instruction is
delivered in English (L2) with varying degrees of the primary language (LI) to
support the student in accessing the core curriculum. In programs where English is
used exclusively for formal instruction, there is typically an English as a Second
Language (ESL) component. ESL is a system of instruction that employs techniques
to make English language instruction comprehensible to students with limited
English proficiency. ESL is an important component in bilingual education
programs because these techniques facilitate the students learning of the second
language, English, while also learning cognitively demanding academic material.
The third core element is that in bilingual education, the primary language
(LI) of the student is developed to varying degrees. Five program models are most
frequently used in public schools across the nation. These five models are referred
to by a variety of terms, but are in essence commonly known as: pull-out ESL,
content based ESL, early exit, late exit, and two way bilingual. Table 2.1 illustrates
the five bilingual education program models most frequently used in public schools
(Adapted from NCELA, 2007; CDE, 2007; Commins, 2006 instructor notes).

Table 2.1 Five bilingual education program models frequently used in public
school education.
Who the program is for Use of students primary language Linguistic goal
Pull-out ESL
For English language learners (ELLs). Students with the same or with different primary languages (LI) can be grouped. LI is not used for instruction. English, together with ESL techniques are used. Students are instructed outside of the classroom. English acquisition
Content-based ESL
For ELL students with the same or with different primary languages (LI). No LI instruction. Instruction is in English, together with ESL, and delivered in the classroom. English acquisition
For ELL students with the same LI. Early exit The LI is used only for the purpose of helping the student transition into English. English acquisition
Late exit
For ELL students with the same LI. Instruction is delivered in the LI and in English. As the student gains proficiency in English, the degree of English instruction increases. Bilingualism
For both ELL students who share the same LI and native English-speaking students. Two-way The LI, such as Spanish, is used to a significant degree for content and language arts instruction. Bilingualism
(Source: Adapted from NCELA, 2007; CDE, 2007; Commins, 2006 instructor notes)

The main difference between the models is the varying degree to which a
students primary language (LI) is used for instruction, and whether the linguistic
goal is restricted to the acquisition of English or is expanded to the development of
both English and the native language (August & Shanahan, 2006; CDE, 2007;
Francis, Lesaux & August, 2006; Genesee, Lindholm-Leary, Saunders & Christian,
2006; Milk, 1993; Miramontes, Nadeau, & Commins, 1997; NCELA, 2007; Ovando
et al., 2006; Peregoy & Boyle, 2005; Rolstad, Mohoney & Glass, 2005; Thomas &
Collier, 2001; Valdes, 2001; Zelasko & Antunez, 2000).
Francis, Lesaux and August (2006) found that there are three reasons why
Spanish is the native language used in most bilingual programs in the U.S. First, the
critical mass of English learners found in most communities are Spanish speakers.
Second, among bilingual teachers, most are Spanish-English bilinguals. And third,
most bilingual teaching materials are available in Spanish-English, with very limited
materials in other languages.
While bilingual education has been practiced in the U.S. throughout this
nations relatively short history, the legislation of bilingual education at the federal
level is recent, as is the research base. While it is beyond the scope of the current
study to provide an exhaustive review of previously published research on bilingual
education, the following syntheses by August and Shanahan (2006) and Genesee,
Lindholm-Leary, Saunders and Christian (2006) are included here because they
provide the most recent and comprehensive review of research about effective
instruction for English learners.
The August and Shanahan (2006) review, the U.S. Department of Education
charged The National Literacy Panel on Language-Minority Children and Youth to
identify, assess, and synthesize research on the education of language-minority
students with respect to literacy attainment of English learners. The comprehensive

report addressed the question, Is it better to immerse students in English-language
instruction, or are there benefits to developing literacy in English as well as in the
native language"? (Francis, Lesaux, & August, 2006, p. 365).
The 16 studies reviewed to address this question met specific criteria.
Studies were published in peer-reviewed journals, had a sample of at least 50%
English learners, programs had a minimum 6-month span between the onset of
instruction and the posttest, experiment and quasi-experiments had control groups or
comparison groups, and matching criteria, the use of random assignment to
conditions, or pre-testing was employed to establish a degree of comparability
between groups prior to the treatment.
Studies reviewed by Francis et al. (2006) were cited in previous reviews
completed by Greene (1998), Rossell and Baker (1996), Slavin and Cheung (2004)
and Willig (1985). Francis et al. (2006) presented findings from previous reviews.
One finding was that ultimate English reading performance can be strongly
predicted by a childs reading proficiency in the native language (August & Hakuta,
1997; Greene, 1998; and Willig, 1985). Another finding was that bilingualism does
not interfere with the academic achievement of students in either language (Yeung,
Marsh, & Suliman, 2000). A third finding was that acquired literacy skills transfer
from the native language to the second language (Cummins, 1978, 1979, 1984).
According to Francis et al. (2006), proponents of bilingual education argue
for the use of native language instruction while students are learning English based
on the findings cited above. Additionally, proponents cite academic and cognitive
benefits of bilingualism, and that without native language instruction most students
inevitably lose proficiency in their native language. Opponents of bilingual
education argue that native language instruction impedes the English language
acquisition process of students because of decreased opportunities for time on task
in English (Francis et al., 2006, p. 368; Rossell, 2000). Also, opponents of
bilingual education argue that programs using native language instruction are targets

of criticism for relegating children who receive such instruction to a second-class,
separate status within the school, and, ultimately, within society (Glenn, 2000 cited
in Francis, Lesaux, & August, 2006, p. 368).
Findings cited by opponents of bilingual education were also identified in
the studies reviewed by Francis et al. (2006), and are summarized here. For
example, in the Baker and de Kanter (1981) review on the education of language-
minority students, 28 program evaluations were analyzed to address the research
question, Should bilingual education be mandated? Baker and de Kanter (1981)
concluded that The case for the effectiveness of transitional bilingual education is
so weak that exclusive reliance on this instruction method is clearly not justified
(p.l) (cited in Francis et al., 2006, p. 369).
Rossell and Bakers 1996 review, which was based on the 1981 Baker and
de Kanter review and the 1984 Baker and Pelavin research, also examined if
bilingual education should be mandated. Rossell and Baker examined 72 studies that
evaluated alternative second-language programs, and concluded that most
methodologically adequate studies failed to find transitional bilingual education
more effective than programs with English-only instruction (Francis et al., 2006, p.
369). Francis et al. note that the authors do not state that English-only instruction is
more effective, but merely that bilingual instruction should not be the only approach
mandated by law (p. 369), in both the Baker and de Kanter review, and in the
Rossell and Baker review.
Willigs 1985 meta-analysis of the 1981 Baker and de Kanter review
addressed the question, Does bilingual education work? Of 28 studies used by
Baker and de Kanter, Willig used 21 primary studies, situated in the U.S., where the
instruction took place inside the classroom. Willigs conclusions differed from those
of Baker and de Kanter. Willig made two main comparisons. First, bilingual
education programs with ESL instruction and bilingual education programs without
ESL instruction were compared to all English programs with no special instructional

support, referred to by Willig as submersion programs. Secondly, bilingual
education programs with ESL instruction were compared to immersion programs
that included ESL instruction. Willig concluded that bilingual education programs
work better compared to English-only programs (Francis et al., 2006 p. 370).
Greene (1998) conducted a systematic, statistical review of the literature on
the effectiveness of bilingual education. Based on studies reviewed by Rossell and
Baker (1996), Greene began by separating studies cited as scholarly research but, as
he points out, were exaggerated or distorted from studies which met acceptable
standards of research design. The meta-analysis conducted by Greene included 11 of
the 75 studies reviewed by Rossell and Baker (1996). Greene sought to measure
the effects of bilingual programs after at least one academic year (Francis et al.,
2006, p. 370). Greene compared results on standardized test scores in English,
reading measured in English, math measured in English, and all tests taken in
Spanish. Greenes conclusion, which differed from Rossell and Bakers conclusion,
was that the effects of native language instruction programs were significantly more
favorable compared to English-only programs (Francis et al., 2006).
Francis et al. (2006) also reviewed the Slavin and Cheung synthesis of 2004,
which included 13 studies focused on elementary reading for Spanish-dominant
students. When using English reading measures, nine of the 13 studies provided
evidence favoring bilingual approaches, with four finding no difference. Francis et
al. (2006), in examining the conclusions reached by previous reviews, state that
Many reviews that have been labeled as anti-bilingual education found not that the
use of the native language was worse than English-only instruction, but merely that
there were no overall differences (p. 371).
Francis et al. (2006) conducted their own review of research to address the
question, Is it better to immerse students in English-language instruction, or are
there benefits to developing literacy in English as well as in the native language?
(p. 365). The review included 16 comparison studies, some of which were included

in previous reviews and some located in a search of the literature.3 All studies
examined the use of English-only instruction or bilingual education for reading
instruction, with 14 studies at the elementary level and two at the secondary level.
Students were either randomly assigned to the instruction conditions or were
matched on pretest variables. The impact of bilingual education was compared to
the impact of English-only instruction by statistically computing effect size
estimates. Based on the results (Francis et al., 2006), it seems reasonably safe to
conclude that bilingual education has a positive effect on English reading outcomes
that are small to moderate in size (p. 392). Overall, Francis et al. (2006) concluded:
... there is no indication that bilingual instruction impedes academic
achievement in either the native language or English .... Where
differences were observed, on average they favored the students in a
bilingual program. .. .This conclusion held up across the entire
collection of studies and within the subset of studies that used
random assignment of students to conditions (p. 397).
Francis et al. (2006) also concluded that in bilingual education programs children
developed English literacy to the same extent as their peers instructed in English
(p. 398), while also developing native language literacy skills, and this resulted in
bilingual and biliterate children.
The second comprehensive synthesis presented here resulted from the work
of the Center for Research on Education, Diversity & Excellence (CREDE)
(Genesee, Lindholm-Leary, Saunders & Christian, 2006). A 13 member team of
CREDE researchers worked to systematically, thoroughly, and critically review
research on the language and academic development of English learners in the U.S.
in the areas of oral language, literacy development, and academic development. The
Previous reviews include Greene, 1998; Rossell & Baker, 1996; Slavin & Cheung, 2004;
Willig, 1985. The sixteen studies reviewed by Francis, Lesaux, and August, 2006, are: Alvarez,
1975; Campeau et al., 1975; Cohen, Fathman, & Merino, 1976; Covey, 1973; Danoff, Coles,
McLaughlin, & Reynolds, 1978; de La Garza & Medina, 1985; Doebler & Mardis, 1980-1981;
Huzar, 1973; Kaufman, 1968; Lampman, 1973; J. A. Maldonado, 1994; J. R. Maldonado, 1977;
Plante, 1976; Ramirez et al., 1991; Saldate, Mishra, & Medina, 1985; Valladolid, 1991.

entire synthesis included approximately 200 studies situated in a variety of bilingual
education programs and English mainstream classrooms. The studies included were
empirical, conducted in the U.S., published in English after 1981, in peer reviewed
journals or were selected technical reports, and included reading, writing, or
reading- or writing-related outcomes.
In another comprehensive examination of the empirical literature, Genesee
and Riches (2006) synthesized 14 comparison studies that examined issues related
to reading and writing of English learners, specifically regarding language of
instruction.4 They sought to determine the impact of instruction through the native
language as compared to instruction through English alone. They also reviewed
studies where English learners in bilingual education programs were compared to
native English speakers to determine which program was more likely to result in the
English learners achieving parity with native English speakers. The studies were all
at the elementary level, with five studies examining the short-term impact, eight
studies examining the medium-term impact, and three studies examining the long-
term impact. Standardized tests were used to evaluate language of instruction
practices in bilingual programs as well as in English-only programs. Grade Point
Average and locally devised writing and oral language skills rubrics were also used.
Like Francis et al. (2006), Genesee and Riches (2006) explored arguments
favoring and opposing native language instruction. One argument in favor of native
language instruction is the transferability of native language reading acquisition
skills to second language reading acquisition. One argument opposing the use of
native language for instruction is referred to as the time-on-task argument
(Genesee & Riches, 2006, p. 130), and asserts that native language instruction takes
Bacon, Kidd, and Seaberg, 1982; Burnham-Massey and Pina, 1990; Calderon, Hertz-
Lazarowitz, and Slavin, 1998; Carlisle and Beeman, 2000; Ferris and Politzer, 1981; Friedenberg,
1990; Fulton-Scott and Calvin, 1983, Gersten and Woodward, 1995; Howard, Christian, and
Genesee, 2004; Lindholm and Aclan, 1991; Maldonado, 1994; Mortensen, 1984; Ramirez, 1992;
Saldate, Mishra, and Medina, 1985.

time from exposure to the second language and delays second language acquisition.
The arguments cited here concur with arguments cited by Francis et al. (2006).
The studies reviewed by Genesee and Riches (2006) conclude overall that
more exposure to the [native language] in school did not result in slower [second
language] development, as would be predicted by the time-on-task argument
(Genesee & Riches, 2006, p. 130). These findings were contrary to the argument
opposing the use of native language instruction because time-on-task would delay
the second language acquisition. English learners receiving some literacy instruction
in the native language performed the same or better in English reading compared to
English learners receiving English-only literacy and academic instruction. Also,
English learners receiving native language instruction in the primary grades
demonstrate parity with comparison groups after several years. There were similar
findings in studies focused on learning disabled English learners (Maldonado, 1994)
and Cherokee background English learners (Bacon, Kidd, & Seaberg, 1982).
The comprehensive reviews of research presented here (August & Shanahan,
2006; Genesee, Lindholm-Leary, Saunders & Christian, 2006) suggest two
particular findings overall. First, there is evidence to support that skills acquired in
the native language do transfer to the second language. Second, the evidence does
not support the argument that native language instruction impedes English language
acquisition because there is a decrease in time and opportunity for the student to be
engaged in English language tasks.
Despite the research, the debate about language of instruction continues;
some continue to argue in favor of native language instruction while others continue
to argue for English-only instruction. The movement to enact language education
policy has moved this debate to the center of the political arena. The socio-political
climate influences how fiercely proponents and opponents debate the issue. The
following sections examined how official language policy has directly impacted

bilingual education throughout history, and how language policy is often more
influenced by sentiments of fear and control than by empirical research.
Language Policy:
The Current Context of Fear and Control
There are a number of fields of research that have converged on questions of
language rights and language policy. The Consortium of Language Policy and
Planning website (n.d.), is one among many websites dedicated to the study of
language policy, and a number of language policy bibliographies can be found on
this website. The scholarly journals included in the bibliographies represent the
fields of business, philosophy, anthropology, political theory, law, sociolinguistics,
psycholinguistics, ethnic studies, and education, among others. The result is a
spectrum of language policy studies that examine the multitude of reasons for
developing, proposing, and enacting language policy.
The Education Resources Information Center (ERIC) bibliography included
in the Consortium of Language Policy and Planning (n.d.) is of particular interest
because ERIC is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of
Education Sciences (IES). The focus of ERIC is education literature, and the ERIC
article database in its entirety contains over one million bibliographic records. The
ERIC bibliography compiled specifically about the study of language policy, policy
implementation, linguistic ideology, and language standardization includes 465
entries between the years 1961 and 1995. This is notable because, as Hornberger
(1990) points out, although language policy is evident throughout history it has only
been since 1960 that it has been the subject of study. Research has influenced the
variety of ways that language policy is defined.
Policies regarding the use of language in society have served a broad range
of purposes. Ideally, language policy would be guided by a will to respect linguistic
diversity and the linguistic human rights of all, at both the macro or societal, and

micro or individual levels. In reality, linguistic hierarchies exist even in contexts
where democratic norms are embraced. To challenge and resist language restrictions
by going beyond taking an opposing stand, power relations between users of
different languages must be examined and understood more deeply (Phillipson &
Skutnabb-Kangas, 1996; Pool, 1991).
Examination of language policy at the macro level typically requires
addressing social structure and how this structure works to distribute power and
control. Rassool (2000) suggests that national language policy has served to
legitimize the incorporation of discrete social groups into the common [dominant]
culture (p. 57). Language policy, at the macro level, is situated in the framework
within which groups, families, peoples, or individuals operate. Tensions can emerge
involving the conflicts between the rights of society and the rights of individuals,
especially when attempts to maximize language diversity are in tension with
attempts to control linguistic diversity (Fishman, 1991; Phillipson & Skutnabb-
Kangas, 1996).
Language policy can be the result of decisions taken to address a language
problem. Language policy can concretely prescribe mandates about allocation of
resources and specific procedures to be followed in working toward alternative
goals, means, and outcomes to solve the identified language problem (Hernandez-
Chavez, 1995; Homberger, 1990; Fishman, 1991; Mackey, 1979; Ruiz, 1988).
Language policy can define parameters around the role and function of language,
and the variety of languages permitted in a given community or setting. Language
policy can include overt or covert decisions, which can result in intended and
unintended consequences (Phillipson & Skutnabb-Kangas, 1996). The role of
language has been central in nation building, as seen in the research below.
In the cases of France, Spain, and the Philippines, the conflict between a
majority language group and linguistic minority groups has resulted in a range of
language policies. The majority language group has exercised control over shaping

the nation in the image of the dominant culture through promoting a common
language, and also a common sense of national identity and membership (Kymlicka
& Patten, 2003; Phillipson & Skutnabb-Kangas, 1996). Language policy has a
particular dimension when situated in the intersection of the education arena and the
political arena. Researchers found that language education policy is relevant to the
effective delivery of public education and to controlling the language repertoires
shaped for children by the school system, particularly from the two aspects
described next (Homberger, 1990; Kymlicka & Patten, 2003; Phillipson &
Skutnabb-Kangas, 1996).
One aspect of language education policy sets parameters about what
languages are acceptable as a medium for the effective delivery of public education.
Another aspect of language education policy addresses the function of language use
in education. Decisions about language restrictions or linguistic diversity in
language of instruction serve to control the extent to which linguistically diverse
groups can thrive over time. Much like in the greater society, within schools,
language education policy can also serve to control social and political conflict
(Kymlicka & Patten, 2003; Phillipson, 2000). Tollefsons (2002) assertion that
Language policies play a role in mobilizing public opinion, channeling political
energy, and allocating economic resources (p. 5) emerges as the most overarching
definition relative to this dissertation study. The principles of public opinion,
political energy, and allocation of resources are woven throughout this chapter.
The Current Context of Language Policy within
Education Policy: No Child Left Behind
The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001; part of the reauthorization
of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (1965), was the most sweeping
school reform policy since 1965. In the political arena, NCLB represented bipartisan
efforts of Republicans and Democrats. Democrats wanted more economic resources

for schools and Republicans wanted more local control and less federal control.
Both parties wanted increased measures of accountability. In the political arena as in
the education arena the language policy mandates enacted as part of NCLB
emphasized English acquisition and academic achievement in English while
limiting focus on bilingualism and biliteracy (Ovando et al 2006; U. S. DOE 2001;
Pew, 2004b; Pew, 2004c).
The legislative mandates of NCLB resulted in a complete overhaul of
bilingual education. Under George W. Bush, the Bilingual Education Act of 1968
was abolished in 2002 (Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Macedo, Dendrinos, & Gounari,
2003). The term bilingual was literally eliminated from federal law as evidenced by
changes to the BEA/Title VII, which was replaced with English Language
Acquisition, Language Enhancement, and Academic Achievement (ELAA) Act
(2001)/Title III. The Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language Affairs
(OBEMLA) became the Office of English Language Acquisition, Language
Enhancement, and Academic Achievement for Limited English Proficient Students
(OELA). And the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education (NCBE) was
renamed the National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition (NCELA).
The use of grant funds, which under Title VII had eventually been approved to
support the use of the primary language for instruction, under Title III, became more
focused on English-as-a-Second-Language approaches. The stated purpose of Title
III was to ensure that students attained English proficiency, ideally within three
years (Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Macedo et ai., 2003; Wiley & Wright, 2004). The
link between the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) language education policy, within
the broader context of language policy, is reflected in the language of NCLB. The
language used in NCLB is English-only in orientation, just like the mandates which
are also English focused. As Ovando et al. (2006) state, It is fair to say that the
Bilingual Education Act, as conceived in 1968, died a quiet death in 2001 (p. 68).

Ovando et al. (2006) and others point out that when Title VII/The Bilingual
Education Act of 1968 was replaced with Title III, 75% of the funding allocation
was repealed. The U.S. Department of Education controlled the remaining annual
allocation of $650 million. States receive monies according to a formula-grant basis
determined primarily by English learner and immigrant student populations. State
agencies then allocate grants to school programs that meet criteria established in
NCLB (Ovando et al., 2006; U.S. Department of Education, 2002; NCLR, 2006).
The control mechanismsmeasures of accountabilityinstituted by NCLB include
financial penalties for schools not meeting English language acquisition benchmarks
(Ovando et al., 2006; U. S. Department of Education, 2006; Education Trust, 2007).
The overarching standard set by NCLB is that English learners meet the same
challenging...academic standards as all children are expected to meet (NCLB,
2002). English learners are expected to demonstrate English proficiency in three
years and to demonstrate high levels of academic attainment in English.
Organizations such as The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) and
Education Trust, Inc. (Ed Trust) took up the task of reviewing the NCLB Act to the
end of examining both the barriers and benefits of NCLB. One area of focus has
been the impact of NCLB for English learners, many of whom are immigrant
children (NCLR, 2006; Education Trust, 2002). According to The NCLR and
Education Trust, NCLB (2001) provides opportunities to narrow gaps that have not
been proposed by previous school reform efforts.
Prior to NCLB, English learners were among the most vulnerable to be
overlooked or exempted from state accountability systems (Education Trust, 2006).
NCLB holds schools accountable for improving academic achievement among all
groups, and includes specific language addressing the needs of English learners. The
NCLR and Education Trust both point out that NCLB includes English learners in
the premise that all students can learn. Both organizations highlight that under

NCLB, states are mandated to find ways to assure that all students receive
educational opportunities needed to reach state standards.
In summary, the most recent iteration of the Elementary and Secondary
Education Act (1965), known as No Child Left Behind (NCLB) of 2001, has added
to the already complex debate about the educational practice of bilingual education.
The NCLB legislation eliminated the Bilingual Education Act (1968) and replaced it
with legislative mandates that emphasize English acquisition and academic
achievement in English. While decisions about which program to use in the
education of English learners is left to the states, the controls put in place by NCLB
define the parameters with very focused attention on the success of English learners
to acquire English and to make academic achievements in English. Not meeting
benchmarks results in financial penalties for schools. The focus of the next section
is immigration policy. Immigrant children throughout history have added to the
complex discussion about the best way to deliver public school education. Recent
events in U.S. history have intensified discussion based in fears about immigrants in
general, and specifically about the education of immigrant children most of whom
are English learners. The current context of language policy within immigration
policy has also intensified, and is examined next.
The Current Context of Language Policy
within Immigration Policy
Fear of immigrants has been a cyclical phenomenon throughout the history
of the U.S. Historically, waves of immigrants bringing cultural and linguistic
diversity have heightened fear (Galindo & Vigil, 2004). The expectations that
immigrants speak English and be American have been in place for immigrants
throughout the course of U.S. history and are still expected today.
Early in the nations history the stage was set for tensions associated
with the cultures and languages of non-English speaking groups ....

Early leaders had in mind a country with a unified history, traditions
and with a common language (Ovando et al., 2006, p. 391).
Materials provided to immigrants applying to become naturalized citizens of the
U.S. note that:
Though we are a nation of diverse cultures and backgrounds, we are
bound by our shared history, the common civic values set forth in our
founding documents, and the English language (US Citizenship and
Immigration Services, n.d.).
The naturalization process, as explained in the Welcome to the United States: A
Guide for New Immigrants-English Version (U.S. Department of Homeland
Security, 2007) requires immigrants to demonstrate that they can read, write, and
speak basic English, knowledge verified by passing a test of English.
From 1993 to the present, anti-immigrant sentiments were intensely
heightened by the first bombing of the World Trade Center. An emotional Mario
Cuomo, New York's state governor at that time, told journalists, "We all have that
feeling of being violated. No foreign people or force has ever done this to us. Until
now we were invulnerable" (Emporis, 2007). The subsequent terrorist acts of
September 11, 2001, led to sweeping government efforts to strengthen and protect
the U.S. against foreign threats.
Concurrently, public opinion and political energy were also enveloped by
fear and concerns about protecting the nation against foreign threats. Unauthorized
migrants quickly came into focus.5 Laws were enacted to tighten immigrant rights.
The USA Patriot Act of 2001 and the Homeland Security Act of 2002 were federal
policies enacted in response to concerns about national security, and issues of
The term unauthorized migrant means a person who resides in the United States, but who
is not a U.S. citizen, has not been admitted for permanent residence, and is not in a set of specific
authorized temporary statuses permitting longer-term residence and work. Various labels have been
applied to this group of unauthorized immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, illegals,
illegal aliens, and illegal immigrants (see Passel, 2005, Pew Hispanic Center; Passel, 2007, The
Urban Institute).

immigration were also addressed. Post September 11, enforcement of the USA
Patriot Act (2001) and the Homeland Security Act (2002) were strengthened.
Protecting the U.S. led to policies in which national security and issues of
immigration became more entwined. The governments quest to control
immigration and legislative response to the continued fear of immigrants resulted in
counter-terrorism efforts that have been detrimental to the civil liberties of all
Americans, and to the rights of non-citizens and unauthorized immigrants.
Immigrants and those perceived to be immigrants, particularly American
Muslims and Arab Americans, and more recently Latino U.S. citizens, have become
targets for inciting fear (NCLR, n.d.; Migration Policy Institute, 2003).
Consequently, measures introduced in many states have singled out immigrants and
those perceived to be immigrants for restricted access to services and public
benefits. Many states have enacted fear-based policies and procedures to drive
unwanted immigrants out of their communities and make it less attractive for new
immigrants to arrive (NCLR, n.d.).
Federal immigration reform has been unsuccessful, however attention on the
U.S.-Mexico border has continued. The Secure Fence Act of 2006 intends to erect
one hundred miles of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent unauthorized
entry from Mexico by car or on foot. The Secure Fence Act also proposes to employ
the use of advanced technology to better monitor activity along the U.S.-Mexico
border (The White House, n.d.a). The White House has also addressed enforcement
of immigration policies in the interior of the U.S. Included in reforms is an
increased emphasis on assimilation and knowledge of English [as] the most
important component of assimilation (The White House, n.d.b).
Language policy in the U.S. in its current form has unfolded throughout the
history of the U.S. The past and present will continue to influence language policy
development and enactment in the future. The following section reviews the
chronological history of official language policy in the U.S.

Historical Overview of Official Language Policy
In the United States
The Colonial Era
What can be surmised from the literature is that from the 1700s to the 1880s
establishing official language policy was considered from two main views. The first
view held that adopting a language policy to make English the official language
would be critical in establishing a new and united nation. The second view held that
enacting language policy to make English the official language would be contrary to
the democratic ideals ensuring personal freedoms (Baron, 1990; Casanova & Arias,
1993; Fitzgerald, 1993; Hakuta, 1986; Heath, 1976; Hernandez-Chavez, 1995;
Kloss, 1998; Leibowitz, 1971; Marshall, 1986; Ovando, 2003 and 2006; Spolsky,
2004; Wiley, 2002).
Reasons underlying the view that English would be a unifying factor
included the following. For one, it was thought that immigrants fleeing their home
countries came to the U.S. seeking to embrace the new nation and its culture. An
official language would work to unite public opinion around the importance of
citizenship and toward building a strong U.S. A second reason was the pragmatic
use of English for conducting government business, especially in producing written
documents. Noah Webster, known for developing the document which precedes
what is known today as the dictionary of the English language, worked to
standardize the English language without need for a national language policy
(Heath, 1976).
The second view held that establishing an official language in the U.S.
would be counter to the democratic ideals the founding fathers held in such high
regard (Baron, 1990; Casanova & Arias, 1993; Fitzgerald, 1993; Hakuta, 1986;
Heath, 1976; Hernandez-Chavez, 1995; Kloss, 1998; Leibowitz, 1971; Marshall,
1986; Ovando, 2003; Ovando et al 2006; Spolsky, 2004; Wiley, 2002). A

restrictive policy might prompt resistance by newcomers if perceived as too similar
to the restrictions of the old worldthe monarchies from which many fled. In this
case, public opinion and political support for leadership in the new nation might be
weakened by a policy restricting personal choice (Heath, 1976; Spolsky, 2004;
Marshall, 1986). Also cited was that linguistic diversity could serve as an asset and
resource in the new nation. For example, linguistic diversity could facilitate the
establishment of relationships and alliances with other countries. And third, in
immigrant communities where the heritage language was preserved, such as with
the Germans and French (Casanova & Arias, 1993; Heath, 1976; Ovando, 2003),
English already held a central role in the culture and day-to-day operation of the
U.S. (Spolsky, 2004; Hernandez-Chavez, 1995).
In summary, during the first century of the U.S., there was ongoing debate
about whether or not to adopt an official language policy. No matter if linguistic
diversity was restricted, tolerated or even encouraged, English had secured a central
role. That the U.S. Constitution was written in English served to crystallize the
importance of the English language. In practice English was embraced as the
national language without need for coercion (Heath, 1976; Spolsky, 2004;
Hernandez-Chavez, 1995).
1880s to 1909:
Language Restriction
Starting in the 1880s, efforts of the U.S. toward greater control over
diversity came through legislation that increased demands for immigrants to
assimilate (Casanova & Arias, 1993; Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Higham, 1988;
Ovando, 2003; Ovando et al., 2006). Ovando (2003) refers to this time in U.S.
history as the restrictive period (p. 4). From the mid-19th century, a growing
number of diverse groups including the Slavic, Jewish, Asian, Italian, Polish, Czech,
French, Dutch, German, Irish, and English were immigrating to the U.S., resulting

in increased linguistic diversity (Holt, 2002; Krug, 1976; Ovando, 2003).
Coinciding with the swell in European immigration, the U.S. victory over Mexico
led to the acquisition of much of the Southwest U.S. (Donegan, 1996; Gonzales,
1994; Griffin, 1992; Masci, 2003; New Mexico Tourism, 2007). Increased U.S.
involvement in Latin America combined with economic growth in the U.S. spurred
higher numbers of Latino immigrants. Census Bureau reports indicated that 500,000
people of Mexican descent lived in the U.S. in those times (Masci, 2003).
During this period, measures were enacted to control the assimilation
process for immigrant children and adults alike. A resurgence in nativism occurring
during this time was embodied in the Americanization campaign where English
proficiency was equated to patriotism and loyalty to the U.S. (Casanova & Arias,
1993; Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Higham, 1988; Ovando et al., 2006; Tamura, 1993).
Expectations for schools to be more in control of the assimilation of immigrants into
the culture, norms, and common language of the U.S. increased. Opposition to the
maintenance of foreign languages also increased (Casanova & Arias, 1993; Galindo
& Vigil, 2004; Higham, 1988; Ovando et al., 2006; Tamura, 1993). The common
school movement worked in conjunction with the Americanization campaign to
require immigrant children to learn English and to legitimize an English-dominant
cultural and linguistic homogeneity (Ovando et al., 2006, p. 59). Public sentiment
and political pressures toward assimilationist efforts also led to the boarding schools
of the early 1900s where Native American children were sent by force (Fitzgerald,
1993; McCarty, 2002).
In the midst of the tensions between linguistic diversity and linguistic
assimilation, the Naturalization Act of 1906 was legislated to require immigrants to
speak English in order to become naturalized citizens (Naturalization Act, 1906).
Tensions between linguistic diversity and linguistic assimilation were also
intensified at the state level. In 1906, New Mexico and Arizona began the statehood
process. In New Mexico, approximately 50% of people were Spanish speaking, and

constitutional provisions to protect the New Mexican culture and Spanish language
were enacted. Spanish and English were established by legislation to be equally
official. Further amendments legislated Spanish-English bilingual education.
Political energy in Arizona, on the other hand, was marked by opposition to the
coexistence of two languages. Legislation was enacted in 1910 to limit the use of
Spanish, and furthermore to mandate that schools shall always be conducted in
English (Arizona State Legislature, 2007). The opposing sentiments between these
two states are still evident in current language policy legislation today.
1910 to 1949: English as American
Identity and Loyalty
Political unrest and public perception of national threat stirred nativist efforts
aimed at specific immigrant groups when the U.S. became involved in World Wars
I and II. English again became a crucial component of American identity and loyalty
to the U.S. (Baron, 1990; Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Wiley & Wright, 2004). Fear of
immigrants became a matter of national defense, and language was used as evidence
of enemy sympathizers. Immigrants and U.S. citizens alike were suspect based on
their national heritage and native language. The Chinese, Japanese, and Germans
were among groups targeted by legislation during this time. The Chinese Exclusion
Act, for example, significantly curtailed the immigration of Chinese laborers from
1882 to 1943 (National Archives, n.d.).
Existing language restriction policies were enforced and new policies
enacted. By 1919 at least 15 states had adopted English-only laws (Acuna, 1988;
Baron, 1990; Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Gatto, 2001; Galindo & Vigil, 2004;
Krug, 1976; U.S. English, n.d.; Wiley & Wright, 2004). Ohio is an example of rigid
enforcement of language restriction policies. Anti-German sentiments spurred by
the war led to outlawing the use of German in newspapers, churches, on the
telephone, in public, and in schools. Violation of laws forbidding the use of enemy

languages resulted in fines, and many places bearing German names, such as streets,
parks, and stores were changed to English names (Baron, 1990; Hakuta, 1986;
Fitzgerald, 1993).
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Meyer v. Nebraska (1923) that the state's
interest in fostering a homogeneous people with American ideals is not adequate
justification for outlawing foreign-language instruction in the public schools. The
Supreme Courts ruling was another example of the tensions at that time between
language rights and the hostility toward the use of non-English languages (Ovando
et al., 2006; Casanova & Arias, 1993; Fitzgerald, 1993; Hakuta, 1986).
In 1941, the bombing at Pearl Harbor catapulted the U. S. into World War II.
Political measures targeting speakers of Japanese and German were enacted based
in fears and perceived threat represented by the German and Japanese languages.
Speakers of Japanese and German were forcefully interned, and in most cases were
prohibited from speaking enemy languages (Acuna, 1988; Baron, 1990; Delgado &
Stefancic, 2001; Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Wiley & Wright, 2004). The premise that
English proficiency equated patriotism was reason enough to question the loyalty of
Limited English speakers to the U.S. (Acuna, 1988; Baron, 1990; Delgado &
Stefancic, 2001; Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Wiley & Wright, 2004).
Society in the U.S. held a heightened fear of immigrants during this period
of war. Public opinion moved political energy to enact controlling measures to
preserve English and restrict all other languages. On the other hand, the U. S.
military found a use for Native Americans and their languages in very controlled
and classified war efforts. The Native Americans in this specific role were known as
Native American Code Talkers. In World War I, the Choctaw Indians, and in World
War II, the Navajo Indians were sought out, trained, and deployed to the front lines.
Their Native American languages became an important resource toward ensuring
U.S. national security. The Code Talkers are credited with saving the lives of many

American soldiers, and with contributing to victories at several battles including
Guadalcanal and Iwo Jima (McClain, 2002; Paul, 1998).
1950s: Desegregation
And the Space Race
In the 1950s, two key events stirred public and political sentiments about
diversity in race, culture, and language. The 1954 landmark Supreme Court case of
Brown v. Board of Education determined that children in public schools could no
longer be separated based on race. The Courts determination that children be
required to integrate stirred unrest around the country. There is much documentation
about the hostility surrounding the integration. One example, among many, took
place in Little Rock, Arkansas, at Central High School:
Massive Resistance [which] was symbolized most dramatically by
Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus' order that his state's national guard
unit block the admission of nine African American students to Little
Rock's Central High School in 1957. The nearly month-long
confrontation ended when President Eisenhower sent in U.S. troops
to protect the students (Civil Rights Organization, 2002).
In 1957, the Russian launch of the Sputnik satellite drew U. S. attention to
the role of foreign languages for enriching the intellectual resources of the nation
and for reasons of national security. Russias success in launching Sputnik engaged
the U.S. in competition with Russia to develop aerospace technology. A newfound
interest in foreign languages became an aspect of preparing the nations scientists
and scholars. Foreign language programs were implemented in public schools in an
effort to build bilingual competency in American students (Baron, 1990; Delgado &
Stefancic, 2001; Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Wiley & Wright, 2004). These two events
were precursors to events in the 1960s.
The first half of the twentieth century in the U.S. is marked by the stress of
war and economic hardships. Nativists moved toward stronger enforcement of
language restrictionist laws and policies, and increased support for more laws and

policies demanding the assimilation of immigrants. There are sparse examples of the
acceptance of linguistic diversity, specifically when matters of national security
were at the forefront. Regardless, tensions around linguistic diversity and linguistic
assimilation are evident throughout U. S. history.
I960 to 1979: The Civil Rights Movement
and the Resurgence of Bilingual Education
Brown v. Board of Education (1954) marked a shift in U.S. culture and
climate that was evidenced by legislation established in The Civil Rights Act of
1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. During this time, it seemed that nativist
sentiments were less pervasive given the increased civil rights protection for
individuals and groups (Baron, 1990; Schmidt, 2000; Wiley & Wright, 2004). There
were key events during this decade; some that helped support bilingual education
and some that quelled acceptance of bilingual education.
In 1963, Cuban political exiles arrived in Florida as a result of Fidel Castros
coming into power in Cuba. At the time, it was thought that Castros hold on Cuba
would be temporary. The Cuban refugees arriving in the U.S. found political and
public sympathy for their plight, and support was provided for efforts undertaken by
the Cuban refugee community, including the bilingual education program at Coral
Way School in Dade County, Florida (Baker, 2001; Freeman, 1998; Pellerano,
Fradd, & Rovira, 1998). The Coral Way program was successfully preparing
students to be bilingual and bicultural in both the social and academic contexts.
Educators and politicians elsewhere in Florida, as well as in other states, were
drawn to the possibility of implementing similar programs in hopes of gamering
similar success for Spanish speaking students. Programs modeled after the Coral
Way School were implemented in Texas and other states with a critical mass of
Spanish speaking students with similar goals of preparing students to be socially and
academically bilingual and bicultural (Baker, 2001; Freeman, 1998).

During this brief period, public opinion was more supportive of bilingual
education. Political bipartisan support led to the passage of the Bilingual Education
Act (1968), the Title VII amendment to the Elementary and Secondary Education
Act of 1965, as an attempt to address the academic underachievement of non-
English-speaking students, poor, Spanish-speaking students in particular. A driving
force behind the BEA was equitable access to education. It was thought that
increasing public education access to Spanish speaking students could be
accomplished by providing primary language instruction, though the law was not
intended to maintain the native language or culture. The BEA included allocation of
economic resources to support bilingual education programs. The passage of the
BEA marked the beginning of contemporary debates regarding language policies
(Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Schmidt, 2000). While public sentiment leaned heavily
toward nativism, official discourse shaped by the BEA and subsequent legislation
allowed some consideration of the use of native languages in public schools.
In 1974, the landmark Supreme Court ruling in Lau v. Nichols (1974) served
to shape language policy at the national level. In Lau, one determination of the
Supreme Court was that the schools failure to help students learn English prevented
them from accessing the education offered by the school, and this constituted
discrimination as written in the opinion of the court:
"the policy of the state" [is] to insure "the mastery of English by all
pupils in the schools".... Moreover, § 8573 of the Education Code
provides that no pupil shall receive a diploma of graduation ... who
has not met the standards of proficiency in "English," as well as other
prescribed subjects.. .. Under these state-imposed standards there is
no equality of treatment merely by providing students with the same
facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curriculum; for students who do
not understand English are effectively foreclosed from any
meaningful education .... We know that those who do not
understand English are certain to find their classroom experiences
wholly incomprehensible and in no way meaningful. We do not
reach the Equal Protection Clause argument which has been
advanced but rely solely on § 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42

U.S.C. § 2000d to reverse the court of appeals (Lau v. Nichols,
There is agreement in the field that the Lau v. Nichols (1974) ruling did not
mandate bilingual education (Cummins, 2000; Hakuta, 1986; McPherson, 2000;
Ovando, 2003). The Equal Education Opportunities Act (1974) did state, however,
that schools were required to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers
that might impede a students equal participation in school, and that bilingual
education was among the actions that schools could adopt (Ovando, 2003; Schmidt,
2000; Cummins, 2000).
1980 to 1999: Official English
and New Nativism
Movement toward increased diversity and equity resulting from the Civil
Rights movement, such as the Bilingual Education Act (1968), were relatively
short-lived. As Galindo and Vigil (2004) explain, a new nativism emerged. During
this time, tensions between language diversity and assimilation reemerged. Recent
immigrants were described as:
... horrendous strains on the economy because of their access to
social services, as threats to national unity because of linguistic and
cultural differences, and as threats to national security because of
undocumented status (Galindo & Vigil, 2004, p. 36).
In 1994, anti-immigrant sentiments in California were illustrated with nearly
60% voter approval of Proposition 187 (1994 Cal. Legis. Serv.). With this
legislation, undocumented children were to be removed from public schools and
emergency health care denied to illegal residents. Despite voter approval of
Proposition 187, in 1998, a federal judge overturned the law as unconstitutional
(Cal. Legis. Serv., 1994).
According to Galindo & Vigil (2004), the new nativist argues that the
Spanish language, Spanish surnames, Mexican culture, and different physical traits

do not allow Mexicans to easily assimilate. The dominant society is resistant to
accepting Mexicans, regardless of how long they have been in the U.S., because of
the perception of this lack of assimilation. Galindo and Vigil further argue that the
porous border that Mexico shares with the U.S. exacerbates fears about Mexicans.
The new nativist view uses these fears to justify the promotion of negative policies
that affect primarily Mexicans and Spanish speakers in general.
The new nativist sentiments helped reinvigorate the movement toward
making English more or less official at the federal and state levels during the 1980s
and 1990s. The English Language Amendment of 1981 was introduced to Congress
in effort to make English the official language of the U.S. While the amendment
was not adopted, the renewed commitment to official English led to the foundation
of the U.S. English organization, founded in 1983 by California Senator S.I.
Hayakawa. U.S. English, as described on the organizations website:
is the nation's oldest, largest citizens' action group dedicated to
preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United
States. ... the passage of English as the official language will help to
expand opportunities for immigrants to learn and speak English, the
single greatest empowering tool that immigrants must have to
succeed (U.S. English, n.d.).
U.S. English has backed subsequent attempts for federal constitutional
amendments, which have been proposed at every congressional session since its
initial introduction. Some proposals focused on legislating English as the official
language of the U.S. without mandates concerning diversity. Other proposed
amendments have gone further by including language to restrict linguistic diversity
based on fears that immigrants can now live in the U.S. without learning English
(Baron, 1990, p. 190), and to abolish bilingual education because of the perception
that their law will force American schools to return to the teaching of English
(Baron, 1990, p. 194). According to Zall and Stein (1990), The principal goal of
the official language movement is to halt the erosion of English in public life (p.

268). As of February 2008, Congress had not acted on the proposals (Baron, 1990;
Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Schmidt, 2000; U. S. English; Wiley & Wright, 2004).
1980s to 1999: Bilingual Education
and Revitalized Nativism.
The Reagan era coincided with the emergence of revitalized nativism
(Wiley, 2002). The evolution of the Bilingual Education Act (1968) during this time
became more directed in its focus on English. With the Bilingual Education Act
(1968) reauthorizations of 1984 and 1988, the Federal government de-emphasized
bilingual education as a remedy and measures were taken to back away from
enforcement of Lau remedies (Wiley, 2002, p. 45). Additional emphasis was put on
the achievement of competence in English, and native language instruction was to
be used only to allow students to progress academically while learning English. The
goal of bilingualism decreased and overall funding of bilingual education programs
was reduced (Lyons, 1995). Consequently, primarily transitional programs became
eligible for Title VII funds (Schmidt, 2000; Wiley & Wright, 2004). Reagan was
supportive of bilingual education as long as the goal was English proficiency.
Reagan is quoted as stating:
[it is] absolutely wrong, against American concepts, to have a
bilingual education program that is now openly, admittedly dedicated
to preserving their native language and never getting them adequate
in English so they can go out into the job market and participate
(Lyons, 1995, p. 6).
The 1988 reauthorization gave increased status to certain education
programs utilizing the native language as a means for ensuring that children were
learning English. While dual immersion programs received attention, English
immersion programs were also approved, so the official discourse continued to pose
a minimal threat to nativism (Baron, 1990; Wiley & Wright, 2004). The final
reauthorization of Bilingual Education Act (1968) came in 1994 under President

Clinton. This reauthorization gave greater attention to developmental or
maintenance programs that, by definition, promote bilingualism as a goal indicating
a short-lived decrease in nativism. The year 1998 also marked the year that the first
English for the Children ballot initiative was brought before voters at the state level.
California voters considered and adopted Proposition 227 (1998 Cal. Legis.
Serv.)The English for the Children measurewhich significantly moved forward
efforts to restrict the use of languages other than English in the delivery of public
school education. Proposition 227 set a precedent for other states, specifically
Arizona, Massachusetts, and Colorado, to consider similar measures in subsequent
elections (Galindo & Vigil, 2004; One Nation, n.d.; Pro-English, n.d.).
2000 to 2002: Nativism
in the New Millennium
In the new millennium, nativist sentiments increased and movement toward
language restrictionism continued. Cummins (2001) notes that many educators and
policy-makers have expressed fears that bilingual education is un-American and
will balkanize the country (p. 240), a belief consistent with nativist views about the
need to protect English against threats. Cummins (2001) points out that the
escalation of rhetoric against bilingual education is a:
... convenient way to accomplish two goals. The first is the directing
of peoples anger at potential threats to the established power
structure. The threat of rapid growth of minority populations,
particularly Spanish speakers, is identified as a source of concern
because if these groups retain some cultural and linguistic
distinctiveness it is feared that they may be less subject to persuasion
[read: control] than other Americans. The second goal is to direct
peoples anger against immigrants, bilingual educators, welfare
mothers, single parent families, etc. as this serves to divert attention
from the massive transfer of wealth from middle and poor to the rich
(p. 307).

Under NCLB (2001), the states determine the best methods of instruction,
and the emphasis of Title III shifted from the cultivation of bilingualism to a focus
on English acquisition and academic achievement in English (Ovando et al., 2006;
U. S. Department of Education, 2002; Education Trust, 2007; NCLR, n.d.). Arizona
is an example of a state where the best method of instruction was determined by
voters. In 2000, Arizona voters adopted Proposition 203 of 2000, a restrictive
language education policy.
To this day issues of personal linguistic choice and examples of the informal
acceptance of English as the official language continue to be central in debates
about aspects central to U.S. society. With matters of education and local
government, the tensions between linguistic diversity and linguistic restrictionism
continue to be evident.
History of Language Policy in Colorado
Colorados language policy history mirrors language policy trends at the
national level. The Bilingual Education Act of 1968 was enacted in Colorado as a
state language policy in 1976. Soon after, the Colorado English Language
Proficiency Act (1981) replaced the Colorado Bilingual Education Act. As in other
states, Colorado voters have been asked to consider language policy legislation. For
example, California voters enacted legislation to make English the official language
of the state (Official English Clause) in 1986. Shortly afterwards, Colorado voters
followed suit and adopted the Colorado Official Language Clause (Colo. Const, art.
II, § 30a, Official Language Clause), a constitutional amendment that made English
the official language of Colorado. Among key language policy events in Colorado,
Keyes v. School District No. 1 (1973) is a landmark Supreme Court case that
originated in Denver, Colorado. The Keyes case (1973) is a desegregation case that
is included in scholarly discussions of language policy because the equal education
rights of English learners were deliberated (Acuna, 2004; Arias, 2007; Fernandez &

Guskin, 1981; Horn & Kurlaender, 2006; Laosa, 2001; Lee, 2006; Orfield & Eaton,
1996; United States Commission on Civil Rights, 1972; Wells, 1989).
The Supreme Court ruling in Keyes v. School District No. 1 (1973) held that
Denver Public Schools (DPS) had intentionally taken steps to control the enrollment
patterns of Hispanics, Blacks, and Anglos along racial lines. Consequently, minority
students were not integrated with Anglos and were receiving separate and unequal
education. Language was a fundamental aspect considered in the Keyes case,
specifically the rights of Latino English learners to access English. Latino English
learners were not only isolated by race, but by language as well (Lee, 2006). English
learners in DPS found that learning English was pivotal in determining to what
degree they could access educational opportunity. Bilingual programs were
implemented in several DPS schools, and by nature required some degree of
separation between English learners and proficient English speakers. To some, this
was contrary to the goals of desegregation (Fernandez & Guskin, 1981). Others
believed that bilingual education could be a component of a desegregation remedy
in that it served to support students to become English proficient (Wells, 1989). The
Supreme Court ruling held that Latino students had the right to be desegregated and
they had the right to be provided with educational opportunities to learn English
(Keyes v. School District No. 1, 1973).
The Supreme Court upheld the District Court ruling that there were
similarities in the economic, cultural deprivation, and discrimination educational
inequities experienced by Latinos and Blacks (Keyes v. School District No. 1, 1973).
The ruling held that that even though issues facing Latinos and Blacks were
considered to have different origins, Latinos should benefit from desegregation
remedies. Additionally, the ruling held that putting Latinos and Blacks together
without integrating them with Anglos was not desegregation.
In reviewing the historical chronology of official language policy in the
U.S., what is most apparent is the importance of English, which was established

from the very beginning and to date continues to be central to U.S. identity. Public
sentiment has influenced public policy throughout history, and public policies
enacted have reflected the degree of nativist sentiments. The ongoing debate about
bilingual education is focused on the degree to which non-English languages should
be restricted. The section that follows will examine empirical research about
language policy in the U.S.
Empirical Analysis of Language Policy in the United States:
Looking Through the Lens of Fear and Control
Part one of this literature review provided an overview of the history of
language policy and the many contexts in which language has been used to control
linguistic diversity. Part one also described the history of bilingual education and
the current context of legislative educational policies such as NCLB (2001) as well
as the current context of immigration policy. Part two of this literature review will
focus on empirical research addressing language policy in the U.S. There are two
topics within this part of the literature review. The first topic includes studies
focused on nativism. The second topic includes studies that have used language as a
proxy for racism.
Language Restrictionism Rooted in Nativism
The historical trend toward language restrictionism rooted in nativist
sentiments is evidenced through U. S. language policy legislation which has, for
many years, resulted in the elevated status of the English language (Baron, 1990;
Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Wiley & Wright, 2004). In the
late twentieth century, the English language has taken its place beside the American
flag as a symbol of what it means to be an American (Schmid, 2000, p. 73).
Consequently, non-English languages have been relegated to an inferior status
(Baron, 1990; Delgado & Stefancic, 2001; Galindo & Vigil, 2004; Wiley & Wright,

2004). Countersymbols .. such as the legitimacy of speaking and perhaps even
maintaining a language in addition to English, add to the current social conflict
(Schmid, 2000, p. 73). Acuna (2004) provides a definition of nativism that is
embraced by this researcher, an anti-immigrant movement, waxing and waning
based not only on the economy but also on how Americans feel about themselves
(p. 165). He adds:
During the first decade of the century, few outside the Southwest
knew who the Mexican was. As the Mexicans numbers grew in the
second decade, and as they gained an aura of permanency in the eyes
of Euroamericans, American angst triggered a form of racist nativism
that flourished for the entire twentieth century (Acuna, 2004, p. 166).
The empirical studies included here point out the presence of nativism in
policy and practice. Falling within the topic of nativism, and included here, are
studies about assimilation and economic resources.
Houvuoras (2001) conducted a quantitative study looking beyond the White-
Black model of racism and focused on opposition to bilingual education as an
extension of discrimination and prejudice against Latinos. Her hypothesis was that
the variables of (a) prejudice against Latinos, (b) attitudes toward immigration, and
(c) certain demographics would increase opposition to bilingual education.
Houvouras used a secondary data set from the 1994 Annual General Social Survey
conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago,
nationally representative data set of its kind. This survey asked individuals about
experiences, beliefs, and attitudes. Of the overall sample of 2,992 English-speaking
non-institutionalized adults living in the U.S., the final data set used by Houvouras
consisted of 1,098 individuals.
Respondents were asked, How do you feel about bilingual education? (p.
142). Answers were along a Likert-type scale of strongly in favor, somewhat in
favor, somewhat opposed, or strongly opposed. The dependent variable for this
study was the extent to which respondents favored or opposed bilingual education.

There were four independent variables to measure racial attitudes toward Latinos;
Hispanics in general and unauthorized immigrants specifically. These were (a)
perceived threat, (b) stratification ideology, (c) immigration attitude, and (d)
assimilation ideology. Houvouras (2001) analyzed each variable individually to
determine the degree to which opposition to bilingual education resulted from
negative stereotypes of Latinos, Latino immigrants, both, or neither. Her analysis
included the use of univariate statistics, bivariate analysis utilizing Pearson
correlations, and multivariate analyses to provide comparison of two logistic
regression models. The first contained only the demographic variables, and the
second consisted of demographic, prejudice, and immigration attitude variables.
Houvouras (2001) found that prejudice against Latinos was a significant
predictor of opposition to bilingual education. She also found that those more likely
to oppose bilingual education were White, male, and older individuals. Additionally,
college educated individuals were more likely to oppose bilingual education than
those with only a high school education. Houvouras elaborated on this finding,
citing Jackman and Muhas (19S4) argument that subordinate groups are easier to
control when they have been socialized by the same educational institutions, and
this serves to protect dominant interests, and maintain current inequality. Houvouras
(2001) asserts that college educated individuals were more likely to oppose
bilingual education, perhaps because they understood projected increases in the
numbers of Latinos in the U.S., and therefore perceived bilingual education as an
opportunity-enhancing policy for Latinos and Latinos as a threat to the majority. For
the college educated, bilingual education was perceived as a challenge to the
established educational institution, a vehicle for delivering alternative ideologies,
and a platform for challenging dominant interests.
Another finding (Houvouras, 2001) was that individuals who recognized
differences between todays immigrants and White immigrants from the past were
more likely to support bilingual education, whereas individuals who deny

differences are more likely to oppose bilingual education. Those believing that
immigration should be curtailed were more likely to oppose bilingual education than
those believing that immigration should be increased. Additionally, those who
believe immigrants should assimilate were more likely to oppose bilingual
education than those who believe immigrants should maintain their distinct cultures.
Houvouras (2001) findings were consistent with past research focusing on
attitudes toward Black-targeted policies. The similarities support the premise that
bilingual education is a race issue. Opposition to bilingual education can be
explained by attitudes toward Latinos. Houvouras cautions that research about
White-on-Black prejudice cannot be applied to other groups because of the
complexities unique to each group. With Latinos, attitudes toward immigration and
assimilation also have an important impact.
In another study, Barker and Giles (2002) asked respondents questions to
determine if support for English-only and for social limitations among Anglo
Americans was related to perceptions about (a) growing Latino group vitality, (b)
the presence of Spanish in the linguistic landscape, and (c) demographic factors. In
this qualitative study, a telephone survey was conducted in nine zip codes in Santa
Barbara, California, between October 2000 and May 2001. Of 1,123 telephone
contacts, and 512 20-mintue interviews, the answers provided by 389 Anglo
Americans served as the data set.
Several indicators of support for English-only policies emerged (Barker &
Giles, 2002). Respondents with the perception of growing Latino vitality; economic
control, political control, wealth, power, and increasing demographic presence, were
more likely to support of English-only policies. Second, respondents perceiving
their own vitality as decreasing were more likely to support English-only policies.
Third, respondents with high language group identity were more likely to support
English-only policies. Indicators emerging in the Barker and Giles (2002) study
were consistent with those identified in the political science research where support

for English-only policies is found to be based on sustaining American identity and
patriotism. Demographic factors identified by Barker and Giles (2002) were also
consistent with findings in social science research. Respondents who were older,
less educated, blue-collar, or non-working were also more likely to support English-
only policies.
The studies above illustrate that attitudes of language restrictionism rooted in
nativist efforts serve to protect and preserve the interest of the majority, and to
support policies that restrict linguistic diversity and limit the advancement of the
minority. The next set of studies examine the relationship between assimilation and
the heritage language within the context of language restrictionism rooted in
nativism, where some abandon the heritage language, and others work to preserve
the heritage language.
Assimilation and
Heritage Language
The Pew Hispanic Center-Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonpartisan
research organization that has conducted public opinion surveys regularly since its
inception in 2001. The surveys are aimed at capturing Latino views on a range of
social matters and public policy issues, and education is one of eight key subject
areas. Results reported from The National Survey of Latinos: Education (Pew,
2004a; Pew, 2006) were based on a national telephone survey regarding education
between August and October of 2003. A questionnaire was administered to a
random sample of 3,421 adults. Latinos comprised 1,508 of the sample, non-Latino
Whites comprised 1,193, and non-Latino African Americans comprised 610. Some
questions were asked only of parents with children in K-12th grade of school; this
group comprised 1,268 of the sample.
One critical topic that emerged for Latinos was language. The Pew Survey
Briefs on Assimilation and Language (2004b) and Bilingualism (2004c) report that

92% of Latinos insisted that it was very important for schools to teach English to
immigrant children, compared to 87% of Whites and 83% of African Americans.
Foreign-born Latinos (96%) had a more fervent belief in this than native-born
Latinos (88%). And respondents with Spanish as their primary language (96%) have
a stronger belief than bilingual respondents (92%) or respondents with English as
their primary language (88%).
When examining primary language among Latinos by generation in the U.
S., the Pew survey (2004a) found that in the first generation, 72% are Spanish
dominant, 24% bilingual, and 4% English dominant. In the second generation 7%
are Spanish dominant, 47% bilingual, and 46% English dominant. By the third
generation, 0% are Spanish dominant, 22% bilingual, and 78% English dominant.
These findings are consistent with other studies which have found that in many
families, the dominant language shifts to English within one to three generations
(2004a; 2004c).
Immigrant families place just as much importance on learning English as do
non-immigrant families, and this sometimes results in language loss. The process of
language loss has been documented by researchers including Wong-Fillmore
(1991), Hinton (1999), Kouritzin (1999), Fishman (2001), Tannenbaum & Houre
(2002), and Portes & Hao (1998). Following is a study by Wong-Fillmore (2000)
that examines language loss for immigrants.
Wong-Fillmore (2000) conducted a 10-year qualitative case study about a
family of immigrants from China. An extended family unit including mother, father,
paternal uncle, paternal grandmother, and a boy (age 5) and a girl (age 4), arrived in
the San Francisco area in 1989. Two more girls were bom to the family five and six
years after their arrival. Wong-Fillmore (2000) examined this familys experience in
the U.S. to understand the process of language loss, where the native language is
displaced, and the consequences to the family dynamics can be devastating.

Throughout the 10 years, the mother, father, and uncle began long work days
in a restaurant setting where co-workers spoke Cantonese and not knowing English
was not of immediate concern. The children were left in the care of the Cantonese-
speaking grandmother. The children attended an ethnically diverse school with few
English learners and no bilingual or English as a Second Language (ESL) resources.
Wong-Fillmore (2000) found that in the course of the 10 years, the children had
very different school experiences.
The oldest girl adjusted well socially and academically. She made progress
with learning English and with reading, and socially she fit into the social world of
the classroom without difficulty (Wong-Fillmore, 2000, p. 204). At home, the girl
helped the grandmother care for the younger siblings, and when the grandmother
became ill she served as the primary caregiver. The girl maintained Cantonese, but
her use of it decreased and consequently her level of proficiency decreased, while
her use of English increased. Her interaction with the younger siblings was
primarily in English, and consequently their learning of Cantonese was very limited.
The boys experience was drastically different. He was inherently less
outgoing and had difficulty socializing with peers from the beginning. He was the
target of teasing and had several peer conflicts, and his limited knowledge of
English rendered him unable express himself. His parents and grandmother were
only concerned about disciplinary consequences at school, and reprimanded him
unsympathetically at home. He withdrew and isolated himself in school and at
home. As the boy learned English, he abandoned Cantonese. He was quiet, gave
limited oral responses in school, and ignored his grandmother at home. Reprimands
only made him more sullen and angry. By age 10, the boy spent more time away
from the home, with the few friends he had, and where he spoke only English.
In the course of 10 years, working limited the parents and uncle from
learning English, and staying home limited the grandmother from learning English.
The deterioration in family relations came as a result of adults and children not

understanding each other, and not being able to communicate (Wong-Fillmore,
2000). Wong-Fillmore (2000) found that in school, learning English was what
supported the children to make academic advancements. Wong-Fillmore contends
that the importance placed on English can have devastating effects on the family
when children and parents are unable to relate because of language loss.
Preservation of
Heritage Language
In the report, National Survey of Latinos: Education (Pew, 2004a; 2006)
results indicate that there is a belief among Latinos that the heritage language is
important and should be preserved. The survey showed that when asked how
important it is for schools to help students maintain the familys native tongue, 88%
of Latinos think it is important, as do 79% of African Americans, and 57% of
Whites. Foreign-bom Latinos feel more strongly (93%) when compared to native-
born Latinos (81%). These results, together with data indicating that most people
believe it is very important for schools to teach English to immigrant children, are
consistent with other studies. Research findings, such as in the studies to be
reviewed below (McCarty, 2002; Shannon, 1995), have found that where the value
of English is unchallenged, there is also a desire to preserve the heritage language.
McCarty (2002) conducted three long-term ethnographic research studies
beginning in the 1960s at Rough Rock and Peach Springs Hualapai Bilingual-
Bicultural Education Programs in the U.S. Southwest, and the Hawaiian Immersion
Schools (see McCarty 1989, 1997, 2002, 2006). McCarty used data from these three
cases to document the crisis of language loss for Native American communities in
the U.S. Southwest. She analyzed sociohistorical data from the ethnographic study,
from her collaborative work with the cofounders of the Hawaiian Schools, and from
written accounts by others. In the these cases, McCarty (2002) examined the

experiences of leaders engaged in indigenous education planning, policy-making,
and in identifying language related problems and responses.
McCarty found that historical efforts to Americanize non-English speakers
which once made schools sites of coercive assimilation (2002, p. 286), have more
recently made these same schools sites of indigenous resistance. McCarty also
showed ways in which indigenous communities work to assert their linguistic and
educational rights within contexts of constraint and possibility (2002, p. 289). She
explained that of more than 300 languages once spoken, 175 remain, and of those
only about 20 are still being passed on to youth. McCarty (2002) analyzed the work
by tribal leaders to determine how and when the indigenous language would be
used (p. 299), who would use the language and for what purpose, and what
curriculum would be developed, including the development of the language in
written form for instructional purposes. These data were the foundation on which
McCarty examined language planning and education policies which emerged from
within schools, as well as from the surrounding context.
McCartys ethnographic data (2002) about the process taken to establish the
first indigenous community-controlled school documented the possibilities and
constraints facing tribal leaders about the role of language, pedagogy, and
curriculum. She found that the potential for local empowerment was, at times,
overwhelmed with a multitude of constraints coming from the greater society.
However, the commitment by members of the Native American community to value
their native languages as assets has been the driving force behind efforts to ensure
that their children have the opportunity to acquire native languages.
McCartys research (2002) demonstrated that schools can be places for
children to be themselves, in their own languages. She points out that [b]eing
indigenous in the indigenous language is qualitatively different from constructing
and enacting an indigenous identity in English (McCarty, 2002, p. 304). She adds
that families and children do not have to be faced with a forced choice about

English or the heritage language, rather the choice can be for both. Furthermore,
schools can be the context within which students and their families are supported to
choose both. It seems that one limitation of McCartys study was that she did not
examine achievement data.
In another study, Shannon (1995) described the efforts of a fourth grade
bilingual teacher to elevate the status of Spanish to equal the status of English
through her teaching practice. This study is situated in an urban public school, with
a significant number of English learners and Spanish-English bilingual children.
This teacher created a linguistic environment that promoted and supported both the
Spanish and English languages equally. The bilingual classroom in this study
became a site where both the Spanish and the English languages were developed.
Shannons research (1995) highlighted ways in which every learning activity
featured someone in the process of learning a second language. The teacher took
active steps to challenge the unequal language status by elevating the importance of
Spanish. Examples of how she demonstrated this include attention to ensuring
equity in materials, resources, and time devoted to each language. Shannon (1995)
found that providing experiences where the linguistic rights and linguistic value of
students is equitable benefited students. Much like McCartys conclusion from
above, Shannons study demonstrates that school can provide the choice for English
and the heritage language, and that school can be the context where two languages
can co-exist. Shannon, like McCarty, did not provide achievement data.
Learning English:
Economic Resources Related to Assimilation
In the U.S., most accept the conventional belief that immigrants who master
English increase their likelihood of better employment and economic opportunities.
The closer an immigrant comes to speaking English like a native speaker the more

opportunities will be available. The following studies by Espinosa-Aguilar (2001),
Garcia (1995), and Kymlicka & Patten (2003) explore this premise.
Espinosa-Aguilars study (2001) analyzed the English-only political rhetoric.
She reviewed three bills proposed to Congress which, if passed, would have
declared English the official language of the U.S. The bills were House Bill 123
(H.R. 123, 1995), The English Language Empowerment Act (H.R. 123, 1996), and
House Bill 1005 (H.R. 1005, 1997). She found that wording used in the proposals
was meant to portray the proposed effort as helpful to non-English speaking
immigrants and also to appeal to the English speaking majority in the U.S.
Espinosa-Aguilar identified key phrases such as unity, integration, prevention of
discrimination, and equal opportunity, which were repeated in the proposed 1995
and 1996 bills in which much of the wording was the same.
One section states, in order to preserve unity in diversity and to prevent
division along linguistic lines, the U.S. should maintain a language common to all
people (H.R. 123, § 101. [4] (1995). Another section states that this policy would
help immigrants better assimilate and take full advantage of economic and
occupational opportunities (p. 283). And yet another section states the use of a
single common language .. will promote efficiency and fairness to all people (H.
R. 123, § 2 [8] (1995). Espinoza-Aguilar (2001) underscores that attention was
drawn away from the proposals intent to repeal the Bilingual Education Act, call
for the termination of the Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Language
Affairs, and repeal the Voting Rights Act (p. 283), perhaps because of the use of
the key phrases to cover for an anti-immigration, xenophobic, linguistically
imperialistic agenda (p. 284).
Espinosa-Aguilar (2001) concluded by emphasizing that in order to fight
linguistic based racism, wording must be critically examined to uncover hidden
agendas and unmask nativist efforts because, Too often politicians and the general

public cast their votes and make decisions and legislation on issues they know
nothing about (p. 285).
In a similar effort to uncover hidden agendas, Garcia (1995) investigated
whether abandoning the native language for English resulted in economic benefits.
The premise in Garcias study is that English is a determinant of economic wealth,
which should be pursued by immigrants and subsequent generations bom in the
Unites States. Garcia describes how this myth serves to justify policies and practices
of linguistic restrictionism. He used a multiple linear regression to identify the
determinants of income for Latinos and to determine if speaking only English did
result in economic gain. What she found was that:
... speaking only English does not always make a difference in the
achievement of economic prosperity, and that bilingualism, rather
than monolingualism, is a useful commodity in some communities,
including the Latino one (Garcia, 1995, p. 157).
This finding in Garcias research concurs with data provided by Pew (2004c)
that the economic outcomes of bilingual speaking adult Latinos are very similar to
their monolingual English speaking counterparts. English ability is highly prized
by U. S. employers (Garcia, 1995, p. 5), and that advantage combined with
educational advantage puts bilingual Latinos far ahead in the U.S. job market.
Bilingual and English speakers enjoy higher household incomes than their Spanish-
speaking counterparts. Bilingual Latinos are twice as likely as Spanish-speaking
Latinos to own their own homes.
In a study situated outside of the Unites States, Kymlicka and Patten (2003)
illustrated the far-reaching influence of English beyond the borders of the U.S. for
students who are working to make economic advancements. Kymlicka and Patten
(2003) examined second-language instruction in Switzerland and Belgium, both
multilingual countries (dates not given). Kymlicka and Patten established that in
both Switzerland and Belgium, the national languages were taught as second-

language subjects. In Belgium, native speakers of French and native speakers of
Dutch would learn the other as a second language. In Switzerland, native speakers
of German and native speakers of French or Italian would learn the other as a
second language. Recently in both countries, students across the language groups
have preferred to learn English rather than the language of their co-citizens.
Kymlicka and Patten (2003) have found that students consider learning English as
resulting in greater access to economic and cultural resources at the global level. At
the local level, however, cultural and political access has been reduced, as has the
mutual understanding of co-citizens within the community.
These studies illustrate reasons underlying the choice to abandon the
heritage language or to maintain the heritage language in addition to learning
English. There is agreement across these views that knowing English is correlated
with access to economic resources.
Language as a Proxy
The topic of language as a proxy includes studies that have found the use of
language as a proxy for racism. In the first study discussed here, Leeman (2004)
examines the evolution of the U.S. Census from its inception in 1790. Leeman
(2004) illustrates how language has been used in the U.S. Census over time as a
proxy for race. The U. S. Census collects data and then generates reports that most
people accept without question. In order to understand the significance of Leemans
(2004) analysis of the U.S. Census, this section begins with a description of the
Although not explicitly stated on the website, the census is in essence a
decennial survey used to collect demographic data about people in the U.S., such as
how many people there are, age, ethnicity, language, family size, level of education,
and income. Decisions are made based on the data collected. For example, a states
population determines the number of representatives that can be sent to Congress to

serve in the House of Representatives. Information on The U.S. Census Bureaus
website states:
Helping you make informed decisions .... Information about the
115.9 million housing units and 281.4 million people across the
United States .... The decennial census yields a wealth of data,
which have virtually unlimited applications (U.S. Census, 2000).
Leemans (2004) study points out that the U.S. Census is central in
providing information that serves as the basis for decision-making in many contexts,
including education. In Leemans (2004) analysis, she examined U.S. Census use of
language as a proxy for race in the context of varied immigration patterns. She
examined questions asked on the census from its inception in 1790 to identify
language, race, ethnicity, birthplace, and citizenship. She found that since the first
census in 1790, all U.S. Censuses ever conducted have included inquiries on race
or color (2004, p. 510). Leeman concluded that questions inquiring about race have
served to construct and legitimize racial categories and to illustrate the particular
importance of the White/non-White dichotomy (2004, p. 530).
Leeman (2004) identified a pattern linking race and language that emerged
at the turn of the 20th century when anti-immigrant sentiment intensified in
response to an increased number of non-English speaking immigrants from
Southern and Eastern Europe. The 1910 census coincided with the Americanization
movement toward equating American identity with knowledge and use of English.
Mother-tongue data were gathered from foreign-born and native-born of foreign
parents, and this data expanded the U.S. Census index of race to include language.
Subsequently, official publications have used race data gathered by the Census to
legitimize the language-race link, such as with the Senate Commission on
Immigrations Dillingham Commission Report... [which] contained the extensive
Dictionary of Races and Peoples (Leeman, 2004, p. 517). Leeman also found that
Census reports grouped languages on the basis of hegemonic notions of race, rather

than linguistic criteria (p. 519). For example, English and Celtic languages were
grouped under one heading, and Yiddish and Hebrew under another heading,
suggesting an underlying ideology that language defines race as much as race
defines language. She points out that the use of official data, official publications,
and official discourse to legitimize categories based on differences also serve to
construct those who are different as a problem and threat to U. S. cultural and
national identity (Leeman, 2004).
Leemans analysis (2004) revealed that Census data were used to construct
Whiteness as integral to American identity, specifically concerning Mexican
Americans. When the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo conferred citizenship and
political rights, and thus honorary Whiteness to Mexicans in the southwestern
territories annexed by the U.S. (Leeman, 2004, p. 521), many English-speaking
Whites disliked and held Mexicans and Mexican Americans in contempt because of
their mixed Spanish and Indian background. The 1920s census added a Mexican
race category and this officially racialized the identity of all persons born in
Mexico or having parents born in Mexico who were identified as not White, Negro,
Indian, Chinese, or Japanese (p. 521; U.S. Census 2002 cited). The 1940 census
eliminated the Mexican race category, and Mexicans and Mexican Americans were
officially categorized as White. However, language based distinctions among
Whites beyond the second generation were employed in the census to mark a
distinction from Whites (Leeman, 2004). The categorization of White Spanish
mother tongue population (p. 522) served as the precursor for what would
eventually become the Hispanic origin category first used on the 1970 census.
The socio-political climate of the 1960s had an influence on the U. S.
Census categories. Civil rights leaders made use of U.S. Census data and
demographics, such as definitions of race, for purposes of fighting discrimination in
employment, voting, and other contexts. In the Census Bureaus evolving
classification of Latinos, then, language has consistently been constructed as an

important aspect of individual identity and has played a crucial role in their
construction as racialized Others ..(Leeman, 2004, p. 524). Leeman concludes
that Non-English languages were categorized in the U.S. Census as indicators of
degree of assimilation.
In recent decades and right up to the turn of the 21sl century, increase in
immigration of people perceived as racially and culturally different has been met
with the same degree of anxiety as with previous waves of immigration. Leeman
(2004) points out that the current context differs from that of the previous century
due to changes in legal status and dominant discourse norms regarding race,
ethnicity, and language. Racial discrimination is illegal, and pointing out
biologically-based differences is generally considered unacceptable. Cultural
characteristics have taken the place of physical attributes in serving as the
ideological basis of inequalities among groups. Leeman (2004) asserts that language
has taken on a dual role in the language-race link. It is this duality of language, as
both a hereditary characteristic and a cultural behavior, that permits linguistic
discrimination to step in as a surrogate for racial discrimination (p. 526).
Discrimination based on language is portrayed as more benign than discrimination
based on race because language can change where race cannot. Currently, the
dominant ideology has constructed the U.S. as a monolingual English-speaking
nation (p. 529). Other languages and bilingualism are portrayed as a threat to
national identity or as agents of isolation and personal liability (Leeman, 2004, p.
526). Leeman links this portrayal to movements toward making English the official
language of the U.S. and to eliminate or restrict bilingual education. Linguistic
discrimination is the surrogate for racial discrimination, specifically as those who
choose not to speak English are portrayed as inherently un-American (Leeman,
2004, p. 529). The use of the U.S. Census serves as a reference point for the use of
language as a proxy for race.

The following studies examine other perspectives for the use of language as
a proxy, such as legal cases where the role of language has been interpreted by
courts in determining a ruling. Following a description of Ruizs language
orientations, language rights from the legal perspective are discussed.
Ruiz (1988) proposed three language orientations for interpreting language
policy issues. Of the three orientations, Ruiz (1988) specifically speaks to bilingual
education in the U.S. as a central topic in the hostility and divisiveness between the
language-as-problem and the language-as-right orientations. The language-as-
problem orientation links non-English languages to social problems that need to be
fixed. Non-English languages are often presented as the cause of other social
problems such as academic underachievement, economic disadvantage, and
unemployment. The language-as-right orientation is directly related to the arenas of
civil and human rights. The language-as-right orientation holds that everyone has
the right to fully develop their own language and to freely express themselves in the
language of their choice in both public and private settings. Framing bilingual
education from each orientation provides a concrete boundary for the perspective
from which language is being considered.
Bilingual education as seen from the language-as-problem perspective
defines bilingual education as an intervention implemented to solve the problem or
correct the linguistic handicap presented by minority children who do not know
English. Ruiz (1988) points out that the Bilingual Education Act (1968) as well as
subsequent federal and state bilingual education policies were enacted in the context
of the War on Poverty. Many of the War on Poverty programs were designed... to
address socially undesirable conditions... (Ruiz, 1998, p. 7). Bilingual education
was intended to ensure that immigrant children learned English, and not a program
to maintain the native language.
Bilingual education as seen from the language-as-right orientation considers
bilingual education as representing civil rights gains, specifically for Hispanics

(Hemandez-Chavez, 1995; Pifer, 1979; Pousada, 1979). In the Hispanic community,
bilingual education programs offered opportunities to maintain or regain the Spanish
language. From the language-as-right orientation, bilingual education programs
were implemented within the context of public education programs to which all
children have a right (Ruiz, 1988).
Ruiz underscores that the U.S. legal system has played a key role in
determining if, and to what degree, language is provided as a right. Some key cases
where language was central include Meyer v. Nebraska (1923), and Lau v. Nichols
(1974). Many segregation cases involving Spanish-speaking Mexican Americans
are reviewed below, and language was the common key factor in most of these
cases. As researchers have found, language is not consistently considered across
cases or across the judicial system.
Legal Perspective
The status of English also plays a role when language policy is examined
from the legal perspective. Perea (2001) notes that the workplace in the U.S. has
come to serve as the context for conflicts over the use of English versus Spanish,
specifically in places where English-only policies have been imposed by employers
so as to legally prohibit the use of non-English languages in the workplace, and
where employees have successfully challenged the implementation of English-only
in such a restrictive manner. Perea (2001) used a critical theory lens to examine
Garcia v. Gloor (1980). In this case, Garcia worked in a place where the employer
had enacted an English-only workplace rule. Garcia was fired because he responded
in Spanish to a fellow employee who asked him a question in Spanish, and his
response was overheard by a stockholder of the business. Garcia filed a case against
his employer for national origin discrimination. The court ruling upheld an
employers English-only rule that prohibited employees from speaking Spanish on
the sales floor unless they were speaking to a Spanish-speaking customer (Garcia v.

Gloor, 1980). Perea (2001) points out that the ruling in favor of the employer was
based on a series of interpretations of lawsuch as interpreting national origin to
the exclusion of language. The ruling dismissed the role of language as
inextricably tied to ones sense of identity (Garcia v. Gloor, 1980).
Perea (2001) asserts that this case is important because it has been applied in
subsequent cases, and due to the absence of a clear interpretation of language
policy, current interpretation of the law is done at the local, state, or district level.
The absence of precedent, such as might be pointed to if there were a ruling made
by the Supreme Court, makes a difference in cases where the judge is considering
discrimination based on national origin. In the case of Garcia (1980), the judge
could have included or not included language as part of national origin, and this
determination became a critical factor in the ruling. The interpretation made by the
judge, then, determined the scope of language rights.
Perea (2001) concludes that courts have failed to act consistently in
recognizing violations of basic linguistic rights or linguistic discrimination because
of what sometimes proves to be significant disparities in how English-only laws and
policies are interpreted. One important outcome resulting from Garcia (1980), was
that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (1974) issued
detailed guidelines prohibiting language discrimination along with prohibiting
national origin discrimination under Title VII. The EEOC guidelines recognize the
link between language and racial identity, and the discriminatory effects of English-
only restrictions. Despite the EEOC guidelines, Perea (2001) points out that courts
may still interpret English-only rules as justified by business necessity (p. 130).
Garcia appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Garcias appeal
was denied and the lower courts ruling was upheld. In this case, The Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (1974) guidelines were altogether ignored as
the court chose not to extend the national origin section of the Civil Rights Act

(1964) to include language. The following study provides an example of a court
ignoring the EEOC (1974) guidelines addressing language.
Valdes (2001) asserts that the English-only ideology is a symptom of anti-
immigrant sentiments. She cites Garcia v. Spun Steak Co. (1990) to illustrate
linguistic discrimination in the U.S., and efforts made by Civil Rights attorneys to
expand the legal protection of the Civil Rights Act (1964) to include language. In
Garcia v. Spun Steak Co. (1990), two bilingual employees were working in a small
business with an English-only rule. These two bilingual employees spoke to each
other in Spanish, and had been reprimanded and prohibited from working next to
each other in effort to stop them from speaking in Spanish. The employees filed a
case based on the violation of the EEOC guidelines (1974), and the district court
ruled in their favor. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the decision, thus
invalidating the EEOC guidelines (1974). The case was not heard at the Supreme
Court level, so the ruling which essentially ignored the EEOC guidelines (1974)
Valdes contends that the importance of this case is that the ruling directly
impacted bilingual individuals, even though the language policies are set by
monolingual individuals (Valdes, 2001, p. 141). The treatment of language in the
legal arena is related to the next series of studies where research has examined the
role of language in language policy within the context of education.
Language Policy
and Education
Language policy in education is an important mechanism by which states
manage social and political conflict (Tollefson, 2002, p. 5). Of particular interest
for this dissertation is the history of the role that the Spanish language has played
for Mexican and Mexican descent children in U.S. public schools. Much of the

history involving the Spanish language is best illustrated here through reviewing
historical accounts of education practice and court cases.
Mexicans and the Southwest. The signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in
1848 marks the point in history in which Mexicans living on land newly annexed by
the U.S. became subject to the U.S. territorial laws, and eventually U.S. laws
(Tollefson, 2002). Demographically, the Mexican and Mexican American
population was concentrated in the U. S. Southwest. The following studies have
examined the educational experiences of Mexicans and Mexican Americans, mostly
situated in the Southwestern states of California and Texas.
Historiographic research (San Miguel Jr., & Valencia, 1998; Valencia,
Menchaca, & Donato, 2004) has described the systematic transformation of U.S.
public schools in the southwest, from about 1848 to 1900, into an institution of
subtractive Americanization. The new social goal [was] not only to inculcate
American ways but also to discourage the maintenance of immigrant and minority
group cultures (San Miguel Jr. & Valencia, 1998, p. 358). Following the signing of
the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, efforts were made in Mexican communities to
establish schools for Mexican descent children. However, local and state officials
considered White children a priority when the matter required an allocation of
money or resources, such as that needed in establishing school facilities. San Miguel
Jr. and Valencia (1998) found that efforts put in place repeatedly relied on removing
two significant aspects of Mexican heritage the Spanish language and the
Mexican culture (p. 361).
Societal discrimination embodied in institutionalized discrimination
targeting Mexicans increased. Acunas historiographic research (2004) had
concurring findings. In his more specific description, Acuna states that the nativists
and their efforts, also referred to by San Miguel Jr. and Valencia (1998), were
white business leaders, ranchers, bankersall of whom lower-class white voters

supported (p. 159) enacted efforts to ensure control of the education of Mexican
children, which also served to control the Mexican work pool, and to ensure the
superior status of Whites (Acuna, 2004; San Miguel Jr. & Valencia, 1998).
One particular and far-reaching example was that segregated Mexican
schools were established across the Southwest (Acuna, 2004; Menchaca, 1995; San
Miguel Jr. and Valencia, 1998). English-language policies emerged simultaneously
which not only prescribed English as the medium of instruction in the schools, but
also discouraged, inhibited, or prohibited the use of Spanish (p. 361). One measure
instituted in the schools was a shift in the curriculum from a focus on reading,
writing, and arithmetic; the 3 Rs, to a focus on common cultural norms, civics
instruction, and command of English; [the 3 Cs] (San Miguel Jr. and Valencia,
1998, p. 366). Efforts were influenced by the idea that all immigrants should
assimilate to U.S. norms and continued to ensure that the presence of Spanish was
restricted to a minimum if not altogether eliminated. San Miguel Jr. & Valencia,
(1998) noted that that English-only policies and anti-Spanish practices could be seen
in public schools throughout the country.
Menchaca (1995) notes that after the 1855 Mexican American war, the
California state legislature passed an educational law prohibiting schools from using
state funds to educate non-Whites, and also that the California government at that
time required the segregation of Whites and non-Whites in school. These conditions
made it difficult for Mexican students to attend school. In 1864, public education
was extended to non-White students, however there were many requirements.
Mexicans had to attend schools separate from Whites, and parents of Mexican
students were required to complete a lengthy petition process that could be denied
by the local school board. Funds to support Mexican schools were generated by
property taxes collected from Mexican residents. The small number of Mexican land
owners restricted the amount of taxes collected and the possibility of establishing a
public school for Mexican children. Consequently, few Mexican children attended

school during this time. Ferg-Cadima (2004) found that legislative efforts to control
the education of Mexicans carried well into the 1900s. .. by 1930, 85% of
Mexican origin children in the southwest were attending either separate classrooms
or entirely separate schools (Ferg-Cadima, 2004, p. 8).
There were several court cases about the segregation of Mexican American
students. The League of United American Citizens (LULAC) brought many to
court. LULAC was established in 1929 as a Latino Civil Rights organization
working to advance the economic condition, educational attainment, political
influence, health and civil rights of the Hispanic population of the United States
(LULAC, 2002). Milestones for LULAC include at least seven desegregation cases
beginning with Indep. School Dist. v. Salvatierra (1930), up to and including
Hernandez v. Driscoll Texas (1957). In 1968, LULAC created the Mexican
American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF). Although a more
complete history of segregation of Mexican American students can be found in the
literature6, four seminal court cases include the Indep. School Dist. v. Salvatierra
(1930); Alvarez v. Owen (1931) (a.k.a. Lemon Grove Incident); Mendez v.
Westminster (1946); and Hernandez v. Texas (1954) (People for the American Way,
n.d.; James Ferg-Cadima, 2004; LULAC, 2002).
In the Indep. School Dist. v. Salvatierra (1930), a class-action lawsuit was
brought forth by parents who believed that Mexican and Mexican American
students were being denied access to educational benefits being afforded to White
students, such as access to comparable school buildings, texts, and teachers with
comparable preparation. The district ruling was in favor of Salvatierra, however, the
ruling was overturned by the Court of Appeals and the case was denied a rehearing,
6 There is much research about the segregation of Mexican American students in the history
of the United States, as it is an interesting and important subject to many scholars including, Donato
(1997), Donato, Menchaca, and Valencia (1991), Gonzalez (1990), Hendrick (1977), Menchaca
(1995), Menchaca & Valencia (1990), San Miguel (1986, 1987), Wollenburg (1978), and Weinberg
(1977). Descriptive documents include Ferg-Cadima on behalf of MALDEF (2004).]

so the original ruling stood and the students remained segregated (People for the
American Way, n.d.; James Ferg-Cadima, 2004; LULAC, 2002).
The Alvarez v. Owen (1931) served as a precursor to Mendez v. Westminster
(1946), which preceded the Brown v. Board of Education (1954). In Alvarez v.
Owen (1931), Mexican American children were forbidden from attending a new
school where the Anglo students were assigned. In this case, language was a proxy
for racism as the reason cited was the limited English proficiency of the Mexican
children. There were several Mexican children who were English proficient, and
they were forced to attend the Mexican school along with the limited English
proficient students. The Mexican American community sued the Lemon Grove
School Board, the court ruled in their favor, and the Mexican American children
could then attend the newer school (Alvarez v. Owen, 1931\ People for the
American Way, n.d.; James Ferg-Cadima, 2004; LULAC, 2002).
In Mendez v. Westminster {1946), the Mendez children were denied
registration at the 17th Street School based on their dark skin and Mexican last
name, while their lighter-skinned and light-eyed cousins with the French sounding
last name of Vidaurri were permitted to enroll {Mendez v. Westminster, 1946). As in
the Lemon Grove case, the reason given for denying the Mendez children admission
was their English language deficiency. No language tests were ever used to make
pupil assignments; stereotypes and bias drove school placement determinations
{Mendez v. Westminster, 1946). The significance of the Mendez case is underscored
by Ferg-Cadima (2004), who states:
The story of the Mendez lawsuit has gone largely untold. A handful
of scholarly sources, mostly inaccessible to the general public,
document this struggle against school segregation in Orange County.
This history is so buried that even Sandra Mendez Duran, one of the
Mendez daughters, only learned of the Mendez case for the first time
when she went off to college (p. 18).

The conditions of the school to which the Mendez children were assigned
was like the schools described by children and parents in other desegregation cases
across the Southwest; limited equipment, pest infested, situated in undesirable
locations such as near farming pastures, limited electricity, the use of discarded or
outdated materials, and a curriculum that was primarily focused on the
Americanization of the students. The Mendez parents led the community movement
to desegregate the schools. The nearly two-year struggle to end the school
segregation began in September of 1944 (People for the American Way, n.d.; James
Ferg-Cadima, 2004; LULAC, 2002). Mr. Mendez and his attorney worked to gather
plaintiffs throughout Southern California, and in March 1945, a class-action suit
filed named five plaintiffs: Gonzalo Mendez, William Guzman, Frank Palomino,
Thomas Estrada, and Lorenzo Ramirez representing their minor children and about
5,000 persons similarly affected. The case was against five school districts, the
Westminster, Santa Ana, El Modena, and Garden Grove school districts.
The arguments by the plaintiffs in Mendez, v. Westminster (1946) asserted
that the children were being denied due process and equal protection of the laws,
under the Fourteenth Amendment, in the absence of state laws that required or
allowed the local school districts of Orange County to operate segregated Mexican
schools (Ferg-Cadima, 2004, p. 18; Mendez v. Westminster, 1946). Arguments by
the defense, however, cited Plessy v. Ferguson of 1896. The U.S. Supreme Court
ruled (Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896) that it was constitutional to provide separate but
equal accommodations for blacks and whites. This decision provided the legal
foundation to justify many other actions by state and local governments to socially
separate blacks and whites. The defense in Mendez v. Westminster (1946), insisted
that the facilities provided to the Mexican children were at minimum equal to those
provided to the White children.
A stipulation was made by the defense that race was not in question, so
whether Mexican children were considered of the White race was not an issue.

Arguments were then focused on language ability, which the school district used as
a proxy for race, and justified the segregation solely as a rational response to the
Mexican American childrens alleged inability to speak English (Ferg-Cadima,
2004, p. 19). After numerous education and social science experts were called to
testify, and many friend-of-the-court briefs were presented from organizations
including the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Lawyers Guild, the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Japanese
American Citizens League, and the American Jewish Committee, a ruling was
handed down in February 1946. Federal District Judge Paul J. McCormick ruled in
favor of the plaintiffs, resulting in an important legal precedent for ending
segregation. Judge McCormick stated that segregation is inherently unequal under
federal law (Mendez v. Westminster, 1946), words that would be echoed years later
in the 1954 Brown case.
The Mendez v. Westminster (1946) case was a precursor to Brown v. Board
of Education (1954) for two important reasons. First, this case prompted the
governor of California, Earl Warren, to sign legislation prohibiting segregation in
California and giving equal rights to all students. Warren later became the chief
justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, and ruled in the Brown case that in the field of
public education, the doctrine of separate but equal has no place (Brown v. Board
of Education, 1954). Secondly, Thurgood Marshall first became involved in
desegregation cases through Mendez v. Westminster, for it was he who filed an
amicus brief on behalf of the NAACP. Marshall later served as the prosecuting
attorney in the Brown case, and the brief he filed for the Mendez v. Westminster case
was instrumental in developing the arguments leading to Brown v. Board of
Education eight years later.
These three cases are among several that bear testament to the Latino
communitys struggle with school desegregation from the perspective of the legal
process (People for the American Way, n.d.). What follows includes studies that

bring to light the experiences of students in schools that were segregated or where
the use of Spanish was restricted.
Devaluing Spanish and Mexican identity. San Miguel Jr. and Valencia (1998) noted
that in some smaller communities the population was primarily Mexican and
Mexican American, and the local leadership reflected the population. Schools in
these communities used Spanish. The restrictive language policies did not
immediately result in a decline in the use of Spanish. Anglo officials did not
overlook these structures, and efforts were eventually enacted to increase control of
these schools and transform them to be consistent with other Americanization
institutions where the Spanish language and the Mexican culture (San Miguel Jr.
and Valencia, 1998, p. 361) were removed. The policies relegated Spanish to an
inferior status and established a legal basis for removing Spanish from the public
schools. Valenzuela (1999) noted, is important to emphasize how the
organization of schooling has been historically implicated in the devaluation of the
Spanish language, Mexico, the Mexican culture, and things Mexican (p. 26).
In the following study, MacGregor-Mendoza (2000) provides qualitative
historical accounts of over one hundred Spanish speakers whose Spanish language
was found to be in conflict with English on school grounds, resulting in punishment.
While this study is not about desegregation as the cases reviewed above, this study
does serve to illuminate school policy and practice relative to non-English speaking
students in public schools.
Students in a sociolinguistic class in the Las Cruces, New Mexico,
community were asked to interview adult Spanish-speaking friends and family
members about their school memories. Informants were asked to reflect on their
experiences in school as Spanish speakers, and to recount what events they
experienced or witnessed that exemplified their school's language policy. The
participants were also asked to relate how their school experiences affected them,

then and now. It is not stated whether the interviews were conducted in Spanish,
English, or both. It is assumed that the interviews were conducted in the language of
the informant, and that the interviewers were probably bilingual.
What emerged from the interviews (McGregor-Mendoza, 2000) was that the
majority of informants did experience some form of punishment for speaking
Spanish, a few informants who lived in rural communities where Spanish was the
primary language for most residents reported being allowed to speak Spanish freely,
and a third group of informants could not recall a specific punishment for speaking
Spanish, but did recall that it was discouraged. The majority of respondents recalled
that physical punishment, particularly in primary grades, was common. Physical
punishments included the smacking of hands with a ruler, being paddled, pinched,
pulled by the ear, using soap to wash out the mouth, or being forced to engage in a
test of physical endurance such as running laps around the schools track, or running
up and down flights of stairs for hours. The informants described the recollections
as vivid, painful experiences. Another finding was that while most of the teachers
inflicting the punishments were Anglo, there were also Hispanic teachers who
inflicted the same punishments, and this caused confusion for the informants when
they were students because they assumed some degree of understanding from the
Hispanic teachers.
There were also accounts of punishments that were non-corporal; in these
accounts speaking Spanish was considered a form of misconduct (McGregor-
Mendoza, 2000). The penalties included public humiliation, detention, demerits,
additional homework, being sent to the principals office, or being sent home. For
example, Spanish speaking students were made to stand in a corner, sometimes
wearing a dunce cap. Some informants reported having been sent into a closet for
reflection on bad behavior. Others reported that the inability to speak enough
English led teachers to deny students access to the bathroom. An emerging theme
from the accounts of informants who were verbally berated was that the contempt

expressed by the teachers for the Spanish language was often extended to contempt
for the ethnic and cultural heritage of the students, to the degree that English was
valued above the discomfort, immediate physical needs, or suffering of the students.
A student giving the correct response was only given credit if the pronunciation of
the response was in English. The impact of these punishments was equally painful
and far reaching as the physical punishments.
According to the informants (McGregor-Mendoza, 2000), the effects of
these punishments carried over to later generations. Many informants confirmed that
the punishments they endured for speaking Spanish led them to decide not to pass
Spanish along to their children in hopes of providing an easier educational
experience for them. MacGregor-Mendoza (2000) concludes that recent initiatives
to restrict or ban bilingual education demonstrate the same degree of insensitivity to
heritage languages that existed decades ago. She adds that sweeping educational
language policies are adopted toward the end of controlling the role of language
without regard for the short- and long-term painful consequences to the individuals
and communities in terms of culture, self-esteem, and academic drive.
The case studies reviewed above illustrate that language was used as a proxy
for race in efforts to enact policies that controlled, restricted, discriminated and even
justified the mistreatment of Spanish-speaking children and persons in the U.S. In a
more current study, Galindo (1997) illustrates that evidence can still be found for
the devaluing of Mexicans and Spanish. Galindo (1997) found that arguments from
the language-as-problem view were anchored in pointing out that the absence of
English was a problem and that the presence of Spanish was a problem. Evidence of
this, as pointed out by Galindo (1997), was in the school district proposal he
examined. Galindos analysis found that the school district considered the limited
English proficiency of bilingual students to be the problem. Bilingual education was
proposed as a remedial program and a corrective action. The program would use the
native language only to the degree needed to bridge the student to an all English

instructional environment; the students Spanish language and potential to become
biliterate was not considered. Galindo found that the editorial positions also
reflected a language-as-problem view in supporting the position that the goal of a
bilingual program should be the acquisition of English. The editorials challenged the
effectiveness of bilingual education as the best way to teach English, while not
attributing any value to being bilingual or developing biliteracy.
In contrast, parents used the language-as-resource view, and their arguments
were located within the civil and human rights arena (Galindo, 1997). Parents
repeatedly mentioned the advantages of bilingualism and biliteracy for students and
for the future well-being of the country. Galindo also found that immigrant parents
described the bilingual context as affording them meaningful access to school
communications and opportunities to be directly involved in the education of their
children both in the classroom and in the broader school-wide context. These
parents argued that English-only restrictions would eliminate or significantly curtail
the degree of parent involvement in the education of their children both in school
and at home. Galindo noted that these arguments took place in the context of
national trends and nativist efforts aimed at challenging minority rights, and
specifically aimed at dismantling bilingual education. Debates over linguistic
resources are ultimately debates over the valuing and devaluing of languages in
competition for status between groups of speakers (Galindo, 1997, page 4).
Direct Democracy
One way that language policy is enacted is through direct democracy. As
described in chapter 1, the current practice of direct democracy is found in some
form in 24 states, primarily in the West. Colorado is one of 24 states that practices
direct democracy (Cronin, 1999; Gerber, et al 2001). This dissertation examined
how public debate played a role in persuading the public to vote one way or another

on an issue that was brought before Colorado voters through the direct democracy
In essence, direct democracy is described in the literature as a state-level
policy making practice through which citizens can author legislation that is then put
forth to be considered directly by the voters, without the need for action by elected
representatives (Bowler, Donovan, & Tolbert, 1998; Cronin, 1999; Gerber, et al.,
2001; Warner, 1995; Magleby, D., 1984 and 1994; Mattson, 2000). The direct
democracy process was used in Colorado for proposing the anti-bilingual language
education policy in 2000 when the measure did not appear on the ballot because of
the misleading title (In re Title, Ballot Title & Submission Clause, & Summary
for 1999-2000 #258(A) (2000). The direct democracy process was again used to
bring Amendment 31 (English Language Education, 44 P.3d 213), directly to the
voters through the citizen initiative. Amendment 31 would have amended the
Colorado state constitution, and the debates surrounding Amendment 31 were
framed in this context.
On the surface, direct democracy seems to allow many avenues for voters to
be heard. However, there are criticisms of direct democracy to be considered as
well. One example is that direct democracy has emboldened a nativist language
policy agenda to be enacted in the name of English for the Children, especially from
1998 to the present. Studies reviewed in this section were related to language policy
enacted in the U.S. through the process of direct democracy in the last 25 years.
English in the United States:
Two Perspectives
Two perspectives about English which have underscored common strategies
in the debate on official English in the last three decades differ in rhetoric but are
both rooted in nativist sentiments. Every time there is an initiative there are at least
two perspectives, and herein is the social struggle underlying arguments used in