ERIC Number: ED258446
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Dec
One Language for the United States? (Un Idioma para Los Estados Unidos?) CSG Backgrounder.
Ford, Mark L.
The United States has become increasingly multilingual in recent decades, and while English is the most commonly spoken language, almost 11 percent of Americans prefer to speak another language at home. Bilingualism is promoted by governmental units at the federal, state, and local levels through a variety of programs, particularly in education and in the conduct of elections, but recent legislation has reduced the number of counties that must print bilingual ballots, and a backlash against bilingualism is occurring. The states, while required to abide by federal laws, can declare an official language and can urge Congress to repeal bilingualism laws. A pending federal constitutional amendment making English the official language of the United States would, if ratified, change federal policies regarding bilingual education and voting assistance. Proponents of the amendment argue that it is necessary for unity and consistency, both social and political, and opponents argue that it is unnecessary, would accomplish little, might foster disunity, and would deny to some a meaningful participation in the electoral process. Two organizations favoring and opposing the amendment are listed as sources of further information on the issue. (MSE)
Descriptors: Bilingual Education, Bilingualism, Federal Legislation, Language Usage, Minority Groups, Official Languages, Public Administration, Public Opinion, Public Policy, Second Languages
States Information Center, The Council of State Governments, P.O. Box 11910, Lexington, KY 40578 ($3.50).
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council of State Governments, Lexington, KY.