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ERIC Number: ED569654
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 258
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-3039-3193-2
Questioning Question 2: A Critical Discourse Analysis Project on the Campaign against Bilingual Education in Massachusetts in 2002
Tran, Thao Thi Kim
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Teachers College, Columbia University
In recent years, the practice of the ballot initiative has shifted the role of policymaking from legislators and experts to voters generating propositions--including in the area of education policy. This critical discourse analysis project examines the English for the Children group's discursive strategies in their efforts to dismantle bilingual education in Massachusetts through voter referendum, Question 2. The researcher examines over 120 documents from English for the Children to answer the following questions: How did the English for the Children group construct its ideological viewpoint about language learning and policy in the campaign for Question 2? What themes or patterns were presented in the texts regarding bilingual education and bilingual speakers? Did the campaign invoke the concept of direct democracy; and, if so, how was this concept interwoven within the Initiative's rhetoric? The researcher used Spivak's conceptions of power from a postcolonial perspective as a guide for the analysis to explore how power navigates the relationship between language planning and ideology to reveal the discursive practices of the campaign for Question 2. Fairclough's critical discourse analysis was also used as a theoretical guide and as a methodological approach, with emphasis on examining the linguistic and intertextual dimensions of the campaign's texts. The findings reveal that, within the discursive practice of the campaign, the strategy of "logic of appearances" was used to convey the Initiative's mission: "Let's teach all of America's children English, and end bilingual education nationwide." Bilingual education was predominantly described with negative words and phrases (over 70 percent) targeting the proponents of the program as delusional or fanatic, while describing the program as failing children. The invocation of the ballot initiative reiterated to the voters their choice to decide how children should be instructed. This study concludes with research implications for in-depth interviews with voters from 2002 on their interpretations of Question 2, as well as suggestions for longitudinal study of student outcomes post-Question 2. Lastly, as voter referendum is here to stay, the researcher suggests an equitable ballot initiative process, with state funding available for disenfranchised communities who could not afford to generate funds privately, to ensure they could also partake in language planning and policy. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts