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ERIC Number: EJ915048
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1074-1917
Targeting Diversity: A Critical Account of Language Policy and Public Education
Johnson, Eric J.; Brandt, Elizabeth A.
Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy, v21 p59-68 2008-2009
Drawing from the surge of anti-bilingual education sentiments at the turn of the millennium, Ron Unz and the program he initiated, English for the Children, promoted Proposition 203 to dismantle bilingual and English as a second language (ESL) programs in Arizona's public schools. According to Unz's initiative, language-minority students were to be placed in "Sheltered English Immersion" (a term coined by the English for the Children movement) for a period usually not to exceed one year before being mainstreamed into the regular education classroom. In this article, the authors underscore the emphasis placed on Arizona's high stakes accountability assessment--the AIMS. Scores on the AIMS test are the most influential factor in assessing student, school, and district achievement for state and federal designation purposes. Considering the immense pressure on schools to perform, the situation facing schools with a high language-minority student population is exacerbated under the imposed guidelines of Proposition 203 and the ongoing legal battles in the legislature. In order to understand how this context is translated into the everyday experiences of students and educators, the current study focuses on a school district that serves a predominantly language-minority community. While the general educational goals of policies like NCLB, AZ LEARNS, and Proposition 203 are not inherently bad (i.e., that students learn English so that they have access to dominant class social institutions), the harmful effects emerge out of how language use is characterized and treated in general. There are two major features of language policies that deeply affect language-minority students. First, how these policies are understood and implemented by people in positions of power (e.g., educators) determines the way students view the value of languages. Second, the way the students' native-language abilities are treated determines the perception of their own proficiencies. (Contains 28 resources.)
John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. 79 John F. Kennedy Street, Cambridge, MA 02138. Tel: 617-496-0320; Fax: 617-384-9555; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001