ERIC Number: EJ961618
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-May
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
The Language Policy of State Drivers' License Testing: Expediency, Symbolism, or Creeping Incrementalism?
Schiffman, Harold F.; Weiner, Richard E.
Language Policy, v11 n2 p189-196 May 2012
Until recently, educational language policy in the US has been the chief site of contention about language, as seen in recent initiatives, referenda, and state constitutional amendments. Provision for drivers' licensing testing in languages other than English (LotE), on the other hand, has often exemplified what we call expedient language policy, i.e. using a LotE for a higher end, that of ensuring highway safety and enhancing opportunities (freedom of travel, especially for economic benefits, i.e. work). In some states, however, notably an Alabama case "Alexander v. Sandoval," language policy of vehicle licensing has become symbolic of other issues, and the ACLU is now pitted against the National Review, the English-Only and English-First organizations, as well as disability-rights organizations, many of whom have provided amicus curae briefs, all of which seems at first glance out of proportion to the importance of the issue at hand. Between the time this paper was proposed and the present, the Supreme Court has heard this case and found in favor of the state of Alabama and against the parties to the original suit. (The court heard "Alexander v. Sandoval" No. 99-1908 on January 16, 2001, and issued its opinion, for Alexander, on April 24, 2001.)
Descriptors: Language Planning, Testing, Certification, Motor Vehicles, Educational Policy, Traffic Safety, Travel, Freedom, Court Litigation, English Only Movement, Disabilities, Civil Rights, Organizations (Groups), English (Second Language), Second Languages
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama