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By James Crawford

A set of 18 essays addressing the coverage and politics of training English language inexperienced persons. topics contain demographic switch and its academic implications, American responses to language variety, public controversies over bilingual schooling, high-stakes trying out and its influence on English language inexperienced persons, and the precarious prestige of language rights within the united states.

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Extra resources for Advocating for English Learners: Selected Essays (Bilingual Education & Bilingualism)

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Anecdotal Arguments Throughout the campaign, there was a heavy reliance on humaninterest stories rather than objective evidence. Obviously, journalists need these kinds of narratives to make their stories compelling. But policymaking by anecdote is irresponsible unless one can be confident that (1) the anecdote is true and (2) it is representative of some larger truth. Both of these points can be hard to determine. To illustrate, let me belabor a story that every reporter who covered the 49 W:\Clients\MLM\Crawford\ Crawford Proof 3 27 February 2008 17:00:34 Color profile: Disabled Composite Default screen Advocating for English Learners 48 campaign will recall.

Unspoken Assumptions Throughout the campaign, evidence supporting the effectiveness of bilingual programs has been belittled or ignored by news media, while negative portrayals are often accepted without question. What’s driving this strange debate in which normal standards of proof no longer apply? Clearly, there are unspoken assumptions here. We debate the language of instruction because political realities forbid a comprehensive effort to improve schooling for poor children, whatever language they happen to speak.

California had plenty of excellent bilingual programs that contradicted this assessment. Indeed, we directed several reporters to them. But somehow the success stories were rarely considered newsworthy, and few received any attention at all. Here are three specific examples of how the press largely failed to do its job of independently investigating the truth: • Journalists rarely put the underachievement and dropout rates of Latino students in context, to explain that many of the same problems affect kids who speak English just as much as they affect those who don’t.

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