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Curriculum and Instruction
EDEC 248
Lerona Dana Lewis

EDEC 248 - Multicultural Education – L. Lewis Fall 2012 CUMMINS READING  education everywhere reveals systematic & intentional process whereby dominant groups organize structure of educational provision that construct human differences as deficits invoked as explanation of children’s poor academic performance  school failure of marginalized students attributed to intrinsic characteristics or social/educational programs intended to serve interests of group  “regime of truth” attributes underachievement of low income bilingual children to deficits children bring to school & failure of school to respond adequately  major problem: when attribute deficits to psychological/linguistic functioning, expel culture, language, identity, intellect, imagination  focus on student & community deficits deflect scrutiny from social conditions  little push for equality of access to funding to raising achievement in underfunded schools o easier to focus on deficits of students that highlight inequities of economic distribution Evolution of the Bilingual Education Debate  some say bilingual education is illadvised & threatens social/political stability of nation  roots of bilingual paranoia seen in evolution of policy debate through 4 phases  phase 1: 1967 – 1974 o bilingual education instituted in late 1960s with relatively little hard evidence o many didn’t like the idea but willing to give it a chance o some concerned would have opposite effect preventing other language speaking students from entering mainstream English speaking America & might give rise to divisiveness associated with bilingualism in Canada o first phase marked by tolerance for potential o rationale not disputed  phase II: 1974 – 1986 o Supreme Court acknowledged civil rights of non-English-speaking students violated when school took no step to help them acquire language of instruction o didn’t mandate bilingual education, mandated schools take effective measures to overcome educational disadvantages from home/school language mismatch o office of civil rights thought it meant effectively mandating transitional bilingual education  sparked outrage among those totally unprepared to offer bilingual instruction o argument saying children can’t learn in language they don’t understanding no longer self- evident o Epstein  evidence showed Anglophone children taught initially in French to develop fluent bilingual skills didn’t suffer academically from home/school language switch o results suggested English immersion programs plausible alternative to bilingual programs o appeared more logical children deficient in English need to maximize instruction in that language, not native one  if not, won’t participate in society  phase 3: 1987 – 1998 o linguistic mismatch hypothesis & maximum exposure hypothesis still prominent o US English organization made English the official language in 19 states through referenda o urgency enhanced during late 1980s by publications warning of cultural diversity dangers o wanted America to reach monoliteracy before multiliteracy  multilingualism increases cultural fragmentation, civil antagonisms, illiteracy & economic technological ineffectualness EDEC 248 - Multicultural Education – L. Lewis Fall 2012 o arguments: promotes segregation, shits doors, nourishes self-ghettoization which nourishes racial antagonism, dooms people to second class citizenship o argument bilingualism shits doors & monolingual education opens doors not true if viewed in isolation o if diversity increases dramatically during next 30 years = extreme urgency to curtail the infiltration of diversity & bilingual education  phase 4: 1998 – 2002 o California Proposition 227 (June 1998) & Arizona Proposition 203 (November 2000) aimed to eliminate use of bilingual children’s first language for instructional purposes o transitional program of structured English immersion for one year implemented o any teachers who refused to implement it could be sued in court o opponents argued LEP being denied access to English & academic achievement o proponents argued L1 instruction in early grades necessary; transfer of academic skills/knowledge across languages evidenced; L1 proficiency could be promoted at no cost to children’s academic development in English; teachers increasing language of students increased likelihood of parental involvement o Proposition 227 hasn’t fully eliminated bilingual education from California  parents can sign a waiver requesting their child be educated bilingually o to legitimately analyze opposition to bilingual education as form of coercive relations of power, empirical evidence from both sides must be examined The Applied Linguistics Research Consensus  bilingual programs for minority and majority language students have been successfully implemented in countries around the world  bilingual education by itself is not a panacea for students’ underachievement o underachievement from many sources o simply providing L1 instruction won’t transform
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