Language Policy - Proposition 203

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Language Policy - Proposition 203

Proposition 203

Proposition 203 is a Language Policy implemented in Arizona in 2000. This began as an initiative to abolish bilingual education and use Structured English Immersion as the means of instruction for ELLs.

According to Carlos Ovando, "changing political, social, and economic forces, rather than any consistent ideology, have shaped the nation's responses to language ideology.

Brief history of Education

All in favor of say yay!

All those opposed say nay!

In conclusion

Ron Unz proposed Proposition 203 as the Unz initiative in 2000. Prior to this, Unz suceeded in passing Proposition 227 in California where instruction was taught in English. Much of his facts on the "benefits" of Proposition 203 was falsified information that was never based on research.

Who is Ron Unz and what is a null policy?

12.5 % of students in Arizona qualify for English language services. That being said, students are expected to mainstream into English in one year. However, research shows that it takes an average person five to six years to become academically proficient.

Hiya! Ron Unz here! Millionaire Silicon Valley businessman by day, clown in this three ring circus called Proposition 203.

But really...

According to Dr. Wright (2013), "language policy is rarely just about language...". Furthermore, it is usually about political and social dimensions!

In conjunction, Arizona's 2010 SB 1070 aka "Show me your papers" provision is considered unconstitutional and a form of racial profiling based on a person's ethnicity and language to determine their immigration status. Considering Arizona's history, is this a coincidence? We think not!!! An anti-immigration policy such as this is a reassertion of dominant culture and language and just another form of language oppression.

Overview of SEI

This article talks about how he believes the investigation is a direct attack on Arizona for passing Senate Bill 1070, a strict legal immigration enforcement law. "I do think this is a lot of response we're dealing with over 1070..." Horne told the Arizona Republic.

Cummins (1984) demonstrated the principles of BICS (social language acquired in two years) and CALP (academic language acquired in five to seven years). BICS is context embedded (face to face, actions, non verbal and verbal communication) and CALP is context reduced (where higher order thinking skills are utilized). There is no research that shows hour hours a day of English instruction is better than dual language programs as well! Cummins research show it take learners years to acquire the langauge! That is keeping in mind they have ample oppurtunities to use it, not just four hours a day!



A shocking number of people are opposed to bilingual education in Arizona and they support Structured English ImmersionThe following comments were pulled from NPR's websit after "All Things Considered" aired information opposing AZ's language policy. here is what they said: "Here's a solution. Send them and their illegal parents, back to their country of origin, to attend their country's schools"- Pasaquino Marforio"There is no doubt in my mind that immersion is the best way to learn a new language. You not only learn the language but you'll learn a new culture. Immigrants have the responsibility of learning the culture and language of the adopted country" - Mojgan Haji"I believe the best way to learn a new language is immerse yourself in it... school kids interacting only with other Spanish speakers won't get any experience with or the need to learn English"-Frankie G

Those oppsed fail to consider how long it really takes to learn a foreign languageThey do not take into account that many of the students are falling behind, not because of Spanish influence or interference but because Sheltered Instruction does not provide enough academic hours nor is a year even close to adequate compared to their English speaking peersThe state has implemented this law for political reasons and has no research based evidence regarding four hours a day as sufficient amount of instruction rather, the number is completely arbitrary and should not be considered a valid argument. As far as recent developments regading this policy are concerned, Tom Horne who is now the attorney general has said he intends to prosecute anyone in violation. The state allows for districts to propose modifications but attempts to implement alternative programs have been blocked by AZ Department of Education

According to Wright 2005, Proposition 203 mandates that "all children shall be placed in English language classrooms" and that ELLs "shall be educated through sheltered English immersion during a temporary transition period not to exceed one year." (Wright, 2005, 669). Minimal use of language is allowed when necessary.

A UCLA scholar and graduate Civil Rights project conducted a study that found: 1) The test for English readiness lacks techincal validity2)approximately 85% of the teaachers were concerned segregation in the classroom was harmful to the EL students' personal and academic development 3)Most students were not able to achieve proficiency in English in one to two years4) Students were denied access to regular curriculum and stigmatized in segregated classroomsThese are just a few findingsand Tom Horne has threatened researchers with contempt of court for refusual to identify the participants in the study read about it here:

Long before European colonization, there were an estimated 250 to 1,0000 American Indian languages spoken. Our Founding Fathers wanted unification. Unfortuanately, Eurpean languages were seen as superior, and for many decades, all other groups were treated with racial, classist, and prejudices against them.

American Indians were even fored to go to boarding schools to lose their culture. In the 1960's, students were punished in school for speaking Spanish and even American Indian languages. The push for unity came until protestors fought for unity. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ended discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and origin.

"Government policies that dictate linguistic and cultural behavior limit liberty and marginalize citizens"Jon Reyhner (2007)


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