Senate voted on two separate amendments to make English the national language and to make it the common unifying language of the country. U.S. English, an advocate group for "Official English" summarizes their belief that "the passage of English as the official language will help to expand opportunities for immigrants to learn and speak English, the single greatest empowering tool that immigrants must have to succeed". Even though many states in the United states have passed legislations stating english as official language, New york does not seem to have one yet.
Thus, it can be seen that there are several advocates of this movement. However, there are several ill-effects of this on the education of language minority students, besides others. In this essay, we will first examine the ideologies underlying the English-Only movement, then review the consequences of it on the education in New York.
The advisability of legislation mandating an official language policy is hardly a new issue, but one that has been debated throughout the history of the United States. Crawford (1992) in his book, Language Loyalties, summarizes the opposing views on this topic, as follows:
"For supporters, the case is obvious: English has always been our common language, a means of resolving conflicts in a nation of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious groups. The Reaffirming the preeminence of English means reaffirming of a unifying force in American life. Moreover, English is an essential tool of social mobility and economic advancement. The English Language Amendment would "send a message" to immigrants, encouraging them to join in rather than remain apart, and to government, cautioning against policies which could retard English acquisition. For opponents, Official English is synonymous with English-Only: a mean-spirited attempt to coerce Anglo-conformity by terminating essential services in other languages. The amendment poses a threat to civil rights, educational opportunities and free speech, even in the private sector. It is an insult to the heritage of cultural minorities, including groups whose roots in this country go deeper than English speakers Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and American Indians. Worst of all, the English-Only movement serves to justify racist and nativity biases under the cover of American patriotism".
THE SCENARIO OF EDUCATION IN NEW YORK
By the year 2010, over thirty percent of all school-age children will come from homes in which the primary language is not English. Though we tend to think of immigrants settling in primarily urban areas, large numbers of recently arrived families live in rural and suburban communities. In New York City alone, there are more than one hundred languages represented in public school classrooms. The same phenomenon is the norm in many areas of the country. In Rochester, Minnesota schools serve students speaking over 60 different languages. Some of the most common languages spoken by students in these classrooms include Spanish, Korean, Cantonese, Mandarin, and other dialects of Chinese, Haitian-Creole, and Russian.
The educational predicament of students of limited English proficiency has been a focus of policymakers and the courts for almost 30 years. According to federal law, and under many state laws, if students cannot participate meaningfully and