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Forbidden Language: English Learners and Restrictive Language Policies

Authors: Patricia Gándara, Megan Hopkins (editors)
Date Published: January 01, 2010

Increasingly, the academic achievement of English language Learners (ELLs) is affecting the academic achievement of American students as a whole Book: Forbidden Languages
Forbidden Language Cover

Teachers College Press, Copyright © 2010
ISBN 0-80775-046-8 (hardcover), 0-80775-045-X (paperback)

About the Book

“At a time when nativism and ugly anti-immigrant discourse is played out daily on talk radio and cable television, I took hope in reading these chapters, especially when it is clear that learning English is such a priority for these children and their parents. While I doubt that restrictionists will heed its findings, policymakers and educators should read this book carefully.”
—Michael A. Olivas, William B. Bates Distinguished Chair in Law, University of Houston

“This volume offers a sobering view of the consequences of making educational policy by referendum, and of the ways in which we have failed English language learners in U.S. schools.”
—Catherine Snow, Harvard Graduate School of Education

Pulling together the most up-to-date research on the effects of restrictive language policies, Forbidden Language focuses on what we know about the actual outcomes for students and teachers in California, Arizona, and Massachusetts—states where these policies have been adopted. Prominent legal experts in bilingual education analyze these policies and specifically consider whether the new data undermine their legal viability. Other prominent contributors examine alternative policies and how these have fared. Finally, Patricia Gándara, Daniel Losen, and Gary Orfield suggest how better policies, that rely on empirical research, might be constructed.

This timely volume:

  • Features contributions from well-known educators and scholars in bilingual education.
  • Includes an overview of English learners in the United States and a brief history of the policies that have guided their instruction.
  • Analyzes the current research on teaching English learners in order to determine the most effective instructional strategies.


Part I: English Learners and Restricitve Langauge Policies

  • "The Changing Linguistic Landscape of the United States" by Patricia Gándara and Megan Hopkins
  • "Forbidden Language: A Brief History of U.S. Language Policy" by Patricia Gándara, Daniel Losen, Diane August, Miren Uriarte, M. Cecilia Gómez, and Megan Hopkins

Part II: Evidence on Outcomes of Restrictive Language Policies

  • "Proposition 227 in California: A Long-Term Appraisal of Its Impact on English Learner Student Achievement" by Laura Wentworth, Nathan Pellegrin, Karen Thompson, and Kenji Hakuta
  • "Casteñada’s Third Prong: Evaluating the Achievement of Arizona’s English Learners Under Restrictive language Policy" by Kate Mahoney, Jeff MacSwan, Tom Haladyna, and David García.
  • "Impact of Restrictive Language Policies on Engagement and Academic Achievement of English Learners in Boston Public Schools" by Miren Uriarte, Rosann Tung, Nicole Lavan, and Virginia Diez
  • "State Language Policies, School Language Practices, and the English Learner Achievement Gap" by Russell W. Rumberger and Loan Tran
  • "Shifting Landscapes of Professional Practices: English Learner Special Education Placement in English-Only States" by Alfredo J. Artiles, Janette K. Klingner, Amanda Sullivan, and Edward G. Fierros
  • "Undermining Teacher Competencies: Another Look at the Impact of Restrictive Language Policies" by Ester J. de Jong, M. Beatriz Arias, and María Teresa Sánchez

Part III: Is There Evidence for Superior Alternatives to Restrictive Language Policies?

  • "Restrictive State language Policies: Are They Scientifically Based?" by Diane August, Claude Goldenberg, and Ursula S. Aldana
  • "Bilingualism for the Children: Dual-Language Programs Under Restrictive Language Policies" by April Linton and Rebecca C. Franklin

Part IV: Charting the Future of Language Policy in Education

  • "Challenging Limitations: The Growing Potential for Overturning Restrictive Language Policies and Ensuring Equal Educational Opportunity" by Daniel Losen
  • "Moving from Failure to a New Vision of Language Policy" by Patricia Gándara and Gary Orfield.
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