Equity and Excellence in Education

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<ul><li><p>EQUITY &amp; EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION, 41(3), 275278, 2008Copyright C University of Massachusetts Amherst School of EducationISSN: 1066-5684 print / 1547-3457 onlineDOI: 10.1080/10665680802179139</p><p>Bilingualism &amp; Biliteracy: Issues of Equity, Access,&amp; Social Justice for English Language Learners:</p><p>Introduction to This Special Issue</p><p>James L. Rodrguez and Karen Cadiero-KaplanSan Diego State University</p><p>This special issue of Equity in Excellence in Education presents a series of articles that focus onconceptual, curricular, pedagogical, and policy issues that are central to the education of Englishlanguage learners (ELLs) and the development of biliteracy. This special issue highlights thechallenges and opportunities to create and sustain educational programs that are both equitableand socially just for the diverse ELLs in schools.</p><p>This special issue addresses critical issues and is timely, given the policies, programs, andpractices that have been impacted by No Child Left Behind (2002), Reading First, Proposition227 in California, and Question 2 in Massachusetts. The struggle for equitable education for ELLshighlights the critical need to educate and enrich the policies, programs, and practices that leadto biliteracy and cultural pluralism. The articles in this special issue illustrate socially just andequitable policies, programs, and practices toward English language development and fluency inEnglish. There is an emphasis on pedagogies, programs, and policies aimed specifically towardbiliteracy and cultural pluralism that move away from assimilation practices and one size fits alleducation in English.</p><p>This special issue addresses the concern that the English-only policies and politics of the pastdecade have impeded ethno-linguistically diverse students by limiting access to quality educationmodels and the promotion of compensatory models. Many of these compensatory models takea deficit approach toward the cultural and linguistic backgrounds of ELLs (Brisk, 2006). Thearticles in this special issue argue that the native language and culture of ELLs are key assets thatare critical for biliteracy, achievement, and overall growth and development.</p><p>The special issue opens with an article, Reframing Due Process and Institutional Inertia:A Case Study of an Urban School District, that recounts a communitys struggle for accessto biliteracy in one of the largest urban school districts in the country. Edward M. Olivos andAlberto M. Ochoa describe, via an action research approach, how community leaders and parentschallenged the school district and their policies. Their analysis sheds light on the key federal andstate policies that have informed civil rights and bilingual education over the past 30 years, and theyshare a community-based approach toward critical engagement in efforts to improve educationalopportunities and practices for ELLs in the school district. At a deeper level, Olivos and Ochoa</p><p>Both authors contributed equally to this introduction to the issue.</p></li><li><p>276 JAMES L. RODRIGUEZ AND KAREN CADIERO-KAPLAN</p><p>highlight the impact that institutional inertia plays, within the backdrop of an educational reformmovement, in thwarting the educational choices of ELLs and their parents rights to makepedagogical decisions on their behalf.</p><p>The next article, Best Practices for English Language Learners in Massachusetts: Five Yearsafter the Question 2 Mandate, authored by Janet M. Smith and Celine Coggins, with JorgeM. Cardoso, examines the challenges for teachers and policymakers in educating ELLs after theNovember 2002 passage of a Massachusetts voter-supported law that mandated Sheltered EnglishImmersion (SEI) as the primary means of instruction for ELLs. The passage and implementationof Question 2 effectively ended transitional bilingual education in Massachusetts. Smith and hercolleagues present case studies of three schools that are making significant strides with ELLsthrough innovative programming built around SEI methods while maintaining important bilingualeducation practices. The practices highlighted in their article are critical elements in the promotionof educational equity and cultural pluralism within these schools.</p><p>The third article, English Language Proficiency and Bilingual Verbal Ability. Among Chi-nese, Dominican, and Haitian Immigrant Students by Mariela Paez, examines English languageproficiency and bilingual verbal ability for Chinese, Dominican, and Haitian adolescents. A keyoutcome of Paez study is the importance of understanding the role of students native languagecompetencies in determining English language ability. Paez article highlights the need to bet-ter understand the role the first language plays in developing academic literacy for ELLs. Herarticle also argues for the critical need to understand similarities and differences among the im-migrant groups studied. Finally, Paez calls for increased attention to educational needs of ELLsin secondary schools.</p><p>In the article, Cultural and Linguistic Investment: Adolescents in a Secondary Two-WayImmersion, Carol Bearse and Ester J. de Jong provide insight into the effectiveness of a Two-WayImmersion (TWI) program for ELL students at the middle and high school levels in a Northeasternschool district. Their study is timely, given as also pointed out by Paez, the growing need tounderstand effective practices for ELLs at the secondary level. By examining the effectiveness ofpractices in a secondary TWI program, Bearse and de Jong also begin to address a significant gapin the literature where the focus has been the examination of TWI programs at the elementarylevel. Their study focused on secondary students perceptions of their participation in the Spanish-English TWI program. Bearse and de Jong provide a clear overview of TWI and the potentialbenefits of TWI programs for ELLs at the secondary level.</p><p>Having considered the need for linguistic and cultural validation via a TWI program in theBearse and de Jong article, the special issue proceeds to Maria del Carmen Salazars article,English or Nothing: The Impact of Rigid Language Policies on the Inclusion of HumanizingPractices in a High School ESL Program. Salazar points to the need to be cognizant of practicesthat have the potential to humanize or dehumanize students. She shares the findings of a studythat examined how one school districts language policies impacted teaching practices for ELLstudents enrolled in a high school ESL program. Salazar utilizes a theoretical framework basedupon Paulo Freires concept of humanizing pedagogy to examine both policy and instruction ina secondary ESL program. The study findings indicate that when ESL teachers adhere to rigidlanguage policies, they fail to create humanizing practices in their classrooms. In contrast, whenteachers do not hold themselves strictly accountable to the institutionalized discourse of ESL,they are able to enact humanizing practices where students linguistic and cultural resources arevalidated as essential for the development of academic resiliency.</p></li><li><p>SPECIAL ISSUE INTRODUCTION: BILINGUALISM AND BILITERACY 277</p><p>Questions raised by Salazar are then further considered by Shanan Fitts, Lisa Winstead, EvelynM. Weisman, Susana Y. Flores, and Christine Valenciana in their article, Coming to Voice:Preparing Bilingual-Bicultural Teachers for Social Justice. Fitts et al. examine the developmentof bicultural voice in Latina/o pre-service teachers. They describe how pre-service teachers whoparticipated in bilingual cohorts were provided key opportunities to juxtapose personal narrativeswithin broader social contexts, thereby allowing pre-service teachers the space to examine andcritique the ideology and curricula of schools. Fitts et al. assert that cultivating social justiceorientations in bilingual-bicultural pre-service teachers is crucial to the empowerment of bilingual-bicultural teachers and their students. Fitts et al. illustrate the importance of the preparation ofteachers who will work with ELLs, and in doing so, raise additional questions as to how teachereducation programs and relevant educational policies can ensure that teachers recognize andrespond to issues of equity and social justice critical to the education of ELLs.</p><p>The final article in the special issue is by Karen Cadiero-Kaplan and James Rodrguez. ThePreparation of Highly Qualified Teachers for English Learners: Educational Responsiveness forUnmet Needs addresses the questions raised by the Fitts et al. article. Cadiero-Kaplan andRodrguez describe the policy context for teacher preparation in California and the steps takenby educators and researchers to address the needs of ELLs via teacher preparation. Cadiero-Kaplan and Rodrguez provide a framework for understanding how policies at the federal andstate level interact, thus impacting equity via the preparation of teachers to meet the needs ofELLs. They proceed to share efforts by educators and researchers to ensure that all teachers areprepared to meet the needs of ELLs. As the ELL population increases nationwide, it is imperativethat educators simultaneously engage in research examining equity and social justice for ELLsand engage in the policymaking process to work toward greater quality and access for ELLstudents.</p><p>It is important to note that the articles in this special issue represent a sample of recent andemerging research on the education of ELLs. For example, more than 25 submissions werereceived for this special issue. Due to space limitations, it was not possible to include a numberof significant papers. To that end, we anticipate that those articles that have been selected forthe special issue will encourage continued scholarship regarding the education of ELLs. It is ourhope that all students, regardless of their native language, experience equity and social justice intheir education.</p><p>REFERENCES</p><p>Brisk, M. E. (2006). Bilingual education: From compensatory to quality schooling (2nd ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.No Child Left Behind Act. (2002). Pub. L. No. 107-110, 115 Stat. 1425, 20 U.S.C. 6301 et seq.</p><p>Karen Cadiero-Kaplan is associate professor in the Department of Policy Studies in Language&amp; Cross Cultural Education at San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. In addition to herpublications in the areas of literacy, technology, language development, and language policy,she serves as Vice President of Californians Together and is past President of the CaliforniaAssociation of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages.</p></li><li><p>278 JAMES L. RODRIGUEZ AND KAREN CADIERO-KAPLAN</p><p>James L. Rodrguez is associate professor in the Department of Policy Studies in Lan-guage &amp; Cross Cultural Education at San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. His re-search is focused on the psychosocial development and education of Latino children andadolescents.</p></li></ul>


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