English for the Children: Mandated by the People, Skewed by Politicians and Special Interests

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9781475802016: English for the Children: Mandated by the People, Skewed by Politicians and Special Interests

Silicon Valley software entrepreneur Ron Unz took on the education establishment, both major political parties, the ACLU, and several activist groups with his "English for the Children" movement that began in 1996 and ended on Election Day 2002. His campaign to dismantle bilingual education through ballot measures in four states - California, Arizona, Colorado, and Massachusetts - drew frequent responses from the national media that initially opposed and then supported Unz's cause. The initiatives passed with 61-68% of the vote in three states, but failed in Colorado.
Experienced teacher and author of Structured English Immersion, Johanna J. Haver details the politics surrounding the Unz campaign, explaining both sides of the issues honestly and respectfully. She outlines the challenges that ensued after the measures became law and discusses areas of concern that remain in dispute to this day:

  • Identification, placement, and reclassification of English language learners
  • English proficiency tests
  • Segregation versus integration
  • Compliance versus flexibility
  • The Office for Civil Rights
  • Federal and state funding
  • Dual-language instruction as an option

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About the Author:

Johanna J. Haver is the author of the book Structured English Immersion: A Step-by-Step Guide for K-6 Teachers and Administrators. She has written columns for The Arizona Republic and reviews of programs for The Arizona Department of Education English Acquisition Program Cost Study. She contributed to the book Language and Literacy for English Learners: Grades 7-12, Four Programs of Proven Success.

Review:

Johanna Haver is an exceptionally brilliant education advocate and an outstanding writer. In this book she shows how the education bureaucracy will go to any lengths to keep the federal money flowing, even if its effects are destructive, and keep Hispanic children in a condition that deprives them of their independence but always in need of more government assistance. She further shows how useless and even destructive bilingual education methods can be. This is a must read for anyone who cares whether Hispanic kids ever learn to speak English.

(Roy Miller, Business Consultant and Co-Founder of the Goldwater Institute)

Johanna Haver provides a lively history of one of the most politically sensitive arenas in public policy: bilingual education. The early promise of this new way to educate non-English speaking children, its failures, the educators, politicians, ethnic activists—it’s all here and it’s not a pretty story. At the end, an inspiring view of improvements made, challenges yet to be met. My hat’s off to Johanna. (Rosalie Pedalino Porter, Ed.D, author of "American Immigrant: My Life in Three Languages" and "Forked Tongue")

English for the Children has brought forward the ups and downs of the political and educational systems regarding the education of English language learners. It discusses positive actions, challenges, and the direction needed to move in order to get these children ready for the 21st Century. (Norma Basolet, director of federal programs/ELL, Yuma Elementary School District One, Yuma, Arizona)

Johanna Haver describes the movement to dislodge bilingual education as the default method for teaching English to ELL students, from Ron Unz’s English for the Children campaign in California through the establishment of the structured English immersion model in Arizona. Haver describes the political roadblocks that California, Massachusetts, Colorado, and her state, Arizona encountered on the way to reform, as well as problems that have yet to be solved. (Jerry Jesness, Teacher and Consultant, Author of "Teaching English Language Learners K-12" and "Standing and Delivering")

Johanna Haver’s book English for the Children should be required reading for all who profess to have the interests of English learners at heart. At a time when our education system is challenged to help newcomers become fully participating members of American life, the history of the misguided efforts to teach children in their native languages couldn’t be more timely. Haver demonstrates in full detail why delaying English acquisition harms the very children the system is supposed to help. (Linda Chavez, president, Becoming American Institute)

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