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An analysis of how restrictive language policies are interpreted by Arizona’s Department of Education and three individual school districts’ websites

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Published: 2016-10-17

Authors

Margarita Jimenez-Silva

Arizona State University

Katie Bernstein

Arizona State University

Evelyn Baca

Arizona State University

Keywords: Language policy; English Language Learners (ELLs); critical discourse analysis; website analysis

Abstract

Restrictive language policies for education have been passed in several states in the United States. In 1998, 2000, and 2002, California, Arizona, and Massachusetts passed the most restrictive of these policies, impacting 4.4 million students classified as English language learners (ELLs). This study examines how these policies are currently interpreted and presented to the public on Arizona’s Department of Education website, as well as how they are interpreted and presented on the websites of three of the state’s largest school districts. We seek to understand how three key elements of the laws—one-year programmatic time limits, Structured English Immersion (SEI) programs, and waiver processes—are conveyed by each text. Using tools from critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2003, 2013, 2015), we trace the endurance or disappearance of these elements between texts and across time. Textual differences are discussed as reflecting and perpetuating important contextual differences among the districts.

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Author Biographies

Margarita Jimenez-Silva

Arizona State University

Margarita Jimenez-Silva is an Associate Professor of Education in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on issues impacting emergent bilinguals, including teachers’ beliefs and practices, equitable access to STEM curriculum, and educational policy. She is a former classroom teacher with experience in kindergarten through middle school classrooms serving ELLs.

Katie Bernstein

Arizona State University

Katie A. Bernstein is an Assistant Professor of Education in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Her research focuses on young emergent bilingual children and the social contexts that affect their learning, from classroom interaction to educational policy.

Evelyn Baca

Arizona State University

Evelyn C. Baca is a Ph.D. student in the Educational Policy and Evaluation program in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at Arizona State University. Her research interests include bi/multi-lingualism, dual language education, learner identities, school reform, and educator preparedness to work with culturally and linguistically diverse students. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies, she taught Spanish and English as additional languages. 

PDF

Published: 2016-10-17

How to Cite

Jimenez-Silva, M., Bernstein, K., & Baca, E. (2016). An analysis of how restrictive language policies are interpreted by Arizona’s Department of Education and three individual school districts’ websites. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24, 105. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.24.2291