Linguicism and Racism in Massachusetts Educational Policy


  • Kara Mitchell Viesca University of Colorado Denver



multilingual learners, English-only policies, critical race theory


This paper presents a critically conscious policy analysis conducted on Massachusetts state policy regarding the education of secondary multilingual learners and their teachers through the lens of critical race theory (CRT).  My analysis suggests that even though current policy in Massachusetts is framed in terms of the overarching goals of educational quality and equality, in reality it substantively sanctions inequitable practices. This paper demonstrates that racism and linguicism (or language-based discrimination) towards multilingual learners are legally sanctioned in Massachusetts public schools as a consequence of state policy, thus contributing to educational disparities.


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Author Biography

Kara Mitchell Viesca, University of Colorado Denver

Kara Mitchell Viesca’s research agenda focuses on advancing equity in the policy and practice of educator development with a particular focus on multilingual learners and their teachers.  She is the lead PI on a National Professional Development grant from the federal Office of English Language Acquisition titled “e-Learning Communities for Academic Language Learning in Mathematics and Science” (eCALLMS).  Her recent publications include “English is not ALL that Matters in the Education of Secondary Multilingual Learners and their Teachers” in the International Journal of Multicultural Education and “Race, Difference, Meritocracy, and English: Majoritarian Stories in the Education of Secondary Multilingual Learners” in Race Ethnicity and Education.




How to Cite

Viesca, K. M. (2013). Linguicism and Racism in Massachusetts Educational Policy. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 21, 52.