Title

Testing and ideology: policy debates about literacy assessments for Colorado’s bilingual students

Publication Date

7-3-2020

Document Type

Article

Department

Teacher Education

Publication Title

Journal of Education Policy

Volume

35

Issue

4

DOI

10.1080/02680939.2018.1511831

First Page

556

Last Page

581

Abstract

The Colorado Reading to Ensure Academic Development Act requires grade-level attainment in literacy in English for students in grades K-3. Its practical outcome, however, has been to pressure schools with bilingual programs to shift their instructional language allocations towards more English in the early grades. Proposed rule revisions debated by the state Board of Education sought to facilitate testing in students’ language of instruction for those in bilingual programs. Analysis of written and verbal opposition to the proposed rule revisions demonstrates the persistence of insidious ethnoculturalist discourses opposing bilingual education as well as the cooptation of liberal multiculturalist discourses that, while framing bilingualism as an asset, argue that it is underdeveloped in bilingual programs that do not include English instruction from the outset. Given that bilingual instruction has demonstrated time and again that it benefits students acquiring English in schools, such new discursive turns pose a threat that must be recognized to fend off further legislative and regulatory attempts against bilingual education.

Keywords

bilingual education, Language ideologies, language policy and planning (LPP)

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