After Castañeda: a glotopolítica perspective and educational dignity paradigm to educate racialized bilinguals

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Language Policy




In the U.S., programming for students classified as English Learners must adhere to the framework outlined in Castañeda v. Pickard (1981), which demands a basis in “legitimate educational theory,” implementation with “adequate techniques,” and regular evaluation (p. 1010), while remaining explicitly agnostic about which theoretical orientations should guide “language remediation” (p. 1009). Unsurprisingly, such minimal thresholds and deficit orientations still countenance assimilationist ideologies and practices that devalue students’ bi/multilingualism (García and Sung in Bilingu Res J 41(4):318–333, 2018). Even in bilingual programming, colonialist approaches reinforce norms of language standardization that perpetuate linguistic racialization and marginalization (Grinberg and Saavedra in Rev Educ Res 70(4):419–441, 2000). Thus, Castañeda exemplifies the limitations of political victories subject to multitudinous interpretations and enactments. In this theoretical article, we harken to the calls for justice for minoritized communities that included demands for bilingual education during the civil rights movement (Flores and García in Ann Rev Appl Linguist 37:14–29, 2017) to imagine criteria beyond adequacy and remediation. With a glotopolítica lens rooted in the work of Latin American sociolinguists (Arnoux in Lengua y política en América Latina: perspectivas actuales, Univerzita Palackého v Olomouci, Olomouc, Czech Republic, pp 19–43, 2014; Blanco in Cuad Sur Letr 35–36(11):26, 2005), we conduct a genealogical analysis of language education policy for racialized bilinguals in the U.S. Linked to other decolonial projects, we propose a framework of educational dignity (Espinoza et al. in Mind Cult Act, 2020) that engages scholars, advocates, and educators in the U.S. and internationally in constructing language education policies according to racialized bilingual students’ own dignified logic rather than that of the nation-state, enabling racialized bilinguals to develop into historical actors (Gutiérrez et al. in Mind Cult Act 26(4):291–308, 2019) emancipated from the logic of regulations that offer inclusion in colonialist paradigms rather than true liberation (de Sousa Santos, in Epistemologies of the South: justice against epistemicide, Paradigm Publishers, London, 2014).


Glotopolítica/glottopolitics, Bilingual education, Educational dignity, Humanizing pedagogies


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Secondary Education