The Official Language Movement

Table of Content

The United States is home to more bilingual people than any other country. The idea of “one nation, one Language” is part of the idealized history of our country. Schmid, C. L. (2001). Language is more than a means of communication, it represents attitudes in a society, symbolic issue linked to power, political claims of ownership, and has a psychological demands on a groups’ worth. The English- Only movement is concerned with the preservation of the English language as the United States official language.

This has translated into support for English immersion programs that provide only transitional and short native language assistance. In the 2000 Census, “380 categories of single languages or language families” (U. S. Census Bureau, 2003, p. 2) were coded. Public interest groups, support the exclusive use of English in all public schools, endorsing the use of English immersion in the classroom and claims any other language would divide the county. Public interest groups have emerge, U. S. English, Inc. and First English, have grown into significant opponents of bilingual education in the United States.

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Their mission is to promote English-Only as the official language with increasing immigrants’ opportunities to learn and speak our language, which is an essential tool for the success in adjusting to American culture. Congress passed “English-Only”official language bill in 2004. English First, organization, the only Pro-English Origination to testify against bilingual ballots in 1992 and the only group to lead the fight against bilingual education in 1994. Additional provisions included, funding programs, for children learning English, and eliminates costly and ineffective multilingual polices.

Among the first states to adopt “English Only” policies were California and Massachusetts. Proposition 227, officially ended bilingual education in public schools across California. Proposition 227 has experienced resistance and has infringed on the civil rights of students with limited English proficiency. Entire school districts have exercise their rights requesting waivers for students to remain in bilingual education classes ontinue to run while students’ language rights could be maintained. Despite the non-compliance of a few school districts, students receiving bilingual education has declined. The percentage of students receiving English-Only instruction has increased” (Crawford, 2003).

There was an 8. 8% of language minority students enrolled in bilingual education classrooms and there was an 43. 4% enrollment in English immersion classrooms during the 2002–2003 school year. As compared to the 29. 1% in bilingual education and 21. 9% in immersion classrooms during 1997–1998 school year. Proposition 227 has been shown to be a failure, with resulted in large numbers of immigrants unable to speak the English language and support assistance service discontinued.


Schmid, C. L. (2001).

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The Official Language Movement. (2018, May 11). Retrieved from

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