"Babel" in Schools
Life After Prop. 227
Issues in U.S. Language Policy
The English Only Movement
Among special-interest lobbies, the English Only movement stands out. It's easy to understand the origins of the Tobacco Institute or the Peanut Advisory Council or the Valve Manufacturers Association. But how does a language acquire a multimillion-dollar advocacy group? Cui bono? Who seeks to benefit by pushing the idea of English as the official language? Certainly not the National Council of Teachers of English or the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages or the Linguistic Society of America – these organizations strongly oppose English Only measures.
U.S. English and English First, two national groups spearheading this legislation, started small in the mid-1980s. Drawing support mainly from direct-mail contributions, they have grown steadily in budgets, staffs, and influence. H.R. 123, the leading "Language of Government" bill in the 104th Congress, boasted nearly 200 cosponsors. Public support has exceeded 85 percent in some opinion polls. English Only is no longer a fringe movement.
Who are these people and what do they want?
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