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                                The Politics of Illegal Immigration, Bilingual
                                Education, and the Commodity of the Post-
                                Technological Society
                                                           a                     b
                                Heliodoro T. Sanchez Jr. & Mary Ann Sanchez
                                    Texas A&M University, Commerce, TX
                                    Dixie Elementary in the Tyler Independent School district,

                                Available online: 03 Oct 2008

To cite this article: Heliodoro T. Sanchez Jr. & Mary Ann Sanchez (2008): The Politics of Illegal
Immigration, Bilingual Education, and the Commodity of the Post-Technological Society, The Educational
Forum, 72:4, 329-338

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                                                                                                  The Educational Forum, 72: 329–38, 2008
                                                                                                  Copyright © Kappa Delta Pi

                                                                                                  The Politics of Illegal
                                                                                                  Immigration, Bilingual
                                                                                                  Education, and the
                                                                                                  Commodity of the Post-
                                                                                                  Technological Society
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                                                                                                  by Heliodoro T. Sanchez, Jr. and Mary Ann Sanchez

                                                                                    With the increasing number of undocumented workers entering the
                                                                            United States and the costs associated with educating their children, bilin-
                                                                            gual education may soon become the target of opponents of illegal immigra-
                                                                            tion. Furthermore, recent leftist shifts in Latin American governments have
                                                                            provided an impetus for an educated biliterate population that can build
                                                                            bridges with these countries. This will promote safety for all who live within
                                                                            the Americas, protecting them from acts of aggression and terrorism while
                                                                            promoting commerce and shared progress.

                                                                                 As the Bush presidency reaches its end, dark storm clouds continue to gather
                                                                            over the unresolved issues central to illegal immigration. The speeches, positions,
                                                                            and sound-bites uttered by various political factions have served as harbingers of
                                                                            the upcoming downpour. With each faction’s clashing views producing tremen-
                                                                            dous noise from all directions—left, right, and center—and a Congress controlled
                                                                            by the Democrats and the Executive Branch by the Republicans, a terminal point
                                                                            of consensus appears quite unlikely. If recent history holds true, a formative point
                                                                            of resolution will be reached via legislation to which all sides can affix their names
                                                                            and reputations. As the names on the legal paperwork dry, the downpour of new
                                                                            legislation or revisions of existing legislation has a great potential to wash away the
                                                                            current system of education for the children of illegal immigrants.

                                                                                The existing system has sought to provide limited English proficient (LEP)
                                                                            children cognitive development in their first language as they acquire social and
                                                                            academic English language vocabulary and comprehension. Though more expen-
                                                                            sive than full English immersion programs, bilingual education has been shown

                                                                                                                         The Educational Forum • Volume 72 • 2008 • 329
                                                                            Sanchez and Sanchez

                                                                            by sound research to be the best means for promoting the academic success of English
                                                                            language learners (Genesee 1987; Thomas and Collier 1997; Echevarria, Vogt, and Short
                                                                            2007). The downpour of new laws, statues, and local mandates may wash away this form
                                                                            of educating LEP students. This will leave the children of illegal immigrants with no safe
                                                                            haven within American schools and society as new storms continue to roll in, centered
                                                                            on the rights and lives of illegal immigrants.

                                                                            Demographics in the Southwest and National Implications
                                                                                Texas can be seen as a microcosm of the United States because of its rapidly changing
                                                                            demographics and its large border with Mexico. The Center for Demographic and Socio-
                                                                            economic Research and Education at the University of Texas at San Antonio, home of the
                                                                            State Demographer’s Office, cited only a 7.6 percent change for the European-American
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                                                                            population from 1990 to 2000; however, the report cited a 22.5 percent change for the
                                                                            African-American segment of Texas’ population and a 53.7 percent change for the Hispanic
                                                                            segment during the same time period (Murdock et al. 2002). More recent data from the
                                                                            Pew Hispanic Center cited a 25 percent jump in illegal immigration in a four-year time
                                                                            span that concluded in 2005, resulting in approximately 10.3 million illegal immigrants
                                                                            residing in the United States (Passel 2005). Thronson (2005, 49) conveyed similar findings
                                                                            with regard to the six states that border Latin-America:

                                                                                     Current levels of immigrants are high, and annual immigration flows have tripled over
                                                                                the past generation. The share of the total U.S. population that is foreign born now stands
                                                                                at about ten percent, nearly double the levels of 1970 … during the 1990s the immigrant
                                                                                population in “new immigrant states” grew twice as fast as the immigrant population in
                                                                                the six states that traditionally have been home to the largest numbers of immigrants.

                                                                                                                                 A Brief History of American
                                                                                                                                 Bilingual Education Programs
                                                                            The shift away from non-                                 Bilingual education has been a part
                                                                                                                                 of American education since 1839 when
                                                                            English instruction occurred                         Ohio became the first state to provide
                                                                                                                                 students instruction in German, their
                                                                            as a result of World War I.                          first language, and English, their new
                                                                            Considering that many states                         language. It was not until 1850 that the
                                                                                                                                 New Mexico territory offered Spanish
                                                                            offered instruction in German,                       and English instruction. At the turn of the
                                                                            fears about loyalty to the                           20th century, about a dozen states man-
                                                                                                                                 dated education in languages other than
                                                                            United States prompted states                        English. The shift away from non-English
                                                                            to dismantle their bilingual                         instruction occurred as a result of World
                                                                                                                                 War I. Considering that many states of-
                                                                            education efforts in favor of                        fered instruction in German, fears about
                                                                            English-only instruction.                            loyalty to the United States prompted
                                                                                                                                 states to dismantle their bilingual edu-
                                                                                                                                 cation efforts in favor of English-only
                                                                                                                                 instruction. The decision to discontinue

                                                                            330 • The Educational Forum • Volume 72 • 2008

                                                                            bilingual programs centered on the promotion of patriotism (National Association of Bi-
                                                                            lingual Education 1998), a common notion presented by many who favor the deportation
                                                                            of Latin American illegal immigrants and their children.

                                                                                 The landmark Bilingual Education Act (United States Congress 1968), which the
                                                                            U.S. Congress allowed to expire January 8, 2002 from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB)
                                                                            Act of 2001 (Crawford 2002), required that LEP students receive education in their
                                                                            home languages. This law, a reflection of the national sentiment that led to the pas-
                                                                            sage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was followed by a Supreme Court decision that
                                                                            cited English-only instruction in California as not equal or appropriate for students
                                                                            of Chinese ancestry because it denied them “a meaningful opportunity to participate
                                                                            in public education programs and thus violated § 601 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964”
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                                                                            (Lau v. Nichols 1974). The Lau v. Nichols decision directly influenced the U.S. Congress’
                                                                            passage of the Equal Education Opportunity Act (EEOA) of 1974. Even though no spe-
                                                                            cific methodology was mandated as a result of the Lau v. Nichols decision, the EEOA,
                                                                            or the Civil Rights Act of 1964, federal courts have dictated that the soundness of LEP
                                                                            programs be judged on three criteria: their theoretical basis, adequate human and
                                                                            material resources, and a system of procedures by which to modify a LEP program
                                                                            if judged to be ineffective in meeting LEP students’ needs (National Association of
                                                                            Bilingual Education 1998).

                                                                            The Education of Non-English Speakers
                                                                                 During the 2007 State of the Union Address, President George W. Bush cited a need
                                                                            for a guest worker program that would allow illegal immigrants an opportunity to gain
                                                                            employment in a legal manner (Southern Poverty Law Center 2007). This point reflects a
                                                                            business-centric contingency that favors accessibility to a low-wage labor pool provided
                                                                            via an expanded guest worker program. However, what all proposals have neglected to
                                                                            address is the education of the children of illegal immigrants already in the United States.
                                                                            An excessive amount of air time and attention has been given to adult illegal immigrants,
                                                                            but little attention has been focused on their children.

                                                                                Public schools are charged with educating the children of illegal immigrants, whether
                                                                            the children were born in the United States or in a foreign country. School districts
                                                                            across the nation have procedures for processing and enrolling the children of illegal
                                                                            immigrants. In Texas, students who do not have social security numbers are assigned
                                                                            a state identification number and a local identification number. These allow the public
                                                                            local education agency to obtain funding from the state and the national government to
                                                                            educate these students. Also, all enrolling students’ parents are given a home language
                                                                            survey that asks whether a language other than English is spoken at home. If the parent
                                                                            indicates that a language other than English is spoken at home, the child is tested for
                                                                            English fluency; and if the student shows a greater or equal ability to speak Spanish as
                                                                            opposed to English, bilingual education is offered. If the parent denies bilingual educa-
                                                                            tion, the parent then is offered the option to place his or her child in the English as a
                                                                            Second Language program. If the parent denies both programs, the student is placed in
                                                                            a general education English-only classroom.

                                                                                                                             The Educational Forum • Volume 72 • 2008 • 331
                                                                            Sanchez and Sanchez

                                                                                                                                    Myriad research studies have

                                                                            As a matter of study, the
                                                                                                                                shown that the latter approach is less
                                                                                                                                than effective in meeting the needs of
                                                                                                                                immigrant students or the children
                                                                            English immersion approach’s                        of immigrants who speak a language
                                                                            negative effects have been found                    other than English as a first language
                                                                                                                                (Genesee 1987; Collier 1992, 1998). As a
                                                                            to manifest in secondary school                     matter of study, the English immersion
                                                                            (middle school and high school)                     approach’s negative effects have been
                                                                                                                                found to manifest in secondary school
                                                                            when students begin to move                         (middle school and high school) when
                                                                                                                                students begin to move toward higher
                                                                            toward higher levels of English
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                                                                                                                                levels of English syntax, lexicon, and
                                                                            syntax, lexicon, and academic                       academic language registers. Without
                                                                                                                                a basis in a student’s first language, the
                                                                            language registers.                                 acquisition of complex syntactical and
                                                                                                                                grammatical language structures as
                                                                                                                                well as higher level vocabulary become
                                                                            difficult to link, or anchor, to prior knowledge sets, mental models, or cognitive points of
                                                                            reference (Echevarria et al. 2007).

                                                                                 Because the climate has become one that equates the granting of guest worker status
                                                                            to illegal immigrants with criminal amnesty of the worst kind, local public education
                                                                            agencies could be the next target of those who adamantly oppose illegal immigrants. The
                                                                            dismantling of bilingual education programs may, in theory, promote greater English
                                                                            exposure; however, the level of understanding of English language beyond syntax and
                                                                            vocabulary for mere interpersonal conversation may be a greater challenge than the teach-
                                                                            ers of children of illegal immigrants can assist such students in overcoming (Thomas and
                                                                            Collier 1997). This has the potential to create a generation of mis-educated, ill-prepared
                                                                            adults. As the Hispanic population continues to grow in the United States, especially in the
                                                                            Southwest, such a policy could result in a generation of poorly educated or uneducated
                                                                            students from this ethic group. The implications are grave and caustic as social, political,
                                                                            and economic turmoil could arise in the United States (Sanchez 2004). The solution is not
                                                                            mass deportation, as this is the most unfeasible and costly of all options. Education under
                                                                            the right circumstances with the possibility for affordable higher education options is the
                                                                            most economically sound and practical of all solutions.

                                                                            Accountability and Sound Education for Limited English Students
                                                                                 The practice of some public schools throughout the past and recent history relative
                                                                            to the education of LEP students has been to place them in isolated wings of schools or
                                                                            in self-contained programs, believing LEP students cannot achieve at the same level as
                                                                            their non-LEP peers (Mitchell 2005). Such practices limit the educational opportunity
                                                                            of LEP students. Though LEP students exhausted their one-year federal NCLB (2001)
                                                                            testing exemption or a two- to three-year testing exemption at the state level, many LEP
                                                                            students were not receiving an education to prepare them for success. After their exemp-
                                                                            tions expired, LEP students were thrust into the general education classroom with little

                                                                            332 • The Educational Forum • Volume 72 • 2008

                                                                            support and only a limited, low-level exposure to the state curriculum. This practice almost
                                                                            certainly ensures the failure of LEP students in all-English general education classrooms,
                                                                            high stakes tests, and required exit-level graduation exams. This is one possible explana-
                                                                            tion for the high dropout rates among English language learners. Altshuler and Schmautz
                                                                            (2006, 6) cautioned, “we need to consider the specific effects of such testing on culturally
                                                                            diverse students, because these are students who historically have scored lower than white
                                                                            students on standardized tests and are more likely to drop out of school without a high
                                                                            school diploma.”

                                                                                 House Bill 1, passed in 2006 by the Texas legislature, focuses attention on the education
                                                                            of LEP students and directs the Texas Education Agency to establish new standards for in-
                                                                            cluding the performance of LEP students in state accountability measures. This dictate, by
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                                                                            its very nature, promotes greater alignment between the federal NCLB (2001) accountability
                                                                            standards and state accountability standards. To date, Texas Student Success Initiative (SSI)
                                                                            of 1999 standards do not include LEP students as a sub-population for accountability rating
                                                                            purposes; however, the federal NCLB standards do consider LEP student performance on
                                                                            math and reading assessments. House Bill 1, like Lau v. Nichols (1974) and the EEOA of 1974,
                                                                            has followed the torrent that has ripped away barriers built by public schools to prevent
                                                                            LEP students from being counted in the state accountability system. As with any issue, a
                                                                            darker side is always hidden under the side receiving the light of attention. In this case,
                                                                            NCLB and the initial language in House Bill 1 do bring LEP students out of the shadows,
                                                                            but both pieces of legislation also rely heavily on high-stakes testing to account for LEP
                                                                            student progress—hence, the darker side of the issue.

                                                                                 Even though existent national legisla-
                                                                            tion and new Texas legislation may re-
                                                                            quire schools to count LEP students into
                                                                            the complex formulas of national and
                                                                            possibly state accountability systems in
                                                                                                                             As with any issue, a darker
                                                                            the near future, reputable researchers feel
                                                                                                                             side is always hidden under
                                                                            that accountability for accountability’s         the side receiving the light of
                                                                            sake is not the best means for promoting
                                                                            the success of LEP students. In a 2004 in-       attention. In this case, NCLB
                                                                            terview, Alba A. Ortiz, Director of the Of-      and the initial language in
                                                                            fice of Bilingual Education in the College
                                                                            of Education at the University of Texas          House Bill 1 do bring LEP
                                                                            at Austin, reflected on NCLB (2001) test          students out of the shadows,
                                                                            data as the primary means for assessing
                                                                            student progress: “One of my greatest            but both pieces of legislation
                                                                            concerns is that accountability provisions
                                                                            have narrowly defined how student
                                                                                                                             also rely heavily on high-stakes
                                                                            progress is going to be measured, and            testing to account for LEP
                                                                            assessment outcomes are based largely
                                                                            on testing programs that have histori-
                                                                                                                             student progress—hence, the
                                                                            cally been shown to have limited validity        darker side of the issue.
                                                                            or reliability for diverse populations”

                                                                                                                               The Educational Forum • Volume 72 • 2008 • 333
                                                                            Sanchez and Sanchez

                                                                            (Chamberlain 2004, 97). Asa G. Hillard, III, Fuller E. Callaway Professor of Urban Educa-
                                                                            tion at Georgia State University, also interviewed by Chamberlin (2004, 98), concurred
                                                                            with Ortiz by citing that “No Child Left Behind is essentially test driven. That’s where
                                                                            almost all of the resources are going in order, supposedly, to have accountability.”

                                                                                Sanchez (2005) cited misalignment between mainstream American middle class-based
                                                                            ideology and the expressed needs of students from diverse backgrounds. According to
                                                                            Sanchez (2005), many federal and state laws do not account for the unique needs of students
                                                                            from micro-social systems that exist juxtaposed to mainstream middle class American
                                                                            society. Rather, laws such as NCLB (2001), SSI (1999), and House Bill 1 (2006) reflect policy
                                                                            dictates that are external to the internal needs of minority youths; hence, they reflect the
                                                                            ethos of the mainstream while ignoring the perspective of participants within America’s
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                                                                            undeniable micro-social systems.

                                                                            Monetary Implications
                                                                                 Considering the fact that immigration is increasing and specialized training and
                                                                            resources are required by law to meet the needs of LEP students, additional funding ear-
                                                                            marked for schools that serve high numbers of LEP students has the potential to intensify
                                                                            the current politically charged atmosphere. Even with the national government pouring
                                                                            billions of dollars into the education of LEP students, state and local taxes provide the lion’s
                                                                            share of the funding needed to hire bilingual teachers, purchase non-English textbooks
                                                                            and instructional resources, and hire other professionals or paraprofessionals who can
                                                                            communicate with non-English speaking parents. Data compiled by the Urban Institute,
                                                                            a Washington-based think tank, found that only 24 percent of elementary-age students
                                                                            were born outside of the United States. The remaining LEP students reflected 59 per-
                                                                            cent who were the children of immigrants and 18 percent who were the grandchildren of
                                                                            immigrants (Capps et al. 2005).

                                                                                 Public local education agencies have a unique charge amid all social service provid-
                                                                            ers. Educators are held accountable to the state and federal accountability rating systems.
                                                                            Local education agencies also must secure funding to meet the dictates of the Supreme
                                                                            Court and Congress as well as state legislatures. Local taxpayers continue to expend more
                                                                            money to support education; and in communities that serve high numbers of illegal im-
                                                                            migrants, such taxpayers will have to provide even more money to public school districts.
                                                                            Universities have been petitioned by local education agencies to prepare more educators
                                                                            to work with LEP students, so additional funding for research and curriculum develop-
                                                                            ment will be required at the university level.

                                                                                 According to Torres (2001, 257), “in the case of New Mexico … in 1993–1994, 77 per-
                                                                            cent of the public schools had LEP students, who constituted 9.4 percent of all students.
                                                                            Although there are many more trained teachers there than in other states, it is very com-
                                                                            mon to find LEP students in a classroom where the teacher does not have any training to
                                                                            teach them responsively.” Torres went on to assert that the number of European-American
                                                                            educators teaching LEP students is on the rise, yet the vast majority of them are not flu-
                                                                            ent in a language other than English, the language of the students they teach, or trained
                                                                            to teach LEP students.

                                                                            334 • The Educational Forum • Volume 72 • 2008

                                                                            Taking Advantage of Two
                                                                                The illegal immigration issue will
                                                                            not subside for some time. While il-           The illegal immigration issue
                                                                            legal immigrants continue to live in           will not subside for some time.
                                                                            and come to the United States, local
                                                                            education agencies are charged with            While illegal immigrants
                                                                            educating their children. The only
                                                                            other option, denying the children of il-
                                                                                                                           continue to live in and come
                                                                            legal immigrants education in publicly         to the United States, local
                                                                            funded institutions, would create an
                                                                                                                           education agencies are charged
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                                                                            underclass of uneducated refugees and,
                                                                            as history has shown, such populations         with educating their children.
                                                                            have been the undoing of many nations
                                                                            and empires.

                                                                                 The proverbial silver lining does exist, and it reflects the power of a fully bilingual
                                                                            populous. Numerous reputable studies have cited strong bilingual programs as the truest
                                                                            means to meeting the academic and social needs of LEP students in a manner that not only
                                                                            closes the academic gap between LEP students and their non-LEP peers, but also—in the
                                                                            case of a well-developed and properly implemented bilingual education program—creates
                                                                            circumstances in which bilingual students outperform English-only students (Genesee 1987;
                                                                            Bialystok 1991; Collier 1992, 1998; Christian 1994).

                                                                                 Thomas and Collier (1997) conducted an extensive study that began in 1982 and ended
                                                                            in 1996 and included data from more than 700,000 students in five large school systems.
                                                                            Their findings indicated that students enrolled in what Thomas and Collier termed good
                                                                            programs, which viewed the acquisition of a student’s first language as important as the
                                                                            second language, resulted in English language learners not only meeting the 50th percentile
                                                                            on nationally standardized tests but exceeding it. When one considers the power of the
                                                                            ability to analyze and assess information in two languages, one can see the merits of a
                                                                            good program that focuses on the retention and development of a student’s first language
                                                                            with the full development and addition of English as the student’s second language. Also
                                                                            consider the advantage a native speaker of a Latin-based language has over an English-
                                                                            only student. Studies have shown that a student who studies a language other than their
                                                                            native language has a greater ability to use cognates to analyze words and performs better
                                                                            on standardized tests, such as the Standard Academic Test as compared to students who
                                                                            only study their native language (Curtain and Pesola 1994).

                                                                            Bilingualism and the Political Advantage
                                                                                 One cannot overlook the recent rise of leftist regimes in Latin America with Venezuelan
                                                                            President Hugo Chavez leading the new anti-American charge. With President Chavez
                                                                            reaching out to rogue regimes, such as those in Iran and North Korea, as opposed to the
                                                                            United States and other democratic nations, a bridge built on the premise of language and
                                                                            a respect and understanding of Latin American culture is the surest way to cross into this
                                                                            new century. Add the nations of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay to the increasing

                                                                                                                             The Educational Forum • Volume 72 • 2008 • 335
                                                                            Sanchez and Sanchez

                                                                            number of leftist governments, and one notes a startling trend. The United States must
                                                                            continue its dialogue with the people of Latin American as well as continue to cultivate
                                                                            positive relationships with the nations that are part of the North American Free Trade
                                                                            Agreement and the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

                                                                                 The neglecting of the nations of Latin America may encourage the spread of leftist,
                                                                            autocratic governments and an unstoppable growth in anti-American sentiment within the
                                                                            Americas. The possibility of a strong economic partnership, akin to the European Union, is
                                                                            not a far-off or unreasonable prospect. The national purchasing power of the United States
                                                                            is currently among the strongest in the world, but the economic rise and development of
                                                                            Asian nations and China may shift the scale. To encourage positive relationships within
                                                                            the Americas, policy and people are needed; and an educated, biliterate, and bicultural
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                                                                            populous that understands the people and plight of Latin Americans firsthand can better
                                                                            ensure that a genuine approach is taken.

                                                                            Language and the Post-Technological Age
                                                                                 In a post-technological society, ideas will be the greatest commodity. This is not to say
                                                                            that technology will cease to evolve or hold value and worth; rather, the greatest success will
                                                                            be found by those who understand the power and influence of ideas. Marx (2006), President
                                                                                                                                   of the Center for Public Outreach, identi-
                                                                                                                                   fied 16 trends that will profoundly im-

                                                                            Marx pointed out that                                  pact the future; and of the 16, five were
                                                                                                                                   of particular interest to this essay.
                                                                            education’s primary role in                           Marx (2006) cited that social and
                                                                            society will shift toward that                    intellectual capital will hold the great-
                                                                            of inciting creativity and                        est value in the near future. People
                                                                                                                              who make it their business to un-
                                                                            stimulating new ideas. The                        derstand and work with others na-
                                                                                                                              tions will forge the economic and
                                                                            multiple perspectives of each                     political relationships that will provide
                                                                            new generation of immigrants                      for greater international safety and
                                                                                                                              security. Furthermore, Marx pointed
                                                                            to the United States have fueled                  out that education’s primary role in
                                                                            this fire since the inception of                   society will shift toward that of inciting
                                                                                                                              creativity and stimulating new ideas.
                                                                            the country.                                      The multiple perspectives of each new
                                                                                                                              generation of immigrants to the United
                                                                                                                              States have fueled this fire since the
                                                                            inception of the country. A quick review of some of the greatest thinkers, leaders, and
                                                                            innovators includes a proud list of immigrants and the children of immigrants. Consider
                                                                            Albert Einstein, President John F. Kennedy, and Supreme Court Justice Antone Scalia.

                                                                                 According to Marx (2006), education also will need to focus on preparing students
                                                                            for jobs that still do not exist. Again, the benefit of international perspectives speaks to
                                                                            the economic globalization that will only increase its pace. Who would have thought that

                                                                            336 • The Educational Forum • Volume 72 • 2008

                                                                            large American-based store chains would stock multiple aisles with international foods?
                                                                            Who would have thought that companies such as Mrs. Baird’s Bread would be owned by
                                                                            a Latin-American company (Pan Bimbo)?; and 20 years ago, who would have thought that
                                                                            General Motors would surrender its crown as the world’s largest automaker to Toyota?
                                                                            The positions held by leaders of industry and production must be prepared to seek new
                                                                            markets; and as such takes place, new professions emerge.

                                                                                As a final point, Marx (2006) cited that the world increasingly will become more interdepen-
                                                                            dent, and competition will not focus on goods and services but on ideas and innovation. This
                                                                            encapsulates the ethos for bilingual education’s continuance and philosophical expansion.

                                                                            Avoiding the Cyclic Mistakes of History
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                                                                                History does repeat itself, and the erosion after this storm could so drastically change
                                                                            the landscape of bilingual education that bilingual education may cease, once again, to
                                                                            exist. Just as anti-German sentiments during and post-World War I resulted in the dis-
                                                                            mantling of bilingual education in the 1920s and 1930s, the same human emotions could
                                                                            resurface. Specifically, opponents of Hispanic illegal immigrants could take advantage of
                                                                            the politically charged atmosphere and secure a nationwide English-only initiative, similar
                                                                            to California’s Proposition 227 passed in 1998, which mandated English-only instruction
                                                                            (California Legislature 1998).

                                                                                Unlike the job market that sustained immigrant populations of the past, decades of
                                                                            low-skill, moderate-wage jobs with pension plans have evaporated into history. Immi-
                                                                            grants of the past could find solace working for an auto manufacturer, the steel industry,
                                                                            or another labor-intensive enterprise while their children and grandchildren acclimated
                                                                            to American social, political, and economic standards.

                                                                                 Unlike their Irish, Italian, German, and Eastern European predecessors, the new
                                                                            immigrant population must be educated as quickly and effectively as possible so that
                                                                            its constituencies can enhance America’s capacity to deal in the commodity of the post-
                                                                            technological age—intellectual and social capital. America’s strength over its history has
                                                                            been its diversity of people, thought, perspective, imagination, and ability to transform
                                                                            each into the most pragmatic of realities the world over.

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                                                                                  NY: Bastos Educational Publications.

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                                                                                                    Heliodoro T. Sánchez, Jr. is Adjunct Professor of Educational Leadership at
                                                                                                    Texas A&M University—Commerce, TX. He is also the Director of Bilingual/ESL
                                                                                                    Education for the Tyler Independent School District. He has presented research
                                                                                                    at universities in the United States and Europe, and is published on the topics
                                                                                                    of advancing the educational opportunities for disadvantaged or struggling

                                                                                                    Mary Ann Sánchez is an assistant principal for instruction at Dixie Elemen-
                                                                                                    tary in the Tyler Independent School district. She has worked as a teacher and
                                                                                                    a public school consultant, training teachers who educate students from homes
                                                                                                    where English is not the first language.

                                                                            338 • The Educational Forum • Volume 72 • 2008

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