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James Crawford, the Essayist

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With the exception perhaps of Stephen D. Krashen, a professor emeritus of the University of Southern California, I don't believe anyone has penned more commentary than James Crawford arguing that bilingual education benefits English-language learners more than do English-only methods. Particularly notable in my mind is an "obituary" for the federal Bilingual Education Act that Mr. Crawford authored in 2002 as a policy brief for Arizona State University.

I confess that when I learned that provisions for English-language learners under the No Child Left Behind Act would fall under a title with the number III rather than the number VII, I didn't notice that the "death" of an act had taken place.

But in his obituary for the Bilingual Education Act, or Title VII, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Mr. Crawford made the case for how changes in provisions for ELLs contained in the No Child Left Behind Act represented "a 180-degree reversal in language policy." One of the main changes, he wrote, was that the new provisions for ELLs under NCLB stressed the acquisition of English, while the previous provisions contained in the Bilingual Education Act had emphasized the development both of English skills and skills in students' native languages.

You can read this essay and others that contend that NCLB has made it more difficult for schools to provide bilingual education in Mr. Crawford's latest book, Advocating for English Learners: Selected Essays, published by Multilingual Matters. Mr. Crawford is president of the Institute for Language and Education Policy.

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I never realized that the Bilingual Act was dead either. How easily things go away.

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