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Dearborn Superintendent Clarifies Language Policy

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Dearborn, Mich., schools' superintendent clarified his district's language policy after a consultant wrote in a report that the district should "prohibit the use of any language other than English" except when necessary for communication with parents. The report is posted on the district's Web site. I wrote about the clarification in "Curb on Arabic Use Urged, but Rejected, in Dearborn District," published this week in Education Week.

Superintendent Brian Whiston told me in an interview that the district doesn't have any intention of restricting the use of languages other than English among students. He added, though, that he believes that faculty and staff members who speak a language other than English should speak English when they are in a mixed group of adults at school who speak only English.

The school district also posted a statement about its language policy on its Web site.

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"He added, though, that he believes that faculty and staff members who speak a language other than English should speak English when they are in a mixed group of adults at school who speak only English."

Why? Why can't colleagues fall naturally into their native language while (probably) speaking to eachother socially?

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