The Public Interest

Language choice for Latino students

Rosalie Pedalino Porter

Fall 1991

THE SCHOOL CHOICE movement has advanced throughout the nation in recent years, permitting more children to attend schools that appear best-suited to their needs. Despite this progress, however, the families of Latino students with limited English proficiency are still being denied a fundamental choice in their children’s schooling—the right to choose programs featuring intensive English-language instruction rather than segregated classrooms where Spanish is the norm. Sadly, a coalition of Latino activists, bilingual-education advocates, and well-intentioned but misguided policymakers has either prevented Latino families from exercising any choice or has heavily pressured them to enroll their children in native-language programs that have proven to be largely unsuccessful. 

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