Navarrette, a syndicated columnist, has built his career by attacking bilingual education. He started out in the 1990s as a media consultant for Ron Unz, the sponsor of anti-bilingual initiatives adopted in California, Arizona, and Massachusetts. Navarrette went on to work for various newspapers but never forgot his English-only roots. Writing in support of Unz's ballot measures, he denounced bilingual classrooms as "linguistic prisons" where children don't learn English but are trapped, against their parents' wishes, by a school bureaucracy that's "addicted to the additional funding provided for bilingual students." (Several of his major works, including "Bilingual Programs Failing" and "It's Time To Dismantle Bilingual Education," can be accessed at Unz's English for the Children web site.) He has also specialized in journalistic assaults on Hispanic leaders, civil-rights advocates, "racist" liberals, and supporters of public education. Not surprisingly, Navarrette has been a big booster of the No Child Left Behind Act. But above all, he has distinguished himself as an enemy of everything NABE stands for -- or, at least, used to stand for -- and as a hero to anti-bilingual crusaders everywhere.
[We must] rally parents against the excesses of high-stakes testing and punitive
accountability schemes – excesses that affect large numbers of students, not just ELLs. ...Yet advocates for bilingual education must avoid the trap of concentrating their efforts on perfecting a misguided accountability system. No Child Left Behind espouses the cruel fiction that ELLs can meet the same levels of proficiency as their English-speaking peers before acquiring English, a standard of progress that dooms all ELL programs, bilingual and otherwise, to failure. The law stresses outputs (i.e., standardized test scores) alone while ignoring inputs such as effective program designs, qualified teachers, professional development, appropriate materials, and other resources. ...
There’s no escaping the reality that, as long as high-stakes testing continues to drive American education policy, the trend toward all-English programs will continue to accelerate.