Amado M. Padilla
School of Education Stanford University
Kathryn J. Lindholm
School of Education San José State University
Andrew Chen
Slippery Rock University
Richard Durán
Graduate School of Education University of California, Santa Barbara
Kenji Hakuta
School of Education Stanford University
Wallace Lambert
McGill University
G. Richard Tucker
Center for Applied Linguistics
The scientific literature relevant to the arguments for and against the English-only movement is reviewed, to determine whether the Resolution Against English Only before the Board of Directors and the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association (APA) was supportable. Some of the misconceptions advanced by English-only advocates that affect the sociopsychological, educational, testing, and health-service delivery arenas are examined. It is argued that there is no support for English-only initiatives, and that the English-only movement can have negative consequences on psychosocial development, intergroup relations, academic achievement, and psychometric and health-service delivery systems for many American citizens and residents who are not proficient in English. The public interest is best served by affirming a position in opposition to English-only. English-only is socially divisive and poses a threat to the human welfare that psychologists espouse in the APA Ethical Principles of Psychologists.
In recent years there has been considerable attention and debate on the question of whether English should be designated the official language of the United States. On the one hand, there are organized movements, such as U.S. English and English First, whose primary purpose is to make English the official language of the United States either through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, through state legislation, or through repeal of laws and regulations permitting public business to be conducted in a language other than English. On the other hand, there are movements, including English Plus, that clearly support the acquisition and use of English by all U.S. citizens and residents. However, these groups also advocate, consistent with the goals of the National Governors' Conference, enhancing second-language training and proficiency for English speakers. In addition, groups such as English Plus also promote expansion of bilingual education programs for the growing number of immigrant and other linguistic minority children in U.S. schools, for broadening the range of health and other social services available to individuals who speak languages other than English, and for increasing the number of English-as-second-language and literacy programs for adult immigrants.

To date 18 states have enacted laws designating English as the official state language. These states are Arizona, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. It is important to point out that a federal district judge in Arizona declared Arizona's constitutional amendment making English the language of all government functions and actions in violation of federally protected free speech rights. In addition, Hawaii has not one, but two official languages: English and Hawaiian. As various states have considered constitutional amendments making English the official language, legal scholars have also examined the contitutional provisions that apply to language rights issues in the classroom, workplace, courtroom, and social service agencies (Piatt, 1990).

The fervor of interest and diversity of opinion given to language considerations has been matched only once before and that was at the turn of the century. The major difference, however, between the concern for language then and today is that in earlier times language issues were confined to local or state arenas, whereas today the initiatives dedicated to establishing English as the official language are orchestrated at the national level by a powerful and heavily funded political organization. Furthermore, this English-only movement has close connections to restrictionist, anti-immigration organizations, which suggests that the English-only movement has a wider, more far-reaching, and more negative agenda than simply advocating an official English language policy. For example, until the middle of 1988, U.S. English was a project of U.S. Inc., a tax-exempt corporation that also supports the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Americans for Border Control, Californians for Population Stabilization, and other immigration-restrictionist groups (Crawford, 1989).

The purpose of this article is to present documentation in support of the Resolution Against English Only before the Board of Directors and the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association (APA). In preparing this paper we have reviewed the scientific literature surrounding the stated rationale given by English-only advocates for supporting a policy aimed at making English the official language of state governments and eventually of the nation through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. We hope to clarify misconceptions surrounding English-only efforts and to demonstrate the relevance of this movement to psychologists.

This article is organized into four major sections, corresponding to the areas most affected by the English-only movement: (a) social psychological issues, (b) educational issues, (c) issues affecting the testing of cognitive abilities and school achievement, and (d) health services issues regarding assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.

The authors of this article have all devoted their professional careers to the study of language use and function in various linguistic contexts and among speakers of several different languages in the United States and in Canada. In reviewing the literature and in drawing conclusions based on this review, we have sought to be balanced in our judgement and to keep in mind both the public interest as discussed by Smith (1990) and the responsibilities of psychologists set forth in the Ethical Principles of Psychologists (APA, 1981).

Social Psychological Issues

English-only advocates argue that a national policy that declares English as the official language of the country is essential because without such a policy the country risks being balkanized by non-English language groups. The case of Canada and the French-speaking community in Quebec is frequently cited as an example of what might happen to the United States if an official language policy is not instituted. In Quebec, the French Canadians have instituted a policy of linguistic determinism that recognizes the legitimacy of French in all sectors of public life. French has replaced English as the mode of communication in business, service provision, and education for all newcomers to the province.

Opponents of English-only policies have been quick to counter that the circumstances in Canada and the United States are not equivalent and that parallels cannot be drawn between the two countries in establishing U.S. language policy. For example, there are significant historical differences between the French-speaking Canadians in Quebec province and the indigenous-language and linguistic-minority communities in the United States. In addition, the numeric and power relationships between the Canadian French- and English-speaking communities are strikingly different from those between the dominant English speakers and linguistic-minority groups, especially Hispanics, in the United States.

More important, though, are the four significant issues that invalidate the English-only position. The first issue addresses the willingness to shift from the native language to English, the second issue focuses on racist attitudes that appear to underlie the English-only movement, the third pertains to interethnic group relations, and the last to the role played by language in social and ethnic identity.

Language Shift

One of the arguments that has been used by English-only advocates is that some linguistic minority groups, most notably Hispanics, are resistent to surrendering their native language usage following immigration to the United States, and that only a national language policy will ensure language shift to English. Immigrants clearly recognize the importance of learning English as a way of improving their socioeconomic and geographic mobility in the United States ( Loo & Mar, 1982 ), as is exemplified in the following comments by Chinese immigrants: "If my language problem could be solved, everything would be better"; "Life is hard for me because I can't write or read in English"; "Since I don't know English, I find myself [like] a dumb and blind person in this society" ( Loo. 1987 , p. 499).

Studies by Loo (1987) , Lopez (1978 , 1982) and Veltman (1983 , 1988) , however, showed that ethnolinguistic groups, including Hispanics, shift to English within a generation or two. Some immigrant groups shift more rapidly from their home language to English than do other groups. The rate of shift is influenced by the educational level, social class, and age at immigration of the individual group members, and by the influx of new immigrants from the same language community who replace earlier immigrants and later-generation individuals who have already shifted to English as their primary language of communication.

On the basis of these indicators, one might predict that Hispanics would be more likely to show signs of resisting language shift because they tend to be less educated than some other immigrant groups. However, this has not really altered the continued shift in language orientation among later-generation Hispanics. Veltman's (1988) study showed that 75% of all Hispanic immigrants speak English frequently each day. As Crawford (1989) stated after studying Veltman's analysis of the use of non-English languages, "Veltman found that languages other than English are most threatened in this country. That is, without the replenishing effects of immigration, all minority tongues would gradually die out, with the possible exception of Navajo" (p. 60). If linguistic assimilation is occurring as rapidly as it appears to be, then what is the motive behind the English-only movement?


Crawford (1989) suggested that racist attitudes are behind English-only initiatives. It is now generally well known that Linda Chavez, the Hispanic one-time director of U.S. English, resigned her position in late 1988 after an inflammatory and racist memo authored in 1986 by John Tanton, chairman of U.S. English, was made public. In this memo, Tanton offered a range of cultural threats posed by Spanish-speaking immigrants. Among these threats Tanton listed

the tradition of the mordida (bribe), the lack of involvement in public affairs, Roman Catholicism, with its potential to "pitch out the separation of church and state," low "educability" and high school-dropout rates, failure to use birth control, limited concern for the environment, and of course, language divisions. ( Crawford, 1989 , p. 57).

After this memo was revealed, Walter Cronkite resigned from the board of advisors of U.S. English, indicating that he found the memo contrary to his beliefs.

The position that English-only initiatives may appeal to racist beliefs was also supported by Huddy and Sears (1990) , who examined the attitudes of White Americans toward bilingual education. Similarly, in an analysis by MacKaye (1990) of letters to the editors of various California newspapers that appeared before and after the 1986 election that included Proposition 63, the English Only Initiative, the signs of racism were clear. In fact, Norman Cousins, who was on the board of advisors for U.S. English, resigned to protest the "negative symbolic significance" of Proposition 63. In his resignation, Cousins explained that if Proposition 63 were passed it would cause language-minority citizens to be "disadvantaged, denigrated, and demeaned" ( Crawford, 1989 ). An example of this denigration and demeaning can be found in communities such as Monterey Park, California, where Asian-language books were removed from library shelves and laws banning or limiting commercial business signs in languages other than English have been repeatedly proposed. In other examples, Filipino hospital employees in Pomona, California, said that they had not been allowed to speak Tagalog during their lunch breaks, and a supermarket cashier in Miami, Florida, was suspended by his supervisor for speaking Spanish on the job.

Interethnic Group Relations

Over the past decade there has been a sharp increase in the number of hate crimes and other forms of antiminority group sentiment. There has been an increase in Ku Klux Klan demonstrations, neo-Nazi activities, and attempts by young skin-head toughs to intimidate individuals because of differences in race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. So commonplace have these events become that in 1990 the U.S. Congress passed and President Bush signed the Hate Crimes Statistics Act, which requires local governments to keep track of bias crimes. It has long been known that the more favorably one's own group is perceived, the less attractive other groups are viewed, making ethnocentrism the psychological mechanism that promotes ingroup—outgroup cleavage and prejudice of all forms ( Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswick, Levinson, & Sanford, 1950 ). The English-only movement and the arguments used by its supporters to justify their actions are very similar to those used at other times and in other places to force the domination of one group over another.

Research in Canada and the United States has demonstrated that the social distance and attitudes of one group toward another can be successfully changed through certain language education models to produce less distance and more positive attitudes. Extensive longitudinal and comparative research was conducted by Lambert and his colleagues (see Lambert, 1987 ) in Quebec with English-speaking students at various grade levels in public schools who were being educated in French immersion programs. The immersion students were carefully matched with English-speaking control students who were following a conventional English-language program. At the start of the program, both groups of students and their parents had similar patterns of social attitudes. Results showed that (a) the stereotypes of the immersion students about French Canadians were more favorable than those of the control students; (b) immersion students were more likely than controls to say they had come to appreciate and like French Canadians, and to show a greater willingness and desire to meet and interact with French Canadians; and (c) immersion students reduced the perceived distance between their ethnic group and French Canadians more so than did the controls. As Lambert concluded,

The present research suggests to us that attitudes can cluster into higher-order, generalized orientations that encompass not only a tolerance for another group, but also a knowledge of, appreciation for, and interest in people from that group. (pp. 218—219)

Similar attitudinal results have been reported in studies of immersion students in the United States at both the elementary level ( Snow, Padilla, & Campbell, 1988 ) and the secondary level ( Lindholm & Padilla, 1990 ). These findings suggest that rather than restricting access to languages other than English, educational programs should strongly promote second language learning for English speakers to foster more positive interethnic group relations. Furthermore, the early studies on motivation and language learning showed that

prejudiced attitudes and stereotypes about the other ethnolinguistic group–quite independent of language learning abilities or verbal intelligence–can upset and disturb the motivation needed to learn the other group's language, just as open, inquisitive, and friendly attitudes can enhance and enliven the language learning process. ( Lambert, 1987 , pp. 198—199)

These results have serious implications for the National Governors' Conference goals regarding the development of foreign language competence among a greater number of U.S. students.

However, these findings also have ramifications regarding language competence and the identification processes of language-minority students. We now turn to a discussion of the relationship between identification and language.

Social and Ethnic Identity

The process of identification is an issue of considerable significance in developmental psychology. Although the area of social identity and bilingualism or the development of identity in language-minority students is an important issue, it has not received a considerable amount of empirical inquiry, especially in the past decade. However, there are several lines of research that show that the position advocated by English-only proponents that would require a child to give up his or her native language and acquire English involves more, at a personal level, than the subtraction of the native language from the child's linguistic repertoire. The reason for this belief lies in the close linkage between language and identification. As Ferdman (1990) pointed out, "For Puerto Ricans in the United States, the Spanish language is not just a means of communication; it also represents their identification as Latinos" (p. 190). Similarly, many Asian American and other ethnic-minority parents place their children in public school and extracurricular programs (e.g., Saturday schools) to develop the children's competence and pride in their heritage language.

According to Taylor (1987) and Lambert (1984) , any positive consequences of learning a second language are far outweighed by the negative effects of losing one's native language in other, more important areas of life. The loss may be to an individual's ethnic or group identity. As Taylor (1987) noted: "If learning in the second language contributes to the demise in knowledge and use of the heritage language, the results can be devastating" (p. 187). When a person gives up the native language and feels a lack of identity with any group, as might arise when an immigrant attempts to lose all traces of his or her native language and culture, the result may be the loss of this identity with no real feeling of identity for the host culture to replace it, leading to the undesirable condition of marginality ( Berry, 1983 ).

On the positive side, Taylor and his colleagues' research (see Taylor, 1987 ) showed, not surprisingly, that French-speaking community college students who maintained more contact with English speakers were themselves better speakers of English. More important, though, was the result that those French speakers who did not feel their own ethnic identity to be threatened were the more competent speakers of English.

As Lambert (1987) noted, threats of this sort canlead to suspicion and distrust. Other studies have shown that parents' suspicions and prejudices about outgroups or about their own group can determine the academic route their children will follow and also the language identity their children will develop. The significance of this point is clearly illustrated in Rodriguez's (1982) autobiography Hunger of Memory, in which he described the turning point in his language background when the nuns from his Catholic school visited his parents and encouraged them strongly to switch to speaking English with their children. Rodriguez described the effect of this language switch on the family's interaction at home:

The family's quiet was partly due to the fact that, as we children learned more and more English, we shared fewer and fewer words with our parents. Sentences needed to be spoken slowly when a child addressed his mother or father. (Often the parent wouldn't understand.) The child would need to repeat himself. (Still the parent misunderstood.) The young voice, frustrated, would end up saying, "Never mind"–the subject was closed. Dinners would be noisy with the clinking of knives and forks against the dishes. (p. 23)

As Lambert (1987) pointed out, the psychological consequences can be enormous for members of the linguistic group involved in this subtractive language manipulation because attitudes toward their own group, self, and society are seriously affected. Thus, the subtractive language policies advocated by the English-only movement can have detrimental effects on language-minority children's identification with their groups, their selves, and the U.S. society.

An individual's identification can also influence educational achievement. Kádár-Fulop (1988) showed that the development of language loyalty, or the encouragement of positive attitudes toward one's language, is critical for literacy education. In a similar vein, research by Matute-Bianchi (1987) with Mexican-American and Japanese-American students and studies by Trueba (1984) with Mexican-American children demonstrated that cultural identity mediates the process of educational development and motivation in addition to the types of literacy behaviors an individual may decide to engage in ( Ferdman, 1990 ).

The realm most frequently targeted for opposition by English-only policies is the education of linguistic minority students. We turn now to educational considerations.

Educational Issues

Two major issues surround the English-only influence on education: (a) the bilingual education effectiveness controversy, and (b) the relationship between bilingualism and cognition. The first issue is confined largely to language-minority students, and the second issue addresses both language-minority and language-majority students.

Explaining the significant impact of the English-only movement on the education of language-minority students requires a slight demographic digression. Growth trends over the past 20 years have demonstrated that the number of language-minority students increased substantially, with current estimates of between 1.5 and 2.6 million language-minority students ( U.S. General Accounting Office, 1987a ). The great majority of these students, about 75%, are Hispanic. In addition, it is probably true that instead of receiving bilingual education, a disproportionate number of language-minority students are tracked inappropriately into special education programs ( Baca & Cervantes, 1989 ).

Nationally, the academic performance of minority students is considerably below majority norms. Reading is critical to student achievement in all subjects, yet a National Assessment of Educational Progress report (1990) for the period 1971—1988 showed that the achievement gap is greatest in reading. In addition, the highest drop-out rates are obtained in schools with large concentrations of Southeast Asian (48%) and Spanish-speaking (46%) students and large concentrations of language-minority students in general ( Sue & Padilla, 1986 ). Although a number of risk factors contribute to school drop out for ethnic- and language-minority students, one of these risk factors is limited English proficiency at school entry. Fluency in English is also one critical factor in achievement. Although many students can acquire the basic communication skills in English necessary to carry on a normal everyday conversation with others, they often have difficulty mastering the academic language required for schooling tasks.

Effectiveness of Bilingual Education

English-only advocates and other opponents of bilingual education have vociferously disparaged the ineffectiveness of bilingual education for language-minority children. This viewpoint received considerable support in 1985 when then Secretary of Education William Bennett (1988) stated in a speech to the Association for a Better New York: "After seventeen years of federal involvement, and after $1.7 billion of federal funding, we have no evidence that the children whom we sought to help have benefitted" (p. 185).

The central issue of the debate on bilingual education has been whether research supports the educational benefit of the program or whether federal money could be better spent on other educational programs. As Crawford (1989) has pointed out, critics of bilingual education have had a decided edge in the controversy over its effectiveness. If evidence is contradictory, the easiest position to defend and the hardest to disprove is that results are inconclusive. The Education Department's request for proof that bilingual education is universally effective with every limited-English-proficient child from every background in every school is a standard that has been set for no other content area.

The strongest arguments against bilingual education came from two employees of the U.S. Department of Education, Keith Baker and Adriane de Kanter (1981 , 1983) , who reviewed the bilingual education evaluation literature and concluded that bilingual education was not effective in meeting the educational needs of language-minority children. Baker and de Kanter's report "is easily the most quoted federal pronouncement on the education of [limited-English-proficient] children in the 1980s, and probably the most criticized as well" ( Crawford, 1989 , p. 94).

The most critical reply to Baker and de Kanter's (1981 , 1983) reports came from Willig (1985) , who used meta-analysis procedures to reanalyze the studies. In her analysis, Willig controlled for 183 variables that Baker and de Kanter had not taken into account, and most important, controlled for the design weaknesses in the studies. The results from the meta-analysis consistently yielded small to moderate differences supporting bilingual education. This pattern of findings was substantiated not only in English tests of reading, language skills, mathematics, and total achievement, but also in Spanish tests of listening comprehension, reading, writing, total language, mathematics, social studies, and attitudes toward school and self. Methodological rigor also influenced the findings, such that higher quality study designs produced more positive effects favoring bilingually educated children over children in comparison groups.

More recently, Willig (1987) , in a rebuttal to Baker (1987) , elaborated on her earlier study and argued even more convincingly for the soundness of her original conclusion. She also identified the numerous methodological flaws inherent in Baker and de Kanter's (1981 , 1983) reviews of literature that contributed to their erroneous conclusions. Although the policy questions that drove Baker and de Kanter's studies are now quite moot, as Secada (1987) has so eloquently stated, the English-only movement has seriously eroded confidence in bilingual education as a promising educational program for language-minority students.

In evaluation studies comparing bilingual education with English immersion and English-as-a-second-language programs, these alternatives certainly fare far worse than bilingual education. In a $5.2 million study comparing transitional bilingual education, or early-exit (the most common bilingual education model, designed to move students as quickly as possible to the English mainstream), with late-exit (maintenance of native language while developing English for several years), and with English immersion approaches, the large-scale, methodologically rigorous study clearly showed that the immersion students scored lowest in almost every academic subject and the late-exit bilingual students score highest, even when all groups were tested in English ( Crawford, 1989 ). Although the study was begun in 1983 and completed in 1988, the results of this very expensive and well designed study have not been officially released by the U.S. Department of Education. In early October of 1990, the Department of Education submitted the report to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) with the request that the NAS convene a panel of experts to review the methodology of this very controversial study ( Miller, 1990 ). The delay in releasing the full report is regrettable because the study provides strong support for the effectiveness of late-exit bilingual education.

Because of the generally low achievement and high drop-out rates of language-minority students, it is imperative that the programmatic research with language minority children be examined. Research has shown clearly that high-quality bilingual education programs can promote higher levels of academic achievement and language proficiency in both languages, and promote more positive psychosocial outcomes ( Holm & Holm, 1990 ). Similarly, the sink-or-swim English immersion approach, advocated by English-only supporters, results in lower levels of achievement and English language proficiency, as well as a decrement in psychosocial competence ( Hakuta & Gould, 1987 ). These views are consistent with the U.S. General Accounting Office's (1987b) own independent review of the findings of bilingual education research in light of the Department of Education policy statements.

Relationship Between Bilingualism and Cognition

At the core of the controversy regarding the effectiveness of bilingual education are some theoretical issues regarding the relationship between bilingualism and cognition. One controversial issue is whether there are positive or negative influences of bilingualism on cognitive ability. Considerable research on this point has demonstrated that balanced bilinguals (i.e., those who develop full competency in both languages) enjoy some cognitive advantages over monolinguals in areas such as cognitive flexibility, metalinguistic awareness, concept formation, and creativity. As Hakuta and Garcia (1989) pointed out, "Causal relationships have been difficult to establish, but in general, positive outcomes have been noted, particularly in situations where bilingualism is not a socially stigmatized trait but rather a symbol of membership in a social elite" (p. 375). From this perspective, it is easy to understand why parents of a language-majority child as well as language-minority parents would want the option of enrolling their child in an enrichment bilingual program that promotes both languages. However, in the goals of English-only advocates, this type of language enrichment would not be possible in the public schools because it would serve to strengthen proficiency in non-English languages. Interestingly, this contrasts sharply with recent concern for foreign language education and the need to create a language-competent society that is able to compete effectively with other nations in English and in the languages of its competitors.

A second controversial issue is the conception of the mind as a limited-capacity container. The assumption that only a limited amount of information can be processed by a child at any particular time easily leads to the tempting conclusion that bilingualism overcrowds the cognitive circuits. However, empirical research has shown that the native language does not interfere in any negative way with the development of a second language ( Hakuta & Garcia, 1989 ). In fact, second-language learning and native-language development share common underlying principles of acquisition ( McLaughlin, 1987 ). Furthermore, the proficiency level of the native language can influence the rate of acquisition as well as the level of proficiency attained in the second language, which suggests that the two capacities share and build on a common underlying base rather than compete for limited resources ( Cummins, 1986 ; Hakuta & Garcia, 1989 ; Lindholm, in press ; Padilla & Sung, 1990 ).

Thus, psychological and educational research suggests that policies aimed at promoting English at the expense of other languages are misguided on at least three counts. First, there is considerable basic, applied, and evaluation research showing that bilingual education can promote achievement, dual language proficiency, and psychosocial competence, whereas English immersion approaches may lead to lower levels of achievement, English proficiency, and psychosocial development. Second, there is no evidence that bilingualism causes any type of cognitive overload. Third, bilingualism may lead to higher levels of cognitive development, a finding that should lend support for enrichment bilingual models rather than immersion English-only approaches, for both language-minority and language-majority students.

In summary, the arguments against bilingual education by English-only advocates (e.g., Imhoff, 1990 ) are inaccurate. Bilingual education when properly implemented can be a very effective pedagogical technique for both assisting in the smooth transition to English and in an orderly educational preparation of students from non-English homes. In fact, this may be the best way to achieve participatory democracy, as the beneficiaries of bilingual education are both proficient in English and well equipped educationally to contribute to society.

Testing of Cognitive Abilities and School Achievement

Cognitive ability and intelligence testing of language-minority persons has a long and controversial history ( Diaz, 1983 ; Hakuta, 1986 ; Padilla, 1988 ). Studies before 1962 found that persons with bilingual backgrounds performed poorly on English-language tests and on some nonverbal tests. Peal and Lambert (1962) , in their seminal research, were among the first to show that bilinguals outperformed monolinguals on some kinds of cognitive tasks after controlling for the effects of background differences on task performance. Their work called attention to the inherent shortcomings of studies drawing conclusions about test-score differences between bilingual and monolingual groups without considering other mitigating factors that may affect test scores. The research cited in the previous section of this paper has taken such factors into account and has contributed to a better scientific basis for assessing bilinguals' cognitive abilities.

The use of intelligence and achievement instruments continues to play an important role in special education identification and placement, and there is ongoing policy and scientific debate about the validity of intelligence tests for bilingual background children ( Oakland, 1987 ; Sattler, 1982 ). There is a strong consensus among school psychologists and special education practitioners that language-minority children's schooling aptitude may be seriously underestimated if testing is conducted only in the English language ( Olmedo, 1981 ). Indeed, existing national special education policy under the provisions of Public Law (PL) 94—142, known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, requires that ability testing be done in a manner that is sensitive to the linguistic and cultural background characteristics of students. Although federal law and most state special education policies promote use of non-English and bilingual ability testing and culturally sensitive test interpretation where indicated, in reality testing practices do not meet these criteria very well. Prominent criticisms beyond the failure to consider non-English testing or bilingual testing include inappropriate construction and equation of translated tests, lack of reliability and validity studies, failure to develop testing performance norms for the language-minority student populations in question, and failure to use test administrators familiar with the language and cultural characteristics of children ( Figueroa, 1980 ; Oakland, 1987 ).

Although these concerns have arisen within the special education field, they aptly summarize the key provisions and principles for testing of language-minority students at any educational level established in the current Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing developed by the American Psychological Association, the American Educational Research Association, and the National Council on Measurement in Education ( APA, 1985 ). It is clear that special education policies and professional standards for conduct of testing at all educational levels are inconsistent with views emanating from the English-only perspective. According to these policies and standards, familiarity with a non-English language is a resource that contributes to children's cognitive and academic functioning and that must be assessed in facilitating children's schooling accomplishments ( Durán, 1989a ).

Educational research at high school and precollege levels has provided additional research supporting this argument. Research by Nielson and Fernandez (1981) conducted on the national High School and Beyond Longitudinal Survey revealed that proficiency in two languages can contribute positively to prediction of school achievement test scores in English among Hispanic students. The research found that high self-ratings of Spanish proficiency significantly improved prediction of English-language achievement test scores beyond levels made possible by considering the influence of self-ratings of English proficiency, preference for oral use of Spanish and English, family income, and Hispanic subgroup membership.

Evidence exists that the college admissions test performances of Hispanics from non-English-speaking backgrounds is lower and may not predict college grades as accurately as the test performances of students from English-only backgrounds ( Durán, 1983 ; Durán, Enright, & Rock, 1985 ). Related work by Alderman (1982) found that the college aptitude of Puerto Rican students is not assessed accurately in English by the SAT if the students have limited English proficiency. As students' English language proficiency rose so did their SAT test scores and the correlation of these test scores with performance on a Spanish college aptitude test known as the Prueba de Aptitud Académica. These studies demonstrated the important policy implication that college admissions decisions need to consider the native language verbal ability and college aptitude of students from schooling backgrounds that emphasize use of a non-English language ( Pennock-Roman, 1986 , 1990 ). As with testing at earlier schooling levels, the English-only perspective is inconsistent with research findings and policy recommendations for language-minority students at the college level.

Recent advances in educational research, cognitive psychology, and assessment have raised new challenges for improved assessment practices for language-minority students. Cummins (1986) , for example, questioned the appropriateness of existing teaching and assessment practices provided for low-achieving language-minority students. He cited the emergence of new testing paradigms such as dynamic assessment ( Lidz, 1987 ) which might be used to simultaneously assess and train the cognitive skills of students. Analysis of the language and communication skills of language-minority students and how they might affect dynamic assessment is a new topic. Existing sociolinguistic and ethnography-of-communication classroom research and research on neo-Vygotskian approaches to cognitive assessment instruction suggest that such approaches will benefit critically by drawing on students' full range of language and communication skills ( Durán, 1989b ; Tharp & Gallimore, 1988 ). The English-only position violates the notion that teaching and learning should depend on students' capacity to use language and communication skills in two languages.

At this point we will turn to another important theme that pertains to the delivery of health and social services to individuals with limited English proficiency. Specifically, we are concerned here with the adequacy of diagnostic assessment and treatment issues.

Health Services: Assessment, Diagnosis, and Treatment

One of the concerns regarding an English-only policy is its possible effects on the provision of services to limited-English-speaking clients. This issue is significant because there is an underrepresentation of ethnic-minority health care providers and providers with bilingual skills. As a consequence, any measure favoring an English-only policy might reduce even further the delivery of extremely limited general medical, mental health, and other social services to many Americans not proficient in English who may not be aware of either social services or their right to seek such services ( Piatt, 1990 ).

In this section, we will summarize some of the problems that have been noted in the delivery of health services to limited-English-speaking clients. How these clients in need of health services actually receive treatment is a question that is not easy to answer. Community studies have not yet provided good estimates of the language background of the care providers seen and institutions visited by limited-English-proficient persons. Ideally, a profile should be developed of a health care delivery system that serves ethnic-minority clients. The number and types of bilingual health practitioners and their distribution and mode of practice need to be analyzed in relation to the size and characteristics of the ethnolinguistic populations they serve. Similarly, the languages spoken naturally by clients versus service providers needs to be ascertained. In addition, estimates of the need for and adequacy of coverage of health services also requires some information about the quality of care received.

That language does make a difference in the delivery of health has been noted by Shapiro and Saltzer (1981) , who examined English- and Spanish-speaking patients' patterns of communication with monolingual White physicians. Shapiro and Saltzer found that physicians established significantly better rapport with English-speaking patients than with Spanish-speaking patients. The English-speaking patients were given a better explanation of their therapeutic regimen than were Spanish-speaking patients, and physicians were able to elicit patient feedback significantly better from the English-speaking patients than from the Spanish-speaking patients. In a related study, Manson (1988) examined the effects of language concordance between the physician and patient as a determinant of patient compliance. The findings indicated that the language-discordant group was more likely than the language-concordant group to be noncompliant with their medications. Moreover, patients in the language-discordant group were more likely to miss an appointment and more likely to make an emergency room visit.

In a recent study, Seijo, Gomez, & Freidenberg (1990) showed that language differences between physicians and patients can affect the doctor—patient encounter and the patient recall of information provided by the physician. In this study elderly Hispanic patients in routine medical visits were seen by either a monolingual English-speaking physician or a bilingual physician. The session was observed for questions asked by the patient and for total information provided by the physician. Immediately following the doctor—patient session, the patient was interviewed in Spanish to assess recall. The results demonstrated that Hispanic patients seen by bilingual physicians had better recall and asked more questions than Hispanic patients seen by monolingual physicians. These findings suggest that when physician and patient communicate in the same language, the patient understands the information given by the doctor better and participates more actively in the interaction.

There have also long been warnings of the cognitive and psychological liability that could result when minority clients are compelled to speak only English ( Del Castillo, 1970 ; Sabin, 1975 ). For example, Marcos and his associates ( Marcos, 1976 ; Marcos, Alpert, Urcuyo, & Kesselman, 1973 ; Marcos, Urcuyo, Kesselman, & Alpert, 1973 ) have shown that Hispanic schizophrenics can actually appear more compromised and disturbed when interviewed in English. In a New York hospital, 10 schizophrenic patients were interviewed in English and Spanish. Four psychiatrists rated the patients' degree of pathology. Bilingual patients were judged to be more pathological when speaking in English. Surprisingly, these results occurred even if the patient's vocabulary was greater in English than in Spanish ( Marcos, Alpert, Urcuyo, & Kesselman, 1973 ). The patients expressed themsleves more slowly, paused more frequently, and exhibited speech disturbances more often when speaking English than when speaking Spanish ( Marcos, Urcuyo, Kesselman, & Alpert, 1973 ).

However, the matter of language of interview and degree of psychopathology is by no means settled. In a follow-up study, Price and Cuellar (1981) found that when bilingual Hispanic clinicians evaluated both English and Spanish interviews, the results contradicted Marcos and his associates' findings and showed that greater psychopathology was rated as occurring in Spanish. A similar finding was also reported in an independent study by Vasquez in 1981 . Thus, it is apparent that very little is known about the way in which psychopathology manifests itself in the home language of the person and in English when interviewed by either a monolingual or bilingual therapist.

In another study, Poma (1983) showed that the utilization of mental health facilities and gratitude from patients improved when they were able to use their maternal language to communicate their problems. Atkinson, Morten, and Sue (1989) showed that language has been a major barrier in attempts to provide effective psychological services to newly arrived Asian immigrants. Efforts to use young Vietnamese students to interpret for Vietnamese adults has not been as effective as initially hoped because of the important cultural differences between the younger and older generations of Vietnamese immigrants (Bich, 1979, reported in Chen, 1989 ).

Thus the knowledge base is still very restricted in understanding how language use affects the counseling process when a limited-English-proficient client is forced, because of the absence of bilingual services, to communicate deep-seated emotions and feelings in English. However, to presume that absence of proficiency in English is not a problem in therapy is to deny the obvious. This does not imply that many clinicians are not already sensitive to the issues of language in psychological assessment, diagnosis, and treatment, but it does mean that if a widespread English-only policy were adopted, it could be seen as justification to lessen concern for the needs of linguistic-minority clients. It could also send a signal to graduate training programs that issues of language and culture are not important and that training in cross-cultural techniques in therapy need not be emphasized.


In this article we began with a brief historical background of the movement to legislate English-only language policies at the local, state, and federal level. On the basis of a review of the scientific literature, we see no basis for the claims made to justify an English-only position. For instance, research on language shift has shown that all ethnolinguistic groups in the United States demonstrate a change in their expressed language preference from the home language to English; this includes Hispanics, who are frequently the targets of claims by English-only proponents that they are more oriented toward separatism than to assimilation into U.S. culture and language. In fact, opponents of English-only policies have always strongly argued that English-language proficiency is essential, and that this can be achieved without denial of the heritage language.

We show that the leadership of the English-only movement promotes racist and anti-immigration sentiments and that most likely these elements motivate, at least in part, supporters of English-only initiatives. We provide evidence that intergroup cooperation can be developed in an atmosphere that fosters linguistic pluralism. Furthermore, it is shown that positive self and ethnic identification occurs when children are allowed access to both their heritage language and English.

Another charge made in support of English-only policies is that bilingual education is an ineffective method of instruction and that it maintains language-minority students in a position in which they neither learn English nor aspire toward educational or social integration. A careful review of the major current studies in the area of bilingual education indicates that bilingual education is an effective educational technique for bridging the gap between a non-English home language and English in the school. Moreover, when bilingual education is implemented in a context that fosters an attitude of additive bilingualism, then marked changes in school achievement, self-esteem, and intergroup cooperation are observed.

In a review of the literature and policy provisions stemming from the assessment of cognitive abilities and school achievement, we argued that it is clear that special education policies as expressed in PL 94-142 and in professional standards for testing at all levels as stated in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing ( APA, 1985 ) are inconsistent with views emanating from the English-only perspective. Unlike the English-only perspective, these policies view as essential testing of linguistic minority individuals in ways that are sensitive to the strengths of the non-English language background of the person. In addition, it is generally acknowledged today by psycholinguists that proficiency in two languages contributes to children's cognitive and academic functioning. Strategies that assess the facilitating role of bilingualism to children's schooling accomplishments are called for in our reevaluation of the testing of linguistic minority children.

Finally, we show that language considerations are important in the delivery of health and mental health services. There is ample evidence, for example, that shows that diagnosis, treatment, and patient compliance can all be affected by whether the health care provider is able to communicate with a patient in the patient's native language. Accordingly, there are practical considerations that merit our increased attention to the service delivery needs of linguistic-minority clients rather than to policies for curtailing such services.

In conclusion, we have endeavored to provide substantive scientific evidence in support of the Resolution Against English Only. Throughout this discussion, we have examined some of the misconceptions applied by English-only advocates in social psychological, educational, testing, and health-service delivery arenas. On the basis of this evidence, we believe that there is no support for English-only initiatives. We take the position that the English-only movement can have negative consequences for the delivery of psychological, educational, psychometric, and health services for many American citizens and residents who, through no fault of their own, are not proficient in English. Finally, we assert that the public interest is best served by affirming a position in opposition to English-only initiatives. We hold that the English-only movement is socially divisive and poses a threat to the human welfare that psychologists espouse in the Ethical Principles of Psychologists ( APA, 1981 ).

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