Yesterday, the National Research Council began its review of Title VI with a “public forum.” The review committee is meeting in closed session today. Yesterday I traced the dubious origins of this enterprise. The academics pushed for it as an alternative to a Title VI board, believing they can fix the outcome through an avalanche of testimonials and massaged data. And they’ve got some old chums on the committee as well. I’ve received a first-hand account of the “open forum.” As expected, it constituted a who’s who of long-time Title VI beneficiaries, as well as Ed Department bureaucrats who want to show their program in the best light. Great program, they said, does a lot for language acquisition, and it could use a lot more money too.
Still, I’m told that committee members asked some tough questions, and that one of them complained about the absence of Stanley Kurtz and myself. Well, no wonder: the committee must have gotten bored listening to one side of the story, told by institutional types hungry for bigger budgets and bigger subsidies. Missing from all this was the public, which pays for it all, and the rest of the government, which is starved for language expertise.
I may be far away from Washington, but today I offer a kind of opening statement of my own, posted at Sandstorm. There I tackle the claim that Title VI is a language program. Sure, that’s how it’s sold to Congress, but it’s not how Title VI is implemented. And that’s just my first shot. I assure the committee that a critical perspective will be made available to them. All they have to do is bookmark this website.