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Results for "June, 2009"

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  • Supreme Court strikes a blow against minority language rights

    In a blow against minority language rights, the Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Horne v. Flores that the federal government must stop monitoring how the state of Arizona teaches its non-English-speaking students, despite evidence that these students continue to do much worse than their English-speaking peers in school.

    Seventeen years ago a group of Nogales, Arizona, parents whose children spoke little or no English sued the state, charging that their children had been denied “equal educational opportunity [by failing] to take appropriate action to overcome language barriers” as required by the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974 (EEOA, 20 U. S. C. §1703). In 2000, the federal district court found that the state had violated the EEOA and issued a series of compliance orders.

  • Finding Eve's Rib? Oldest "Ms." might not have feminist origins after all

    Word hunter Ben Zimmer reports the earliest sighting so far of “the elusive first Ms.” The word, an alternative to the marriage-specific titles Miss and Mrs, turns out to be over 100 years old. (An earlier example of Ms from 1767 [see images below] is probably an abbreviation of Miss, not the marriage-neutral, innovative Ms. that Zimmer’s been looking for.)

  • Note to English-only group that can't spell "conference": Presidential candidates in Kyrgyzstan have to pass a test in their official language. Could you pass a test in English?

    A major theme at Pat Buchanan's American Cause conference on "Building the New Majority" this week was making English official. Speaking under a  banner reading "2009 National Conferenece," white nationalist Peter Brimelow (editor of charged that Democrats don't respect English: "You're going to find that the Obama administration is going to gradually institute institutional bilingualism in the country. It's going to be required to speak Spanish in key positions, the police force and so on." But it was Republicans who were unable to spell fairly simple English words.

  • The American moment is waning. Will English pull us through?

    The American economy is shrinking. The trade deficit is growing. U.S. military intervention is ineffective. Immigration is out of control. Not to worry, though, English will pull us through.

    At least that’s what Ali Wyne, a junior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, argues on the website of Foreign Policy. Wyne reassures anyone worried that the American moment is waning, “the growing influence of English will ensure that the United States doesn’t fade into the sunset anytime soon.”

  • A spelling reformer writes to Mr. Lincoln

    In 1859, a Methodist minister named A. B. Pikard wrote two letters to former senator Abraham Lincoln -- Lincoln had lost his seat to Stephen Douglas in 1858 -- protesting the inhumanity of the fugitive slave laws. Its no surprise to find a northern abolitionist minister opposing the return of runaway slaves to the masters theyd escaped. But a minister who uses the phonetic alphabet to argue that the practice is both immoral and unconstitutional, well that is unusual.