Border Inspections: Art-based Encounters with Language, Identify, Culture and Power features art created by CSUF students, faculty, and K-12 students and teachers. The artworks document and critique bilingual and bicultural education as it is practiced in the US and Canada. Many of the pieces provide insight into what it feels to be part of a system that often seems to denigrate the students’ home culture for all its good intentions. As former California Superintendent of Public Instruction, Jack O’Connell, stated in 2006:
California has the most diverse student population in the world, with more than 100 languages spoken in the homes of those students. Today, our student population is a majority-minority. Forty-one percent of our students speak a language other than English at home, and a quarter of all California public school students are struggling to learn the English language in school.
Sadly, too many people view such diversity as a big problem. I don’t. Instead, I say: Imagine the potential of that diversity in today’s and tomorrow’s global economy. If we educate these students well, our state would not only be able to compete more effectively, but it would be able to lead our nation and the world economically.
In the curatorial notes, O’Connell’s statement is juxtaposed with a timeline of policies that have impacted bilingual education in California, such as 1997’s Proposition 227, “English for the Children” which prohibits instruction in any language other than English, although bilingual programs have survived through parental waiver programs.
The show was curated by CSUF professor Sharon Chappell, Bilingual and Elementary Education.
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Post originally written by Stephanie Rosenblatt, former Instruction Librarian.