Global Migration and Education: A reflection
on cultures and languages in contact and the
need for opening Cosmopolitan views and
Intercultural Bilingual spaces
in educational settings
Patricio Ortiz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
ESOL/Bilingual Education
College of Education
Western Oregon University
• The decade of the 1990's saw the largest wave of immigration that
this country has lived, with more than 9 million legal immigrants
crossing the US borders. It is expected that the decade of the 2000's
might bring 14 million people to these shores. Today one in five
children is immigrant, but schools have not acknowledged yet the
diversity in cultures and languages that global migration and
connectivity across-borders is producing in the 21th century
classroom. U.S. school practices and curriculum remain anchored to
the 19th Century assimilationist mono-cultural and mono-lingual
identities and asymmetric relations of power continues to define
much of cultural and linguistic contact in schools. Cosmopolitan
points of view and intercultural bilingual education spaces have
become an important need to incorporate into schooling and teacher
education programs, in our increasingly diverse global world of the
21st Century.
1. The contradictory dynamics of globalization:
tensions between the transnational vs. the local
• In the 1990's more than 9 million documented
immigrants entered the United States, surpassing any
decade before in the history of US immigration (INS,
• 14 million immigrants are expected to arrive between
2000 and 2010 (Fix & Passel, 2003).
• By 1997, a 62% of the population of Los Angeles was of
migrant stock (first or second generation), 54% of New
York, 43% of San Diego and 72% of Miami (Portes,
• Children of immigrant families are the fastest growing segment of
the child population; one of every five children in the US is
immigrant. Immigrants constitute 20% percent of the current total
U.S. population.
• Since 1965, significant changes in the ethnic configuration and
proportion of immigrants entering the U.S., as taken place. Being
now almost 90% non European, the majority are from Latin America
(Mexico and the Caribbean) and Asia (Philippines, Vietnam, India
and China) (USIA, 1997). A 60% of the immigrant population is from
Hispanic origin, 23% Asiatic, 2% African and 11% European (U.S.
Census Bureau, 2000).
• Projections indicate that ethnic groups of color will comprise
approximately half of the U.S. population by the year 2050 (U.S.
Census Bureau, 2000; Suarez-Orozco, 2006).
• Globalization is sweeping across areas of information
and communications, science and technology, the
market economy and geographical movements of
people, which are creating an important ideological shift
towards the universal, and the hybrid cultural and
linguistic discourses (García-Canclini, 2006).
• Forms of Global Citizenship (Noddings, 2005), are taking
place through the erasure of the conventional borders of
the nation-state (Bhabha, 1994) and its Unitarian monocultural and mono-lingual identity (Anderson, 1991).
• But Globalization has also generated strong detractors
among those who see it as a threat to their traditional
local values, or as the expansion or domination of
Western based neo-liberal capitalism (Hall et al, 1996).
• Globalization has also created strong reactions for a
return towards the local, the ancestral, and in many
cases towards positions of Fundamentalism and intense
forms of ethnocentricity (Hall et al., 1996).
• The U.S. has not been immune to these contradictions
and although its expansion towards the global is evident
in the international projection of its economic and
technologic spheres, much of the current anti-immigrant,
anti-bilingual and anti-multicultural discourses within its
borders, are part of this contradictory movement of
globalization, pulling in two opposite directions. At the
same time that some promote the economic exchange
with Mexico, others want to build a wall in its border.
Main question for educators in Global times
• How is schooling in the new millennium being affected
and transformed by the new global order and how are
schools adapting to this new reality (if they are
transforming in any way).
• How global connectivity, border-crossing, cultural and
linguistic proximity and diversity, have had an impact in
curriculum, pedagogical practices, management of
schools, expectations and skills of teachers.
• How are we creating a critical and reflective awareness
for in-service an pre-service teachers working with
culturally and linguistically diverse populations, to
understand the immigrant culture, children, and families,
in order to be able to create successful culturally
relevant pedagogical practices (Trueba, 2000; LadsonBillings, 1995).
• How are educational systems and schooling fostering
the interdisciplinary knowledge construction, by
developing the capacity to think critically and creatively
across disciplinary borders, and the capacity to interact
civilly and productively with individuals of different
cultural backgrounds and knowledge (Gardner, 2006).
• How are they fostering the respect for student own
cultural traditions, and fostering hybrid or blended
identities as they promote tolerance for diversity, which
are some of the important skills and understandings for
the global era (Gardner, 2006)
• What are schools doing wrong that current research is
showing that second and third generation of immigrant
children (especially of Latino descent) are doing worse
and have lees rates of success than their immigrant
parents (Portes & Gumberg, 2004; Suarez-Orozco,
• What are schools doing to address the issue that in
2004, only approximately half of foreign-born Hispanics
ages 18–24 had completed high school (54.7 percent)
and the national dropout rate for Hispanics from schools
was almost 25%, that is 4 times higher than that of
mainstream caucasian students.
National Center for Education Statistics 2004 Annual Dropout Report. (Nov, 2006)
3. Educational systems are inherently conservative,
(Gardner, 2006) and school remain anchored in
forms of knowledge and Identity construction of 19th
The largest wave of immigration existing in US history which took
place in the recent 1990’s, although has changed dramatically the
ethnic, cultural and linguistic composition of U.S. schools, has not
being acknowledge at the level of transforming schooling, its
curriculum and its instructional practices.
The assimilationist tradition of U.S. immigration and its subtractive
schooling model (Valenzuela, 2000) of the 19th Century
Americanization, remains alive and anchored to the mono-cultural
and mono-lingual U.S. national identity project of 100 years ago,
and has not opened the doors to the complexity, and hybridity of
the 21st Century global world.
• The debate about what a 21 Century schooling should be, and the
cultural and linguistic diversity challenges that a post industrial
Global world brings, has not arrived to the agenda of public
educational policy makers (Crawford, 2000). Although many schools
and individual teachers are struggling hard to cope with trying to
educate a population, who’s complexities they have not been
equipped to work with (Escamilla, 2002).
• In current educational settings the reaction at large continues to be
towards the dominant mono-cultural and the mono-lingual exclusive
project (Shohamy, 2006). Current anti-Bilingual legislation in various
states , plus the NCLB mandate have erased important part of what
the bilingual education project had advance in decades, in the
recognition and support to cultural and linguistic diversity in the
classroom. (Garcia, 2004; Hornberger, 2006).
• After 9/11 attitudes towards immigrants have taken in many places a
xenofobic edge (Maira, 2006)
• A National Study (2002) of Teacher Education
Preparation For Diverse Student Populations done by
the Center for Research on Education, Diversity &
Excellence (U.C. Santa Cruz, 2002), that interviewed
900 teacher education program directors around the US,
found that with the exception of one state, states have a
negative sociopolitical environment with regard to
diversity. The most comprehensive programs are
university pre-service and in-service programs, which
also prepare the least number of bilingual/ESL teachers
and the integration of bilingual/ESL preparation across
the teacher education programs, showed to be minimal.
(2002) Center for Research in Education, Diversity and Excellence. U.C. Santa Cruz.
4. Cosmopolitanism as a viable alternative
response to the education of immigrant and
culturally and linguistically diverse students
• A Cosmopolitan Multilicultural Identity (Appiah, 2006) as
a form of universal concern and respect for legitimate
differences, is a valid concept to begin exploring for the
creation of new spaces for cultural and linguistic diversity
in schools.
• Cosmopolitan Multilingualism as a way of validating
knowledge and languages as cultural and social capital
that children bring into the school from their homes and
communities as forms of indigenous and community
knowledge (Moll, 1992).
Cosmopolitian Intercultural Bilingual
Education as a space for multiple, hybrid and
negotiated identities in schools
• Cosmopolitan Multicultral bilingualism as critical counter
hegemonic narratives (Giroux & MacLaren, 1996)
opening spaces for the multiple identities that Global
postmodernity and its hybrid diversity brings.
• Cosmopolitan Intercultural Bilingual education as a
project of additive schooling that does not alienate
minorities, but links them to their ancestral traditions or
their back home cultures and languages, at the same
time that converts them into willing participants, and
more informed and skilled members of the American
dream that the have come to pursue.
Conclusion: More questions than answers
• To be a poor immigrant child from a Polish, Italian or Irish background
walking into an American school in 1907, the previous highest wave
of migration before the 1990’s, is a very different proposition than
being a poor immigrant child of Mexican, Chinese or Vietnamese
background, walking into an American school in 2007.
• One hundred years have made a big difference in the world-at-large
in which we live. Today we face very different challenges and
possibilities. But unfortunately the schools and the solutions they
propose have remained much the same, as in the past.
• This is the point that we need to reflect upon and begin an urgent
dialogue about. How will cultural and linguistic diversity be phrased in
education and schooling in the current 21st century of Globalization?
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Mexican Farm Labor Networks, Social Integration, and