Disrupting the Monolinguistic Culture of the U.S. Education System

One in every five adults in the U.S. speaks a language other than English at home – so why are other languages shunned at schools? While there is no official language in the U.S., there is a large unofficial one: English. It’s on our maps, it’s on our shops, and it’s in our schools. So, how is one man leading the disruption charge to fix the monolinguistic culture built within our U.S. education system?

In the latest episode of DisruptED, Ron J. Stefanski and Dr. Caesar Mickens host a conversation with disruptor and high GSD-indexer Dr. José Medina, Chief Educational Advocate with Dr. José Medina: Educational Solutions, about the monolinguistic culture of the U.S., his journey throughout education, and creating educational access for all.

Dr. Medina came to the U.S. with very little knowledge of English—which should have been accepted—but was instead punished. As a first grader, Dr. Medina was humiliated in front of his new classmates for speaking his native language: Spanish. Over the years, Dr. Medina realized that his experience shouldn’t be accepted as normal in the U.S. education system and since then, he has endeavored, through positive disruption, to make it so that no other child has to go through what he went through.

Dr. Medina asserted, “The truth is that even today, in 2023, U.S. schooling systems continue to promote a white, monolingual, monocultural, heteronormative, patriarchal, and often xenophobic perspective of teaching and learning…”

Stefanski, Mickens, and Medina discuss…

● How the U.S. education system is monolinguistic

● How the U.S. should infuse an accepting and reflective environment into the education system

● How educators must learn to engage with students from all backgrounds and accept multi-lingual abilities as skills and not gaps

“…And so, it really takes all of us to really engage in this work…if what we’re saying, though, is that schools in the United States can continue to promote this monolingual and monocultural perspective of teaching and learning, what I would like the listeners to ponder on then is: When we say that students have gaps that we need to fill, are we in fact not then saying that those students are simply just not white-adjacent enough?,” said Dr. Medina.

Dr. Medina started his journey in education as a teacher throughout Texas before becoming a Dual Language Principal for Pflugerville ISD. His experience also expanded into the private sector, where he worked as the Director of Dual Language and Bilingual Education for the Center for Applied Linguistics before building his consulting business in bilingual education. He earned his BA in Theater from the University of Texas at El Paso, his Master’s from New York University, and his Ed.D in Educational Leadership and Administration from Lamar University.

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