• Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES);
  • language offerings;
  • language policy;
  • minority students;
  • world language education;
  • Spanish;
  • French;
  • relevant to all languages

Abstract: Teaching Spanish has become increasingly popular in the United States due to demographic shifts. This study focuses on a Spanish-only initiative for an existing Foreign Language in the Elementary School (FLES) program proposed by a southeastern public school district's school board. It analyzes discourses underlying the policymakers' rationales and resistance from teachers, students, and community members. Analysis of documents, video recordings of school board meetings, newspaper articles, and e-mail exchanges reveals competing discourses that constructed particular views on language, language learning, and the benefit of Spanish for Latino and African American students. Characteristics of these discourses include language ideologies, racialization of the arguments, hospitality as a reaction to “language panics” (Hill, 2001, p. 245), and the constructed nature of Latino parents' knowledge. The study suggests the importance of multilingualism for world language education.