B. Parallel Consequences of English-Only Schools and Workplaces

      Reforming bilingual education policy is a reasonable starting point to change social norms that will have long term benefits on individual American businesses, the economy, and individual liberties. The workplace does not have the same goals or obligations as the public education system, and no one can refute that some level of communication is essential in the workplace. Nonetheless, the three primary social consequences of English-Only rules in the workplace are equally applicable to education settings where linguistic diversity is not tolerated. First, workplaces with English-Only rules and linguistically intolerant schools isolate themselves from their communities, creating a tension between themselves and the community or exacerbating an existing rift. According to language and immigration law scholar Cristina Rodriguez, English-Only rules reflect “the desire by certain parties - employers, employees, and segments of the public - to control the social dynamics of the workplace.” Employers often justify English-Only rules by claiming they promote workplace harmony and serve customer preferences, but “in expressing these interests, [the employer] is also articulating what he has determined is best for the bottom line of his business, [and] the bottom line is inextricable from social assumptions about the propriety and desirability of non-English in public spaces.”

      English-Only rules also interfere with individuals' associative interests by obstructing the development of social relationships among co-workers and fellow students. The workplace and the school are far more than commercial and educational settings; they are social institutions where individuals spend the vast majority of their waking hours. They are the places where important relationships are developed with both peers and authority figures, and the relationships formed within their walls extend well beyond them. Though the consequences of English-Only rules at work are primarily social, they nonetheless should be of concern to employers, as social dynamics affect workplace harmony, efficiency, and ultimately, employers' bottom line. Likewise, the social consequences of English-Only schools affect the interpersonal dynamics of students within and beyond the classroom.

      Finally, English-Only rules relegate non-English languages to private, familial spaces. Not only does this relegation send a strong message devaluing language diversity, it also threatens the sustainability of minority languages and facilitates language loss. Language loss is particularly concerning given that the shortage of “language-competent” citizens required to meet domestic and international needs has been recognized for decades. Language planning and socio-linguistic scholars have endorsed multilingualism as a valuable resource for all individuals and society. Notably, some scholars have recognized that “efforts to address national economy needs for a bilingual work force are cost- and time-inefficient when they concentrate on developing second language competence in monolingual English speakers, while the enormous language resources of the growing ethnic non-English populations in the country are wasted.”