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90 Years after Meyer v. Nebraska: Advocating for the Students’ Home Language Educational Rights

Dr. Elvira Sanatullova-Allison, Department of Education

Thursday, April 20th, 2017 at 2:00 pm
Byrd Center for Legislative Studies Auditorium

This presentation provides an overview of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Meyer v. Nebraska and its four companion cases (under the heading of Bartels v. Iowa), which were decided in 1923, all dealing with the application of the First and Fourteenth Amendment clauses in the area of civil liberties. Specifically, the cases pertained to the constitutionality of educational rights of children (and their parents), who spoke languages other than English at home, and the teachers who attempted to teach these children in their home languages in school. By revisiting the cases, this presentation highlights their significance as important precedents in the state and federal legislation, as well as related educational policies in the U.S., specifically concerning language minority students (and their families). It also emphasizes the cases’ impact on the consequent developments in language education in the U.S., including present day connections and future implications.

Dr. Elvira Sanatullova-Allison is the Chair of the Department of Education at Shepherd University, which she joined in August 2016. An ethnic Tatar, she was born in Azerbaijan and lived in Russia for over 20 years. She is multi-lingual and studied in Russia, Uzbekistan, France, and the United States. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Administration, Curriculum, and Instruction, specializing in Language Acquisition and Literacy. She taught in P-12 schools in Russia and the United States and has been a teacher educator for the last 20 years in NE, NY, PA, OK, and now WV. Her scholarship is interdisciplinary in approach and qualitative in design and lies mainly in the following four areas: (1) language acquisition/learning, pedagogy, and education; (2) culturally and linguistically diverse populations; (3) multicultural, international, and comparative education; and (4) gender diversity in education. She is involved in many environmental protection, animal welfare, and vegetarian lifestyle causes and enjoys Slavic folklore, poetry of Jacques Prévert, and Lifetime movies.