The expropriation of dual language bilingual education: deconstructing neoliberalism, whitestreaming, and English-hegemony

Juan A. Freire, Brigham Young University
James Gambrell, Kennesaw State University
G. Sue Kasun, Georgia State University
Lisa M. Dorner, University of Missouri


A growing body of research has demonstrated that neoliberal discourses have negatively impacted dual language bilingual education (DLBE) for students designated as English learners. This study uses the concept of expropriation to refer to the co-opting and dispossessing of educational resources, opportunities, and rights from language-minoritized communities, and a shift to the reframing and reuse of these resources by white English-privileged populations for their benefit. Using Utah’s DLBE model (fiftyfication, exclusion of one-teacher model, exclusion of one-way developmental bilingual education, and strict language separation policy) as a foundational expropriation reference, we evaluated which states followed this model, how they implemented it, what discourses were used, and who the beneficiaries were. Employing critical discourse analysis, we examined DLBE policy documents gathered from states’ websites across the U.S. and found that Delaware, Georgia, and Wyoming emulated Utah’s model. Findings showed discursive gentrification propelled by English-hegemonic and neoliberal forces, which benefited white English-privileged students. We posit further analyses should consider the intersection of other policies in the context of expropriation conditions.