Leadership Rift Threatens Future of Bilingual Advocacy Group

April 12, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Education News
The month of March has been filled with intrigue and wonder among those following the activities of the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE). On March 6th, on Stephen Krashen's Mailing List, came a message titled: "My Resignation from the NABE Board." Krashen, along with past NABE president Josefina Tinajero and parent representative Mary Carol Combs, resigned from the NABE executive board in protest over the board's February 25th decision not to renew the contract of James Crawford, who has served for the past two years as executive director of the organization.

On March 9th, supporters of Crawford and his three allies initiated a formal petition drive via a Web site, www.petitionthem.com. Their petition is titled "NABE Board Should Immediately Reinstate Jim Crawford as Executive Director, Seven Remaining Members to Resign."

According to a write up in the July, 2004, issue of NABE News, announcing his appointment as executive director, he is "a former journalist [who] served as Washington editor of Education Week and, as an independent writer since 1987, has specialized in language and education policy." He is author of Educating English Learners: Language Diversity in the Classroom (2004, Bilingual Education Services, Inc.).

The remaining seven NABE board members are: Pedro J. Ruiz (President), Zaida A. Cintron (Vice President), Mary Jew (Treasurer), Heriberto Galarza (Secretary-East Region), Thomas Brown (Member at Large), Willard S. Gilbert (Member at Large), Elena Izquierdo (Central Region Representative).

On March 10th, these seven board members posted a response to the petition drive, on the NABE site (nabe.org), saying that they were "legally constrained not to discuss confidential personnel decisions, including the decision not to renew Jim Crawford’s contract as executive director."

The executive board has its work cut out for it. They must move forward with central office activities, publications, elections, and preparations for the upcoming 2007 NABE Convention in San Jose, California. The ousted executive director and his supporters have mounted a very effective information campaign so far, and their strongest argument appears to be that the process leading to the board's decision was not open and transparent enough.

More information:
NABE Web site: