chapter  10
ESL Policy in Canada and the United States: Basis for Comparison
Pages 26

English is dominant in the United States and in most of Canada, both of which have a great deal of non-English-speaking immigration. Therefore, English as a second language (ESL) provisions are important to both countries. Given similarities and differences between the two countries it would be useful to compare them in terms of lessons learned about ESL in order to enhance both systems. However, it has proven extremely difficult to describe comprehensively the actual implementation of either system at a national level due to the complexity of policies, funding mechanisms, and means of delivery. According to Chisman, Wrigley, and Ewen (1993), "The ... pattern of [ESL] service [in the United States] is so disorganized and complex that no one really knows how it works; no one can provide satisfactory answers to many of the most elementary questions about service and funding" (pp. 1-2). The situation in Canada is similar. Fortunately, there are now a few large scale studies that are beginning to fill in the gaps in both countries (Burnaby, 1992b; Chisman et al., 1993,; Cumming, 1991; Cumming, Hart, Corson, & Cummins, 1993). In addition, it has not been possible to do more than estimate the extent to which these systems are meeting the needs or demands of the target populations (Ashworth, 1992; Burnaby, 1992b; Chisman et al., 1993; Churchill, 1986).