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Bilingual Education Essay

1479 words - 6 pages


Bilingual education was first initiated in 1968. It was a new means to educate the children who spoke a minority language. thirty-one years later the same problems exist for those children who speak a language other then English. The experiment of Bilingual education has been a failure and now it’s time to move on. The first English only initiatives were brought forth in 1981 by newly elected president Reagan. Since then the conflict over Bilingual education has drove on. Currently twenty-three states have “English Only” laws with 4 states having laws that are pending. The issue of bilingual education and the conflict that surrounds it is primarily focused between whites and Hispanics, although since the mid 70’s it’s also been involved with the Chinese and Mung cultures. Bilingual education has failed however, currently the movement is towards and English only educational system. The simple fact of the matter is that people who speak a language in this country will never get ahead. We’ve tested the ignorant notion that you could get by without speaking English; or speaking English very minimally, but that’s promoting and even more ignorant idea which is that you don’t need speak English fluently to succeed in America. In 1968 we didn’t know that Bilingual Education wouldn’t work, however, it’s time to move on and do the right thing and switch to English Only.
     Lyndon Johnson was president, we had the futile dream of world peace, at the same time we were “Bombing the North Vietnamese into the stone-age”. In the final year of LBJ’s presidency sever new education initives were taken as part of the last step in his “Great Society” programs. One of these new initives was Bilingual education. At the time it was supported by the Liberal whites in this country, for the most part the conservative Hispanic sect was opposed to such measures. The idea at the time was, kids would learn in their native language and simply pick up English gradually. Those ideas were radicalized in the 1970’s however, the premise moved away from gradual learning of English; to English wasn’t really necessary. In 1981 Bilingual education came under assault from newly elected president Reagan proposed moving to the English Only system. The idea wasn’t viewed as Anti-Hispanic at the time, or as some kind of racist proposal. Reagan was adored by a majority of the Hispanic community, drawing unprecedented support among Latino voters. The issue of bigotry wasn’t brought forth until the Democrats were sent packing in Gingerich revolution of 1994. In 1999 the debate rages on another 4-5 states are preparing for an “English Only” law to go on the 2000 Election ballots. The assault on Bilingual Education will continue on. There have been several attempts to put an “English Only” amendment in to the constitution, all have failed. However, as public support for English only hits record highs an amendment maybe inevitable.
     The...

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