Bilingual Education Essay

1272 words - 5 pages

America has never designated an official language because there is a common assumption that we have been an essentially monolingual nation. This is because a vast majority of American citizens spoke English as their primary or native language; and immigrants who migrate to the US, learn to speak English as well. However, after the 1960's the immigration rate to the United States from countries such as Mexico has risen tremendous. Today I believe there is a great need for bilingual education in the United States; in the public schools system and the translation of English to major minority languages such as Spanish, to help and make the transition of life for non-English speakers to English easier.I think bilingual education is necessary in classrooms for the benefit of language minority children, especially in states such as NY, Florida, and California where the diversity of students in public schools varies in large numbers; and where there are many students of different backgrounds. The transition of learning a new language is extremely difficult for these students; especially without been able to use their own first language to make the transition to English easier. If American classrooms become solely English then minority language speakers are going to be left behind. For example in the "Anatomy of the English Only Movement", by James Crawford, research on second-language acquisition has shown that:"When language minority students fail, it is more likely from too little instruction in their native language than too little English. Along term national study has documented higher student achievement in developmental bilingual classrooms than transitional bilingual or structured English immersion classrooms".However, advocates for the English Only Movement believe that English only education in schools can bring unity between the language barriers and provide an equal education to all children. Equal education refers to equal educational opportunities for all children regardless of their backgrounds. One of the major arguments that advocates of English only debates, in Proposition 227 in California is equality in education, which would make English the sole instructional language for every child. However, I believe this argument may work best for native English speakers, but I think it is unfair for language minority children; and fear that if English only should be implemented in our schools they would be at a disadvantage. I believe that the equality in education by implementing solely English, that Proposition 227 proposes makes it extremely difficult for language minority children to receive a meaningful education; and many believe that solely English may also be "detrimental to their familial and social integration". (pg3) In 1974, in the case of Lau V. Nichols, the Supreme Court ruled that: "there is no equality of treatment merely by providing students with the same facilities, textbooks, teachers, and curriculum; for students who do not...

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