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Bilingual Education Essay

1643 words - 7 pages

An Integral Aspect of the No Child Left Behind Philosophy Introduction Bilingual education, by definition, is an ?education strategy that uses English and the native language of students in classroom instruction? (Johnson, 2002). This strategy is at the center of an ongoing debate among educators, government officials and parents of children whose primary language is not English. The premise of proponents of bilingual education is that children need to have instruction in both their native language and English, which would allow them to be fluent in both languages. Others argue that learners need instruction in the English language with use of their native language only as a transitory tool, which would lead to a learner who is fluent only in English.Imagine that you are a child. Your parents are legal migrant workers in the U. S. and are originally from Mexico. Law requires you to attend school while you are in the U.S.; your parents work in California during the winter, North Carolina during the summer and Florida during the fall. After the harvest season, or when your parents go back to Mexico, you return to Mexico with them and attend school there. The chances are quiet high that while in the United States you attended a school that does not offer bilingual education. When you return to Mexico and to the school in your community, you have fallen behind in developing linguistic skills in Spanish. This scenario would leave you with a learning disability in your home country.This scenario is a common one. There are other?s too that are just as relevant to today?s societies. Chinese who choose to live in non-English speaking communities, Cubans in Miami and Germans living in Minnesota all should have the ability to have their children educated in the language of their culture, as well as English. The degree to which our society is willing to fund bilingual education is what is really at the core of the debate of bilingual education.Debates on this subject are divisive. Those in mainstream English culture do not see a pertinent need of learners to be fluent any other language other than English. However, not all people who are living in English speaking countries now will continue to do so later in life. In addition, more people in the United States, other than only English speaking people, speak Spanish, and derivatives of it. Besides, if one were to broach the subject of native languages, none of us would be speaking English anyway. We would be speaking some form of language derived from Native American cultures.I believe that a person should be able to have the opportunity to study in their native language and English, which would allow them to be bilingual. This would help learners communicate more effectively in their communities, native countries and would help bridge the communication gap between two dissimilar cultures. Moreover, in the context of the ?no child left behind? legislation, utilizing bilingual education would be a practical...

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