Controversies regarding the issue of language to be used in education in California are gaining public attention. A significant proportion of the population in California, being one of the states adjacent to Mexico, is comprised of Hispanic. This enriches, but also complicates the educational system of the state. Specifically, the range of different racial background causes language problems in school today. Therefore, especially in terms of the formulation of educational policies as well as in the classroom setting, the Hispanic population must be taken into consideration. Although bilingual education seems like a positive way to educate Spanish-speaking students, it is actually detrimental because it makes no difference in their grades, there is a limited amount of bilingual speakers to teach them, and the parents of the Hispanic students support the ban of the bilingual education system.
As of yet, there are still varied opinions as to whether the use of both the native and the local language is constructive or distractive to the Latino students’ learning of the English language and of the school subjects as a whole. A recent study by Branum and other authors of “Contextual Effects of Bilingual Programs ” in 2010 shows that, in a test for comprehension of English passages, the average scores of first graders under the English Immersion program and those under Spanish Maintenance programs did not vary significantly (341). This proves that the bilingual educational system does not really benefits the students when it comes to grades.
For all the parties involved in the educational system, from the policy-makers and the educators to the students (and to some extent the students’ parents), bilingualism brings forth further complexities in many ways to education. The most obvious and foremost is how bilingualism affects the effectiveness of teaching the students in the classroom. In certain situations Spanish speakers and English speakers both will be in the same classroom which will prevent the teacher from giving each student equal instruction. Learning here refers both to the comprehension and acquisition of the language used as well as of the subject discussed and explained using the language.
In order to address the issue, the Californian Proposition 227, also alternatively known as “English in Public Schools” Initiative, was formulated. According to Monzó in his article, Proposition 227 “severely restricted use of languages other than English in instruction” (4). And yet even before this, bilingual education is already an issue in itself. This addition to the already established Educational Code in California, effectively suppresses bilingual education amongst public schools in same state. Alongside this is the mandate of short-term initial Sheltered English Immersion for non-English speakers.
Aside from these more immediate effects, the Proposition also first significantly promotes English instruction via the funding for English...