How To Give American Students A Billingual Education

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Imagine what Christopher Columbus first said when stepping on American soil. Perhaps he said: “This land holds great promise.” Whatever he said the more fascinating question to ponder centers around what language did he speak, for Christopher Columbus, a multi-linguist, knew Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. So what happened to the diversity of languages in this land of promise? Many foreigners contribute to the melting pot of America, bringing their culture and language, yet American schools continue to teach just one language in today’s society. The heated debate among parents, educators, and politicians over a multilingual education in the United States began in the late nineteenth century. Over the next sixty years many crucial cases, mandates, and laws passed through America’s judicial system, bouncing back and forth between supporting and opposing bilingualism. Bilingual education in today’s United States remains inadequate as most students might have the chance to learn a second language for only one or two years in high school, depending on if the school provides such programs. However, many states have taken interest to improve bilingual education and overcome the financial issues. Two-way bilingual immersion(TWBI), a program teaching students a native language and a foreign, provides the best option. The program’s unique integrating of curriculums allows students to surpass their English-only peers, expanding and utilizing their brains more efficiently while experiencing the world they live in more fully. Despite financial obstacles and a traditional educational mindset, all American schools from Kindergarten through Eight grade should integrate a two-way bilingual immersion program.
The dispute of bilingual education dates back to the ninetieth century where Americans tolerated bilingualism, even incorporating different languages into schools. However, the rise of immigration in the late ninetieth century and when World War I broke out in the early twentieth century drove America’s society to extinguish bilingual education to protect themselves from foreigners, creating opposition to last five decades. Government geared support for bilingual education in the 1970s, almost ruling bilingual education as a requirement by President Carter; nevertheless, President Reagan turned the country against bilingual education by undoing President Carter’s proposal, cutting bilingual education funds, and enacting English-Only Laws in more states over the course of the 1980s (Jost 1039) . Despite the lingering criticism from the 1980s, President Clinton reenacts the bilingual education law in 1994; however, President George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind Act, which requires all students to meet standards otherwise schools will receive penalties, negates the bilingual education law (Jost 1039). Since 1998, many states have passed loopholes bypassing the teaching of another language similar to California’s Proposition 227 stating the...

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