The Effects Of Transitional Bilingual Education On Elementary Level Minority Students

1654 words - 7 pages

The Effects of Transitional Bilingual Education On Elementary Level Minority Students

Bilingual Education has been an increasingly controversial subject throughout education systems in America. The growing numbers of bilingual students in the country have provided much debate regarding the most effective way of instructing these students in traditional American schools. Perhaps one of the newest and fastest growing methods throughout the country has become "transitional bilingual education," a program which integrates the English language into these classroom by adding more English instruction throughout the course of the lesson. It has proved to be both beneficial to the students engaged into these programs as well as the teachers who administer it.

Since, the issue of Bilingual education became relevant in the United States, people have argued over the need and effectiveness of such programs in American school systems.
In 1939, Ohio became the first state to adopt a bilingual education law, authorizing German-English instruction at parents’ request. By the end of the nineteenth century, about a dozen states had passed similar laws. By the turn of the century, it was estimated that at least 600,000 primary school students were receiving part, or all, of their education in the German language, that equaled approximately four percent of American children in the elementary level. These numbers add up to be more students than those students enrolled in Spanish-English programs today. It seemed, at that time, that bilingual education was becoming more prominent and successful in the United States. However, once the country entered the first world war, these educational programs seemed to collapse dramatically. Fears about the loyalty of non-English speakers, especially German-Americans, caused the majority of states to pass English-only instruction laws.
These laws were designed to "Americanize" these groups and some states even went so far as to ban the instruction of foreign languages in the early grades. This was declared unconstitutional by congress in 1923. By that point, it was clear that bilingual education had failed considerably, Limited-English Proficient (LEP) students began to fall behind in their studies and drop out rates rose as high as fifty percent.

Perhaps the first stepping stone for minority speakers was the case of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. Although this case focused primarily on the rights of African-Americans and their equal education rights, it declared that separate but equal was indeed unconstitutional and that students receiving low levels of education were to be helped. Following the Brown decision, Title VI of the 14th amendment declared that discrimination based on "race, color, or national origin" was to be prohibited and re-established basic rights as defined by the constitution. This led to the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 which generally established equal educational...

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