The Necessity Of Bilingual Education In Our Society

1744 words - 7 pages

The Necessity Of Bilingual Education In Our Society

Bilingual Education has been a controversial subject within the educational system since its inception in 1974. It is of great importance to define the term "Bilingual" which is " The ability to speak and understand two languages". Included in this definition is the implied ability to transfer knowledge , skills and concepts from the first language to the second language148. It is important because it is upon the ability of the student to transfer knowledge to the second language that is the key to the success of Bilingual Education.

The implementation of bilingual education surfaced as a consequence of the Lau vs. Nichols decision, which stated that schools must provided some kind of special help to those children who do not speak English . The Lau decision held that those students that do not speak English were denied equal treatment under the Civil Right Act of 1964, if they were to be taught in the same manner as the English speaking children.

In 1976, following the Lau decision, California adopted the Chacon-Moscone Bilingual Bicultural Education Act A.B.507 which established specific bilingual program requirements for identification, instruction, staffing assignments, classroom composition, reclassification and parent involvement. In 1980 this act was amended , adding to the above that its primary goal was to move pupils into English as the language of instruction as " effective and efficiently as possible." This amendment changed the above original Act to a more complex set of requirements that included Language Arts and Math in the students native language , English Language Development (ESL), Social Science, Music, Art and P.E . This curriculum utilizes Special Designed Academic Instruction in English (theS.A.D.I.E. method ) when the student reached the intermediate level in English.

In 1986 a request for a six year extension of the law was vetoed by the Governor, who found it lacked " methodological and implementation flexibility." Efforts to implement the act failed again in 1987 . Until the passing of Proposition 227 the education of thousands of students that fall into the category of being Limited English , Non English or Transitional students follow the above mentioned guidelines.

With the passing of Proposition 227, English Language Education for Children in Public School, passed and thus the dismantling of Bilingual Education in California took effect as of August 1170 of this year. Those who voted in favor (61%) agree with the notion that American immigrants need to inmerse themselves in the language and culture to be productive and obtain the"American Dream" which is the aim of most of them. Those that opposed Proposition 227 tend to agree with authors of multiple studies (Krashen, Cunning among them) whom argued that bilingual education is the most successful way to acquire the language and integrate in the new culture.

Those who are not in favor of...

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