Bilingual Education Bilingual Education: Bilingual Education Essay, Research Paper Bilingual Education: Not The Wisest Choice Bilingual Education has been a much-debated topic for the past few years. Some believe that bilingual education is used as a helpful tactic to learn how to grasp the English language faster. Others believe that bilingual education does not help people learn English faster, but prohibits them from moving forward by keeping them at a lower level when it comes to education. Advocates for bilingual education argue that not only does bilingual education help introduce English to students, but at the same time it should be a tool used in order to preserve culture and promote assimilation to the country. I do not believe that bilingual education is the most effective way to achieve the goals of assimilation and success in America.
I believe that it is important to know a variety of languages for people s own personal cultural preservation. Among other things, being bilingual can be beneficial for the future, since people would be able to communicate with a variety of cultures. I merely do not believe that bilingual education is the right way to strive for these objectives. Bilingual Education costs too much money and time. There is no possible way to reach out to every single culture in America to offer them bilingual education. How will schools decide who gets bilingual education and who doesn t? There will obviously be groups that will be left out of because of reasons like there not being enough people that speak that particular language.
How will we provide education for them? Or will they be left out in the dust? This brings up an issue of segregation. Over the past century, America has struggled to eliminate the need for segregated schools. The only way to accommodate the many cultures that exist in American schools would be to separate them, or categorize them. This presents more problems than solutions. For many years, children were forced to attend schools according to their race. Because of this, the treatment and the accommodations of the schools have been biased.
One school of a particular race would receive better school supplies and facilities while others may receive little to nothing. It would be almost impossible to equally educate the different cultures if they became, in some form, segregated. Not only would these cultures become isolated, they will also be reduced to numbers and dehumanized. The last thing we want for our children is to have them go to a segregated school because of their culture and the language they were brought up to speak. School is not only a place for education, but it is also a melting pot of many cultures and histories. Isolation breeds ignorance.
Bilingual education has not produced the desired results in the classroom. The accumulated research of the past thirty years reveals almost no justification for teaching children in their native language to help them, learn either English or other subjects. Non English speaking students that were placed in bilingual education did just as well as non English speaking students that were completely immersed in an all English only classroom. Other studies show that self-esteem is not higher among limited English students who were taught in their native languages, and stress is not higher among children who are introduced to English from the first day of school. Advocates often use the levels of stress and self esteem as factors to keep bilingual education. Studies have shown that these factors are not relevant because they seem to measure the same (Kr ashen, 1997).
Parents of limited speaking English children have a strong opinion when it comes to bilingual education. In 1998, the Educational Testing Service conducted a national Parent Preference Study among 2, 900 Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Ricans and Asian parents with children in learning English and other subjects, they differed on whether their children should be taught in their native languages. Asian parents were the most heavily opposed to the use if native languages in the school. Among Latino groups, the Puerto Rican parents were most in favor, the Mexicans somewhat less, and the Cubans least of all. A large majority of the parents felt that it is the family s duty, not the schools, to teach children about the history and traditions of their ancestors. When Mexican parents were asked if they wanted the school to teach reading and writing in Spanish and English, seventy percent answered yes.
But when they were asked if they wanted Spanish taught in school if it meant less time for teaching English only, twelve percent were in favor (Freaking 1997). Newspapers have reported parents who are concerned that their children are not learning enough English in bilingual programs. Parents don t want their children to face the same problems they have faced in the past with language barriers (Galindo, 1997). A strong majority of parents favored learning English as the first order of business for their children, considering it more important than learning other subjects and much more important than reading and writing in English. Parents are in favor of immersing their children in English oftentimes because they fear that their children will face bleak economic futures if they are not fluent in English (Porter, 1997). It should be left up to the parents to decide how their children keep up their native languages.
Native languages should be left to churches, Saturday schools, and the extended family. Bilingual education defeats the efforts to assimilate children into U. S. society and is against the wish of most parents.
The roles of the public school teacher are to instruct students in English and the American Culture and political values. English places a crucial role in cultural assimilation a proposition evident also to minority people. One of the top reasons immigrants come to America is to gain economic stability. Immigrants line up to learn English because they believe that learning English will improve their prospects-and it does significantly. Knowledge of English is an acquired skill. When adult immigrants learn English it is very rare that they are put in a bilingual education surrounding.
They are usually immersed in an all English-speaking classroom. English is the language of science, technology, diplomacy, international trade, and commerce. Half of Europe s business is carried out in English, and more than sixty six percent of the world s scientist read English. Eighty percent of the world s electronically stored information is in English. The world s forty million Internet users mostly communicate in English.
Experts conclude that one third of mankind speaks or understands some English. Americans have not agreed to use English simply because they need a common language. The processes of language are political and sociological, reflecting the dominance first of British settlers, then of an Anglo-American system of government, and finally of an Anglo-Saxton ideal. The unofficial language of America is English from the start of our government with official documents and laws written and implemented in English (Conk in & Laurie 1998). Though it is not claimed in writing it is not far from the truth when one says that English is universal. In a comprehensive study on bilingualism (Fas old, 1984) it was concluded that multilingual states have problems that more nearly monolingual ones do not.
Multilingualism can be socially disruptive and can work against nationalism. Monolingual nations seem to be at an economic advantage over multilingual nations. Multilingual nations are very low on the scale of economic well being (pg 52). Seeing that monolingual nations have better economic well being we should begin to strive for that goal. Bilingual education will not assist with learning the universal English language as effectively. According to the Department of Education, students attempting to learn English in public schools currently speak over 150 languages.
It is not economically feasible to reach out to all these languages in order to offer them bilingual education. Bilingual Education in California is a vast industry. About 1. 3 million children attend bilingual classes at a cast of more than $5 billion a year. In the United States 2.
6 million students are enrolled in bilingual classes. There is therefore, a financial incentive to keeping the system. Schools that provide bilingual education are able to get numerous federal and state grants. Yet bilingual education is an unsuccessful program. Only about five percent of children of bilingual classes ever make it into English-speaking classes a year. And large number of children, mostly Spanish speakers, leaves school unable to read or write English.
Another problem that persists is the difficulty of finding appropriate and competent teachers to teach in bilingual education. Large numbers of children each year are forced into bilingual classes even if their parents don t want it. Bilingual teachers are in short supply. Therefore some teachers are hired who have no teacher training but speak Spanish or some language other than English. This results in poor teaching and little or no English-language teaching. Many feel that America is trying too hard to reach out to each and every culture.
Though commendable, America is also producing more problems in the process. Yes, there exists many cultures, but we cannot accommodate every single culture. In many cases, nothing comes free without struggle. I believe that if we continue to implement bilingual education in our school systems, we will not see much progress in the achievement levels.
There will be lack of proficient teachers in the district, and students will be held back in bilingual classes in order for schools to receive more funding for their districts. It has been proven that many parents are against bilingual education for the sake of their children learning the English language in order to succeed in America. English is a language that should be learned as quickly as possible and bilingual education is not the way. In conclusion, as Galindo states in her article the opinions of bilingual education will always be debated due to ideologies. Ideologies are systems of ideas that function to create views of reality that appear as the most rational view; a view that is based on common sense notions of how the social world ought to be.
(Galindo, pg 330. Ideologies are formed through personal experiences, values, beliefs and attitudes. Each person will have a different perspective on how effective bilingual education is. From my experiences my outlook of bilingual education is slim. I do not believe it is an achievable solution for America s educational system.