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Bilingual Education

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Autor:   •  December 27, 2010  •  2,176 Words (9 Pages)  •  710 Views

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Bilingual Education

Bilingual Education: A Necessity in Today's World? Education is a privilege offered in the United States that the children of America take advantage of everyday, but unfortunately not all the children can enjoy this opportunity because they do not speak the common language. Bilingual education is another avenue that needs to be explored by more school districts across the nation because children should learn that there are other forms of communication. High schools require their students to take a foreign language before graduating, so why is this form of bilingual education accepted; yet an elementary bilingual program is under constant criticism? Bilingual people are rewarded in today's society by the higher wages and better positions. The ridicule of the bilingual education programs that provide students with this wonderful advantage is unfounded ad usually due to misunderstandings. In today's society, being monolingual is not longer a desirable trait; and schools must continue to support children with this special gift of bilingual education. Why take away a language that child will benefit from in the future? This a country of immigrants with different ethnic backgrounds and languages; and if the retention of ethnicity is supported, it will excel above the rest of the world. Bilingual education has an impressive history, and the arguments against it are usually unfounded. History has served as a guideline foe the actions of today's government, businessmen, and all-important issues. The history of the bilingual education is not a well-known topic, and yet it is significant in the argument for bilingual education. For many Americans, the idea of teaching children in other languages is affront to traditions (Crawford), but why not consider the traditions of the settlers, for it had been proven that in the Thirteen Colonies settlers developed bilingual schools to help the assimilation of the immigrant settlers and Native Americans. "The early period of bilingual education is the United States (1840-1920) produced no widely accepted curricular model. Successful programs resulted when the program director was a strong perceptive leader with authority to select good teachers and to supervise them closely"(Andersson 46). In 1664, at least eighteen languages were spoken on Manhattan Island (Crawford), and the immigrants who came to America wanted to keep their heritage and be able to enjoy their own religion, culture, and language. They were looking for a place where their ethnic identity would not be endangered. The "mother tongue" was very important to the settlers of the new land, and they were willing to learn rather than replace. With this in mind, John Adams proposed to establish and American Language Academy in 1780 simply for refining, correcting, improving, and ascertaining the English tongue but was ignored by the Continental Congress. The framers of the US Constitution believed, that in a democracy, language choices should be left up to people. Schools were established with vernacular education as the rule, and the language used was not an issue (Crawford). Bilingualism was common among all classes of society in the middle colonies of New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Newspaper advertisements made form frequent references to the bilingual and trilingual proficiencies of the black and white runaway servants (Crawford). Important government documents were printed in other languages in the 1700's, yet today it is said that print in other languages is too time consuming and cost ineffective. Does that mean that even with today's technology, people are afraid of a little extra work and that money is more important than effective communication? The bilingual education program benefits families who have a limited English vocabulary. " The knowledge children get through their first language helps make the English they hear and read more comprehensible. Literacy developed in the primary language transfers to the second language, and the reason literacy transfers is simple. It transfers because they learn to read by making sense of what is on the page, and it is easier to learn to read in a language they will understand. If a person can read in one language, they can read in general"(Krashen vii). In turn, the children will be able to teach their parents to read, and the entire bilingual family benefits as a whole when these programs are made available to them, yet parents are still often wrongfully reprimanded and criticized for their child's bilinugalism. " A minority group exists and identifies with Americanism, but also retains a large portion of its ethnic heritage for use within the in-group. The group is bilingual and bicultural and has accepted the realities of living in both the majority and minority "(Kitano 33). The dominant language is introduced into the immigrant home ad even the parents must learn to adapt by speaking any kind of broken English to effectively communicate with their neighbors. In a country where most of the population is of diffe4rent ethnic background and education system that provides a variety of languages is needed to give the children the beat education. A person who is affluent in two languages is most likely to discover more employment opportunities. Children should have the best options available to them, and there should not be an exception because a child does not speak English. "Non-English-speaking children are not the only ones who stand to profit from such a reform in our educational system. English-speaking children who are fortunate to live in a community in which another language is spoken have and unusual opportunity to learn that language" (Andersson 7). Education has always been a priority to immigrants who want to be successful because "immigrant groups have always believed education to be the major route to success..."(Kitano 201). Bilingual education can benefit both monolingual and bilingual education does not only serve the bilingual children, it can also serve the monolingual children so that they may become proficient in two languages. The government's legislation and recognition of the importance of bilingual education provides a clear definition of what the purpose of the bilingual program is suppose to accomplish. Public Law 90-247, Jan. 2, 1968 TITLE VII - BILINGUAL EDUCATION PROGRAMS SHORT TITLE "Sec. 701. This title may be cited as the Bilingual Education Act." Declaration of Policy Sec. 702 In recognition if the special educational needs of the large numbers of children of limited English-speaking ability in the United States, Congress hereby declares it to be the policy of the United States to provide financial assistance to local educational agencies to develop and carry out new and imaginative elementary and secondary


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