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    Bi-Lingual Education Essay (1647 words)

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    Bilingual EducationEducation is very important. There use to be a time when you didn’t have to go to school.

    When it was only important for men to have an education. Times have really changed. Now it is crucial for everyone in our society to have an education. Survival is the main reason: a cohesive society is another. Our schools today need to keep Bilingual education as a tool for teaching: not only for the sake of our society but also for the sense of our culture.

    Bilingual education in our schools is crucial: but still there is talk about banning the use of foreign language in the instruction of our young children. We have to work to change that kind of attitude. We have to proceed from the assumption that bilingual education is a sound educational proposition for all children and that it addresses the needs of all the constituencies of education. Now more than ever the words of Thomas Jefferson ring with special meaning: in 1977, in a letter to his nephew, Jefferson said: “Bestow great attention on Spanish and endeavor to acquire an accurate knowledge of it. Our future connections with Spain and Spanish America will render that language a valuable acquisition. The ancient history of that part of America, too, is written in that language”.

    (qt. in A Relook ’66). Hispanic leaders should plan an initiative to help Hispanic youths do better in school. It’s a coming-together as a community to deal with a very pressing issue. The organizations should be composed of public officials, students, educators, administrators, and business people and should try to determine the biggest problems facing Latino students in their community. These groups need to work together to develop a statewide agenda.

    Hispanic students, according to some studies, lag behind other students in classroom performance; have the highest dropout rate of any ethnic group in the country; and, according to federal data, are less likely to pursue higher learning(Tucson ’66). We as a society, need to have a school system that prepares our students for higher education if that is their choice. Society needs to work together to change the educational process for Latino students. Consider these numbers, which we drew from As A Relook at Tucson ’66 states” Minority groups are being shortchanged by more than 200,000 teaching jobs in the public elementary and secondary schools of the nation.

    In 1972, the enrollment of the nation’s public schools was 44. 6 million. As a relook at Tucson ’66 states, the number of English speakers in the Western Hemisphere is only slightly larger than that of Spanish speakers. By the year 2000 the number of Spanish speakers will be far greater than the number of english speakers.

    Statistics indicate that the United States is now one of the major Spanish-American countries. One statistical example: If the figures on illegal Mexican aliens are correct, that means that every year the United States adds another city the size of Albuquerque and Tucson combined. Or, put it another way, it adds another state larger in population than Wyoming and Alaska combined”(a relook at Tucson 14). The policy of most governments toward bilingualism in the home is and long has been one of neglect.

    A few countries actively encourage it, especially if the second (non-community) language is the more important language in the country or in the world, or if the minority (community) language is the language of a group given special consideration under the law. Many countries, which have recently been colonies, for example, encourage their young people to learn the language of their former Mother Country, because bilingualism of this type is important in international trade and politics. However, we could find castles full of research and still very little is being done in public schools to improve and enforce bilingual education. We have to use the research being conducted about bilingual education and improve bilingual education.

    Some public schools want to stop bilingual education, saying that it’s detrimental to students but they don’t put any consideration in improving it, or educating themselves on the needs of not just Latino but all children. All bilingual children deserve further discussion on the issues of culture, immigration, ethnicity and adjustment. Truly bilingual workers, proficient in English and a second language, will be more valuable and marketable as global trade continues to grow. With these facts in mind, some states are launching a visionary effort to develop a dual-language work force.

    The idea is to convince local school districts to offer a second language beginning at the prekindergarten level and encourage employers to help adults learn another language. Spanish is an obvious second-language choice for many because of the rapid growth of Hispanics in our country. The relationship with Mexico and Latin America will grow stronger if businesses take advantage of their position and opportunity. More than 22,500,000 of our countries population already speaks Spanish http://www.

    docuweb. ca/SiSpain/english/language/worldwid. html). However, officials cite a growing demand for more Spanish-speaking professionals. The future work force would be better positioned to build international connections if most professionals had a second language. Students would gain a better understanding of the world by learning another language.

    Pursuing a dual-language work force is a sound idea that will boost the countries’ economy and personally benefit its individuals. We as a society should encourage local school districts, businesses and civic-minded groups to embrace the effort. We must try to build a society were human diversity is promoted and not destroyed. The key to program improvement is not in finding a program that works for all children and all localities, or finding a program component (such as native language instruction) that works as some sort of magic bullet, but rather finding a set of program components that works for the children in the community of interest, given the goals, and resources of that community. The best bilingual education programs include all of these characteristics: ESL instruction, sheltered subject matter teaching, and instruction in the first language.

    Non-English-speaking children initially receive core instruction in the primary language along with ESL instruction. As children grow more proficient in English, they learn subjects using more contextualized language (math and science) in sheltered classes taught in English, and eventually in mainstream classes. In this way, the sheltered classes function as a bridge between instruction in the first language and in the mainstream. In advanced levels, the only subjects done in the first language are those demanding the most abstract use of language (social studies and language arts). Once full mainstreaming is complete, advanced first language development is available as an option. Gradual exit plans, such as these, avoid problems associated with exiting children too early (before the English they encounter is comprehensible) and provide instruction in the first language where it is most needed.

    These plans also allow children to have the advantages of advanced first language development. A common argument against bilingual education is the observation that many people have succeeded without it. This has certainly happened. In these cases, however, the successful person got plenty of comprehensible input in the second language, and in many cases had a de facto bilingual education program. For example, Rodriguez (1982) and de la Pe?a (1991) are often cited as counter-evidence to bilingual education.

    Rodriguez (1982) tells us that he succeeded in school without a special program and acquired a very high level of English literacy. He had two crucial advantages, however, that most limited- English-proficient (LEP) children do not have. First, he grew up in an English-speaking neighborhood in Sacramento, California, and thus got a great deal of informal comprehensible input from classmates. Many LEP children today encounter English only at school; they live in neighborhoods where Spanish prevails. In addition, Rodriguez became a voracious reader, which helped him acquire academic language. Most LEP children have little access to books.

    Random assignment to treatment and control groups, as in medical experiments, is the highest quality research design because it increases the confidence in the conclusion that any differences between the groups after a period of treatment can be attributed to that treatment. The results from the five studies in which subjects were randomly assigned to bilingual and control programs favor bilingual education even more strongly. The estimated benefit of bilingual programs on all test scores in English according to these studies with random assignment is . 26 of a standard deviation.

    The positive effect on reading scores is . 41 of a standard deviation among the studies with random assignment. And the improvement in scores measured in Spanish is . 92 of a standard deviation in the studies with random assignment to treatment and control groups. All of these estimated benefits of bilingual education from studies with random assignment are extremely unlikely to have been produced by chance. The fact that the studies of bilingual programs with random assignment, the highest quality research design, have even stronger results greatly increases the confidence in the conclusion that bilingual education positively affects educational attainment.

    In sum, the NRC report finds that on average, bilingual education programs are more effective than English-only programs. However, there are many other important factors that influence student outcomes. There is much more work left to do by the schools if we are to enable LEP students to achieve at high academic levels. Improvement would have to focus on teachers, teaching, academic content and standards, accountability, school-wide leadership, program integration, parent involvement-and effective use of the native language to assure high level and meaningful learning for all students from the time they enter school.

    Proposition 227 removes an important tool — use of the native language — from the hands of educators it would only serve to make even more difficult the challenges of school improvement. A society with no education cannot compete in the modern world. We as a society need to fight to keep Bilingual education as a teaching tool in the schooling system.Social Issues

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