Even though the Unite States is a country of immigrants, bilingual education has been a controversial topic. According to Ofelia Garcia, “bilingualism has existed only at the individual level, and it has never been promoted as a benefit for our society (2009). I feel that bilingual education has been seen as a weakness and not as strength in our country. It is viewed as a weakness because like Jorge Amselle said, “Nearly 30 percent of Hispanic students drop out before finishing high school, a rate four times that of whites and three times that of blacks” (1996).
I feel that the public do not know the benefits of knowing more than one language. Many law makers are only interested in transitioning students from bilingual classes into English only classes in three years. For example, the state of California passed the Proposition 227, where children are expected to learn the English language as fast as possible (Cerda & Hernandez 2006).
The policy I propose for bilingual education is to value and promote the benefits of bilingualism in our country. I feel that being bilingual should be valued and be seeing as a deficiency. I believe that the United States should adopt research based bilingual programs and implement them in schools where they have students that speak a different language at home. In addition, schools should also have highly qualified teachers that speak the languages they teach.
I am not against having an official language, but I do think that children who come from homes where their parents speak a different language, should be able to use maintain their L1 and be able to succeed the country’s dominant language.
Additionally, I would like my new policy to promote bilingualism among monolingual families. Therefore, people would learn about the benefits of knowing more than one language. With my new policy, schools would make it a requirement that children learn a second language starting in elementary school. Also, with my bilingual policy, schools would adopt a program that would benefit their students’ population. Schools could implement a dual language program or an ESL program that would allow children to maintain their mother’s tongue as they master the official or dominant language; as well as monolingual students would also master a second language.
Amselle, J. (1996). The Failure of Bilingual Education. Daily Policy Digest.
Garcia, O. (2009). Bilingual Education in the 21st Century: A Global Perspective. Massachussetts: Wiley-Blackwell.
Hernandez, N. C. (2006). Bilingual Education. pp. 1-3.