Bilingual A portion of this class is
Bilingual Education is the teaching of two languages. This would also be the ability to speak two languages. During the 1920’s testing among various groups of people began. These tests were conducted in poor testing conditions, overcrowded rooms, poor lighting, and large rooms with poor audibility. Many immigrants were categorized as “simpletons” for receiving zeros on the test because they were unable to speak English, could not read, and were unfamiliar with the American culture. The low-test scores confirmed white Anglo Saxon Protestant beliefs that immigrants were inferior.
This gave the congressmen more reason to discriminate against the immigrants. In the 1950’s, federal and state laws ruled that discriminatory testing was unconstitutional (What To Do About Immigration? p 327). Bilingual education did not originally grow from the pressures of immigration. It was started as a small, federally funded program to help Mexican-American children (largely native-born) in the Southwest. The purpose was to try to make Mexican-American children fully literate in English.
Today, our expectations of bilinguals are very high. We expect them to learn our language fast and accurately. However, we do not teach them well.
Instead of running away from this problem by abolishing bilingual education, we should find a way to improve this practice in order to make it a part of our culture. People with a native language other than English have two goals in school: learning English and mastering content. A very big problem is that bilingual education is taught in many different ways in classrooms. Often, students with limited English skills would be taught for no more than a year in special English classes before being moved to mainstream.
Some students are pulled out of English as a second language. Others are placed in transitional bilingual education, which is intensive English-instruction. A portion of this class is taught in the native language. Maintenance or developmental, bilingual education builds the native language while improving English as a second language (http://www.edweek.
org/context/topics/biling.htm).One solution to this problem is finding a one way to teach that will cover all aspects of the English language. After English is effectively taught, the students should be mainstreamed. Some say the curriculum is not the problem, but the poor teaching instead. The teache’s want students to be proficient in a second language in one or two years. These days, there is also a shortage of well-qualified bilingual teachers.
We can improve this by hiring teachers who are qualified and fully bilingual (http://www.edweek.org/context/topics/biling.
htm). If we take a closer look at the educational system, we would notice that bilingual education is not the only guilty party in this stuation. There are many services available in different native languages; there is not much of an emphasis to learn English. There are newspapers, advertising, and even signs that will help immigrants of all cultures.
Some people believe that in order to ensure that English is learned the government should make English its official language. I believe that people with another native language other than English should learn our language. This is not to say that they can not use their other language, but English should be used in offices and other work places.
Today, the amount of bilingual immigrants entering our country is growing year by year. If solutions aren’t found to the bilingual education problem, I fear what the future may hold for those looking to find new opportunities on American soil. In America, everyone has the right to dream.