Bilingual Education: Is it helping or hurting?
Bilingual education seems to be a rising topic that is currently up for debate. With the growing number of immigrants entering this country, the language barrier between individuals seems to be far greater when it comes to children in the classroom. On average it is said that here alone in Tempe, schools have about 45 different languages to one classroom. Bilingual education is a privilege, not something that is to be taken for granted. Bilingual education needs to be removed so that the official language of English can once again be the dominant and official language of the United Sates.
The cost of bilingual education alone is something that should concern our nation greatly. It has been said that bilingual education costs far more than English language instruction. Bilingual education requires additional staff training, instructional materials and administration; therefore these programs cost more than the regular English programs. ESL (English as a second language) is one of the more expensive programs yet one of the more favored among the American school systems with bilingual education programs. The incremental cost of bilingual education is not too drastic, it ranges from say $175-$214, whereas the cost of ESL is about $1198. This ESL program is when the children are pulled out of the classroom to learn English rather than learning it in the classroom( #1).
There are a number of programs that are not in favor of bilingual education and are doing their best to lobby against it. English First, is an organization against bilingual education and was first founded in 1986. They have three simple goals, which include making English America s official language, giving every child a chance to learn English and eliminating the cost of all ineffective multilingual policies. Currently, there are 140,000 Americans that have joined English First. Many have said that they are tired of the government using the American s tax money to divide Americans based on a language barrier (#11).
READ, is another organization against bilingual education. READ is a national organization that supports research on English learning and effective schooling for language minority children (#12). This institute was founded in 1989 and is a project of the Equal Opportunity Foundation. The goals of READ is to promote public discussions and informed decisions by making institutes possible for scholars, educators, policy makers and citizens about the education of minority students (#12).
NABE is yet another organization not in favor of bilingual education. NABE was founded in 1975 and is a National Association for Bilingual Education. NABE is a tax-exempt non-profit national membership organization. Members of NABE include educators, teachers, parents, community members and leaders of the community, government and business organizations. NABE has made success a reality for countless language minority students and their families (#14). The goals of NABE are to pursue the implementation of educational policies and practices which will ensure the equality of educational opportunity for diverse children (#14).
Bilingual education is a term which can mean different things for different people (#4). Those advocates in favor of bilingual education favor the many different elements in which bilingual education an be used in the classroom. Submersion is a great method for theLEP (limited English proficient) student. This is when you place a minority child on a classroom in which only English is spoken. This method is often referred to as the sink or swim approach. ESL (English as a second language) is another popular form of bilingual eduction. The minority child is placed in a normal English classroom for most the day but receives extra help and instruction in English too. The ESL teacher is not required to speak the native language of the child.