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The Importance of Bilingual Education

The Importance of Bilingual Education

The controversial practice of bilingual education has been under fire the last few years from opposition such as “English First,” assimilation activists, and a handful of angry Latino parents. The main argument delivered by these groups is that bilingual education has failed, and the complaints are being ignored and overlooked by school officials. These bilingual, bright children are learning basic skills in their native language before adding English. But for many opponents, that transition just isn’t fast enough. It is my intent to prove that organizations such as “English First” and “U.S. English” are no more than misguided bigots who equate multiculturalism with ethnic separatism and fear that bilingual education discourages assimilation. Alleys of bilingual education say that the opposing suppositions have been proven to be faulty assumptions and hearsay. This hearsay is based on confusion which was inflicted upon the public in order to create opposition.

One impediment is that this type of education handicaps children’s cognitive growth due to the confusion of multiple languages. (Crawford-pg.2) This can’t be true because it has been proven time after time that “well developed” native language cognitive skills pave the path for academic growth and can be used as a very valuable asset. (Crawford-pg.4)

Another opposing figure is the handful of Latino parents who feel strongly about their children coming out of public education with equal opportunities of transferring, acceptance, and/or scholarships. (Rita Montero-PBS) This is a justifiable expectation for public schools and as Ruben Navarette, Jr states, “Defenders of bilingual education contend that parents are uninformed, misguided, and told that schools know how best to educate their children.” This claim is very serious and if it is misinterpreted or misunderstood by any parent it can influence important decision making insinuated by opposing figures in order to annihilate an expensive program.

A major argument of anti bilingual activists is that many Latino parents in LA were outraged with the program in their public schools and insisted on the removal of their children from bilingual ed. classes. (“Double Talk”-Montero) This is a difficult point to counter, yet James Lyons of the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) states it clearly:

“We have poor schools throughout this country in virtually every state of the union. Bilingual education...

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