Bilingual education has been a politicized topic of debate for years. There are many whom support bilingual education being incorporated into students’ curriculums while others are adamant that it should not be a part of the classroom. Those that are opponents of bilingual education seem to fear the idea of students being exposed to a second language or becoming proficient in two languages. Bilingual education has many dimensions and definitions, which can cause some confusion, but the benefits of its inclusion into student’s curriculum are irrefutable.
What Is Bilingual Education and How Did It Come About?
An encompassing definition of the term bilingual education is,
The use of two languages, one of which is English, as mediums of instruction for the same pupil population in a well-organized program, which encompasses all, or part of the curriculum and includes the study of the history and culture associated with the mother tongue. A complete program develops and maintains the children’s self-esteem and a legitimate pride in both cultures. (Blanco 1977, p.123).
Bilingual Education began in the United States in the mid- 60’s. The time that the bilingual movement started coincided with the height of the civil-rights movement for African Americans. During this time there was a great outcry from Latino activist that protested against discrimination that led to a high drop out rate for Spanish speaking students. In 1968 congress approved a bill to aide in equal education opportunities, this was the Bilingual Education Act. Its intentions were merely to help Limited English Proficient (LEP) students become literate in English, today goals of Bilingual education have advanced (Porter 2003). On...
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