Bilingual Education

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Bilingual Education = Unilingual Education Bilingual education in America is a sound idea, but it is not truly bilingual education, it is only bilingual for those who do not already speak English. America is a country with more and more cultures mixing together with different areas of America speaking different languages. In California, Spanish is the dominant language next to English, and in states such as Maine, French is spoken. Other cultures should not be assimilated into mainstream America completely, but America shouldn’t have to bend over backwards to make life easier for foreigners. In order to become more culturally tolerant, everyone should learn a second language, not just immigrants. Americans should make bilingual education truly bilingual. The first reason is to eliminate the effect bilingual education has on poor, non-English speaking children. In Richard Bernstein’s, “A War of Words” he says, “Advocates of bilingual education believe that it represents the best chance for non-English speaking children -- who, not so coincidentally, often come from lower-income groups – to enjoy the richness and opportunities of American life”, but he also writes, “…Bilingual education is a failure, a tactic that in the end will harm the chances of the generally poor, non-English speaking children ever having a equal share in the promise of American life.” By simply having everyone learn a second language eliminates the lines of income, and ethnic background. Truly bilingual education would also eliminate the psychological effects it has on non-English speaking children. When they are in a classroom filled with people who do not speak the same language they do, they are forced to feel alone because they can not perform at the same level as their peers, they feel there is something wrong with them, lower than everyone else. “’Empowering Minority Students’ does not argue that a child’s inability to speak English is what leads him to fail if he is put into an English classroom. Children fail…because they are made to feel ‘shame’ for belonging to a minority group, for not being a part of the dominant group. The only way to ‘empower’ such children…is for the teachers to ‘consciously challenge the power structure both in their classrooms and schools and in the society at large’ Bilingual education…is an ‘empowerment pedagogy.’ It is an act of rebellion again... ... middle of paper ... ... who understands them. Which would suggest that these two ideas should go hand in hand. In order for a truly bilingual education system to work is to make sure that all teachers are fluent in both English and the language they will be teaching. Which means that there will be a demand for teachers that can speak either German, Italian, Russian, Chinese, Japanese, French, Spanish. Then there will be the demand to those who can speak the local languages. For example, Lakota is widely used on most Sioux reservations in the US, so many parents may want their children to learn Lakota instead of Chinese. More money will be needed to fund all of these language programs, since there will end up being course listings as: Third Grade English, Third Grade Spanish, Third Grade Italian etc… There will also be uneven classroom sizes because many parents in California will want their children to learn Spanish resulting in a large Spanish class and a small Russian class, if any at all. The idea of a truly bilingual education system is still a lot more productive and beneficiary than the current bilingual system, but the truly bilingual system is, truthfully, utopian in nature. Word Count: 1184

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