The Roots of Bilingual Education Essay

The Roots of Bilingual Education Essay

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The Roots of Bilingual Education

A historical perspective on bilingual education is written in the article "Bilingual Education Traces its U.S. Roots to the Colonial Era" in the magazine Education Week. The author begins by writing, "Bilingual education has been part of the immigrant experience in America since the Colonial periods, when native-language schooling was the rule rather than the exception" (21). When immigrant groups settled in the United States they taught their children in their own languages, despite some attempts to impose English instruction. Many do not believe it but bilingual education was started before 1800 when German, French, Scandanavian, Polish, Dutch and Italian schools were established. From 1839 to 1880 French was the medium of instruction in Louisiana and from 1848 Spanish was the medium of instruction in New Mexico. In 1880-1917 German-English schools were established in Cincinnati, Baltimore and Indianapolis. The article mentions, "A resurgence of nativism in the late 19th century- a backlash against the foreign born, led by such organizations as the Know-Nothing Party- marked the beginning of a decline for bilingual education" (22). Bilingual education decreased significantly following World War I through the 1950’s. This decrease was due in large part to the intense nationalistic mood of the country during this period. President Roosevelt told immigrants, "There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.. Any man who comes here… must adopt the institutions of the United States, and , therefore, he must adopt the language which is now the native tongue of our people, no matter what the several strains in our blood may be. It would not be merely a misfortune, but a crime to p...

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Princeton U Press, 1986), 98-134

Fernandez, Ronald, "The Disenchanted Island", (Praeger,
Westport, Connecticut London) 1996

Figueroa-Martínez, Luis. ed. Hist. 247 Reader. (January 1998).

Pagan, Armando. "Puerto Ricans in Hartford and the legacy of
the Underclass." Undergraduate Senior Thesis submitted to the
Department of History, Trinity College, May 1999

Interviews from Park Street residents (5/5/99): Francisco
Acevedo, Liz Perez-Balesky, Epifanio Garcia

Interviews with Bilingual Education faculty at Hartford Public
Highschool (5/6/99): Mrs. Aida Ramos (Vice-Principal), Ms. Clara
Velez (Bilingual Math Teacher), Mrs. Irene Killian (TESOL), Ms.
Zoraida Ortiz (Bilingual Science Teacher), and Ms. Nancy Harrison
(TESOL/Bilingual Computer Lab Teacher).

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