For the past thirty years in the State of California, bilingual education has been undertaken by all the public schools of the state. Under such system, children of non-American ethnic have had a special treatment in their early academic career. Children of minority groups have been thought various subjects in their native tongues. Such subjects are Math, History and some Science classes. The bilingual program presented the student a scholastic curriculum that simultaneously instructed students all the required classes while teaching them the English language. For such method, bilingual teachers were the focal point for the success of individual students of any class level.
Prior to Proposition 227, California’s programs for immigrant students included English as a Second Language, in which students were taught the English language for part of the day, and bilingual education, in which students took classes taught in their native tongues until their English improved.
The bilingual educational system was legally first introduced by Governor R. Reagan in 1967. Reagan as Governor of California signed a bill eliminating the state’s English-only instructional mandate and allowing bilingual education.
Proposition 227, that has reformed the thirty year old bill, has taken affect on June 2, 1998. The proposition introduces a new way of teaching the English language to immigrant children. Such proposition is also called “English for the Children” or simply the Unz initiative after its author and chief financial backer, Ron K. Unz, a Silicon Valley millionaire and conservative Republican who has no children or background in education and has never set foot in a bilingual education class. “The Unz initiative calls for one year of courses taught in English, with an emphasis on learning the language; a system that many fear is a return to a past when children were sometimes punished for speaking Spanish, but that others say is a return to sanity” stated Don Terry in his article Bilingual Education Facing Toughest Test. In addition, one of the more controversial points of he plan involves a waiver system whereby parents who prefer “native-language” instruction for their children can request that the children be removed from the English-immersion classes. The request will be granted if they can find parents of twenty of more chil...
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...achers thought I spoke Spanish. I found the English language somewhat easy to learn, moreover, I have to thank many of the English-speaking friends that I made back then to teach me the slang and spent time with me outside school. Mathematics and Economics were easy for me, I can say with confidence that I had one of the highest grades in comparison to my English-speaking classmates. The main problems that I had were the communication skills, both writing and speaking English proved to be the greatest challenge for me during that year. My need to communicate with others drove my incentive to master the language, within the first two years; many of my friends were surprised how well my English was. Despite the foreign accent, they had all agreed that my English was very efficient.
As an overall, I appreciate the year spent in High School learning the language, I believe that all new immigrant student should attend such classes. They have made a very positive impact in my life. In conclusion, I believe that all races should master the English language as quick as possible, for it is the essence of social integration that can lead to one success or failure of the “American Dream”.
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