Bilingual Education

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Bilingual education is unquestionably a controversial issue. There are several people and organizations in this country, who, for various reasons are opposed to bilingual education. In today’s society regarding education there has been a big issue about whether bilingual education should be taught in classrooms for immigrant students who do not speak English. Bilingual education began about 1967 as an effort to help immigrants, (mostly Spanish speakers) to learn English (Hoover, Bilingual Education Advocates). Bilingual Education involves teaching two languages to the students. Many persons believe that bilingual education means Spanish and English only, but bilingual could be any two languages. There is a common problem where many parents are against bilingual education because many students are forced into Spanish bilingual classes because they have Spanish surnames, even though they understand and speak English well and they do not speak or read Spanish (Hoover, Bilingual Education Advocates). I have found throughout my studies in bilingual education that a lot of students are placed in bilingual classes because the parents fill out a home language survey stating that the home language is Spanish. Little do the parents know that this is what determines what type of class their child will be in. This is causing many problems for children that are being forced into bilingual classes even when they are not immigrants.

The promoter of bilingual education was the German language, because in 1837 students were required to take German in school at least one year (Eva Giles). But one of the most common bilingual programs here in South Texas is Spanish and English. A research states that “Nearly one in every six school age children in the United States come from a home where a language other than English is regularly spoken” (Eva Giles). “By some estimates, English is spoken today by one million people and two thirds learned it as a second language” (James Crawford). Secretary of Education T.H. Bell remarked that the support of the government for bilingual education grew from $7.5 million in 1969 to $134 million in 1982 and it provides help for between 1.2 million to 3.5 million children (Hoover, The case for and against Bilingual Education).

There are many reasons why bilingual education is not effective for many people. First of all, the schools that have bilingual education do not have certified teachers. The problem that I have seen most too often is that many people are going through an alternative program to become a teacher, where they have no schooling in bilingual education and they don’t understand the concept of how it works, nor do they understand the laws. A person that has a degree in criminal justice, per se, goes through a 5 month program, takes a test, and is then considered to be a bilingual teacher. It is very common, here in south Texas where I live, that people that have gone through the ACP certification are being chosen over traditional college path teachers. Bilingual education is controversial for the simplest reason that it disrupts established patterns in school. For many schools, it can cause many headaches because they need to recruit more qualified teachers, redesign curricula, and reorganize class schedules, so many administrators want to avoid that. The monolingual teachers fear the reassignment, loss of status, or other career setbacks (Crawford). Because many schools do not have qualified teachers, the students get behind in their studies because they do not learn either English or Spanish (Hoover, Bilingual Education Advocates). Moreover, many parents complain that their children on a regular school day are exposed mostly to Spanish and only few minutes to English (Hoover, Bilingual Education Advocates). This is because the immigrants are mixed with the non-immigrants and the teachers focus more on the immigrant students so they can learn English. Furthermore, the...
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