Linguistic Segregation

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Linguistic Segregation Draft 3
Throughout the history of the United States, the issues of racism, sexism and segregation have always been stressful because of all the immigration. When it came to the education of immigrant children who did not speak English and stood out otherwise, we often did not know what to do. We have always been striving to eliminate these prejudices, and even though we recovered from most types of segregation, we are still trying to eliminate the problem of language differences and the obstacles it places in the immigrant children’s way. Although many things have been done to ease their transition into the American culture, a question has been posed whether it is necessary to assimilate immigrant children into the mainstream American society or will this differentiation segregate these children based on their language.

As a nation of immigrants looking for a better, more stable life, Americans have always faced a question of what to do with the children that do not speak English. In 1831, Pennsylvania was the first to permit bilingual education in English and German in public schools. This was the starting point of the following reforms, helping the desegregation of public schools in America, but after American schools were open to students of all races, prejudice played a big role in the education system. Most immigrant were discriminated against because they did not speak English. For most schools, this was the biggest challenge. “It was said that [immigrant] children had a language handicap, needed to learn English and be Americanized before mixing with Anglos” (Arias 11). Immigrant schools were much poorer and less equipped and many parents whose children were going to these schools began to protest. Segregation was illegal at the time, but somehow it still applied to immigrant students. English Language Learners (ELL) were separated from the rest to teach them as well as supposedly protect them from racism and dogma.

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