October 22, 2013
The United States is a diverse country of many different races and languages. Even though many languages are spoken in the United States, English is the preferred language in the United States. Speaking English in America is the key to success. Without English, acquiring employment is almost impossible. More and more immigrants are attracted to the U.S every year, and the populations of immigrants, which do not know the American culture, continue to rise. This population must be assimilated into the United States in order for the population to find employment and function in the United States. Assimilation is the process by which an outsider becomes part of a new community by adopting its language and customs. Public schools are a vital place where the country’s customs, language, and culture, in general, can be taught. According to Ginsburg, ever since the 1960’s young immigrants and U.S born children, of immigrant parents, were sent to public schools with little to no understanding of the English language. These students were forced to “sink or swim.” The public school offered no help to LEP students. LEP (limited English proficiency) is term used to describe students whose level English language is low. As a result, many of these students began to drop out, but finally in 1968, the federal government passed the Bilingual Act which paid special attention to students whose native language was not English. This provided special funding to create and maintain bilingual education programs. The goal bilingual education is to teach English more efficiently to students, with low English proficiency, protect students’ self-esteem, increase their academic performance, and lowering dropout rates. In bilingual education, LEP students are taught subjects such as math, history, and science in their native tongue, while the LEP students take classes to learn English, and once a student shows increasing proficiency in English they are put into main-stream “English-only” (“Bilingual Education”). There have been many controversies whether or not the bilingual education programs are achieving their goal. Bilingual education programs should not be allowed as a way to teach English to students with low English proficiency because the programs segregate students based on their native language, are too costly, and are poorly maintained. Bilingual Education programs segregate students based on their native language. These students are isolated away from other cultures and different perspectives for many years. This assimilates students slowly into mainstream English classes. While bilingual classes segregate students by their primary language, English immersion brings them all together to learn a common language, with the common goal of quickly entering mainstream classes. Speaking English is vital for communication and success in the U.S. The sooner a student understands and communicates in English the sooner they will transition into mainstream English, and the more successful the student will become, which will increase their self-esteem According to Ginsburg many students stay up to six years in these programs and still are low in English proficiency once they complete the program (Ginsburg). Bilingual education programs are too costly to maintain. Students are taking too long to learn English in bilingual education programs. According to “Bilingual Education,” A scientist named Christine Roswell found that there is little evidence that bilingual education is working, and he determined, from 78% of his studies, that student in bilingual education programs only do as well, or even worse, than LEP students in English immersion type programs or no programs at all. Also Roswell determined that English Immersion programs are a more affordable way to teach English. Some teachers are delaying the student’s education in order to receive more money. Most...
Cited: "Bilingual Education." Issues & Controversies On File: n. pag. Issues & Controversies. Facts On File News Services, 15 Feb. 2005. Web. 16 Oct. 2013. .
Clouthier, Kris. "Point: English Immersion: Creating Equal Opportunity For Immigrant Students." Points Of View: Bilingual Education (2013): 5. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.
Ginsburg, Jill. "Bilingual Education: An Overview." Points Of View: Bilingual Education (2013): 1. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.
Stokely, Anne. "Counterpoint: The Benefits Of Bilingual Education." Points Of View: Bilingual Education (2013): 6. Points of View Reference Center. Web. 16 Oct. 2013.
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