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Research paper example essay prompt: Bilingual Education - 1271 words

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Bilingual Education Bilingual education programs have been implemented for decades. Non-English speaking students in bilingual education programs, however, have shown no academic or social improvement compared to similar students in English-only schools. The disadvantages of bilingual education programs outnumber the advantages. In addition, recent statistics suggest the need for reconstruction of the present bilingual education programs. Schools began teaching academics in languages other than English as early as the 1700s, but not until the 1960s did society recognize the hundreds of thousands of non-English speaking students struggling in the current system.

Before that time, immigrants were enrolled in non-English schools. The fight for a bilingual education program started during the Civil Rights Movement. Immigrants, especially Latin and Mexican Americans, observed the progress that African Americans were making and decided to fight for "equal education." More than 50 percent of Spanish speaking students were dropping out of school each year. The schools found a definite need for intervention. In 1968, President Lyndon B.

Johnson signed the Bilingual Education Act which provided federal assistance to school districts to develop bilingual education programs. Bilingual education programs were designed to teach non-English speaking students in their native language. Theoretically, with this kind of instruction, students test scores and college admittance would increase and lead to brighter career paths for students not proficient in English. Federal law was expanded in 1974 when the Equal Education Opportunity Act was signed in order to strengthen the rights of non-English speaking students. This act ruled that public schools must provide programs for students who speak little or no English. Rosalie Porter, author of "The Case Against Bilingual Education," additionally points out that this was the first time that the Federal Government "dictated" how non-English speaking students should be educated (28).

With such government support, bilingual education looked like a program that would be the solution for the education of non-English speaking students. Erie 2 The bilingual education program has a noble purpose and worthwhile objectives. The purpose of the bilingual education program is to teach non-English speaking students in their native language, therefore improving their academic achievement and giving them more educational opportunities. Noted writer Brian Taylor author of "English for the Children," points out the many objectives of the bilingual education program: the first objective is to teach students basic academic subjects in their native language therefore increasing their academic progress. The program was also designed to teach the students both reading and writing skills in their native language and eventually to immerse them into classes taught in English.

Students in bilingual education programs learn English from the time they enter school. All their academic classes, however, are taught in their native language. After three years of English instruction, students are put into English-only classes. The purpose of these objectives is to preserve the students culture at school (Taylor). As reported from "Education Week on the Web," bilingual education programs are based on a maintenance program which preserves the students native language skills while teaching English as a second language ("Bilingual Education"). This program would make it easier for the student to learn English without risking success in academic classes.

Bilingual education programs sound beneficial; however, after implementation for over 30 years, the results seen from bilingual education are not as positive as one would expect. Bilingual education programs have not lived up to expectations. Bilingual education programs are costing the United States billions of dollars. Statistics show that students in these programs are not showing academic improvement. The programs rely too much on native languages which leads to further segregation. Students in California have suffered the most from bilingual education programs. More than 25 percent (1.4 million) of the students in California public schools are not proficient in English, and only five percent are gaining proficiency each year.

Many students leave school with limited spoken English and almost no ability to read and write in English (Taylor). In some cases, California students in bilingual education programs have taken more than eight years to complete, rather than the expected three years. Each year, only six Erie 3 percent of Californian children in bilingual education classes are adequately prepared to move into English classes. Unfortunately, drop-out rates are also increasing. Seventeen percent of Hispanics in bilingual classes drop out compared to the ten percent in English instruction classes.

Latinos in bilingual education programs have statistics similar to those of students in English-only schools (Taylor). Bilingual education programs are not solving the problem they were intended to solve. National test scores have shown that bilingual education students are improving at the same rate as students taught only in English. Gregory Rodreguez reports on the study done by Mark Lopez from the University of Maryland and Marie Mora from New Mexico State University which reveals the effect bilingual education has on the earnings of Latinos. First and second generation Latinos who were enrolled in bilingual education classes earned significantly less than similar peers who received "monolingual English instruction" (17). Bilingual education programs are not improving the financial success of non-English proficient students.

If the results are no better than these statistics show, what is the purpose of keeping these programs? Furthermore, the cost of bilingual education programs is outrageous. In 1968, the first year that bilingual education programs were executed, the cost was 7.5 million dollars. Since then, the United States has spent more than 400 million dollars each year on bilingual education programs. States also need additional funding to hire and train paraprofessionals, and some programs even pay college tuition for paraprofessionals so that they may qualify as teachers (Porter 30). Betsy Streisand, author of "Is It Hasta la Vista for Bilingual Education?" reports that bilingual education teachers receive an extra 5,000 dollars annually for teaching. In the future funding could include more than 20,000 teachers.

State and Federal governments have spent hundreds of millions of dollars of public money over 30 years implementing bilingual education programs, and the programs have not shown to work successfully (Streisand). Another problem of teaching students in their native language is that this approach keeps the students from progressing in English and keeps them too dependent on their native language. Erie 4 Bilingual education programs have been so focused on keeping the students native language and culture alive that students are refraining from using English. In bilingual education programs, students speak their native language both at school and at home. Since they have no immediate use for English, the students speak primarily in their native language. Students refraining from using English, possibly explains the reason for the low success rate for students in bilingual education programs.

The programs need to be reconstructed so that the students spend more time speaking and hearing English. Reconstruction may lead to a more successful program. Another problem with these programs is that it tends to lead to segregation. The idea behind bilingual education has grown outside of its original mission of teaching English and has lead to further segregation of non-English speaking students (Porter 31). In bilingual education programs, students only converse with other students in their native language. Even when enrolled in English taught classes, the students of bilingual education programs tend to remain segregated from the rest of the student body because they were secluded for so long in their previous bilingual education classes.

In a diverse society such as the United States, segregation only leads to conflict. When Kirk Douglas, author of "Bilingual Education," describes the United States as a"country of immigrants," he illustrates how the United States influx of cultures has made us stronger as a nation. He maintains that if bilingual education inhibits the coherence of our society it should not still be implemented (37). The United States is a melting pot ...

Related: bilingual, bilingual education, education classes, education program, education programs, education students, education teachers

Research paper topics, free essay prompts, sample research papers on Bilingual Education