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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bilingual Education and the Laws and Conflicts that Affect It

Bilingual Education and the Laws and Conflicts that Affect It

Bilingual education is a matter of controversy, but there are still students that need assistance in language development in order to successfully learn. It is hard to teach children with language development issues, but schools and the government have to figure out ways to meet these needs. One conflict confronting English Language Learners is funding of bilingual education; this conflict is contradicted by the lack of funding for English immersion programs. It appears that many people feel that English immersion is a more effective way of teaching English Language Learners than bilingual education. These people believe that bilingual education has a detrimental effect on English Language Learners, and "students in bilingual education programs consistently score lower on standard achievement tests" (Sorenson, 2007). These people believe that teaching ELL students English should be the first priority, but many schools still use bilingual education. It appears that although English immersion may be a better program many schools continue to use bilingual education because it guarantees that they will receive higher funding. Federal funding is mainly aimed at bilingual education programs, and schools fear that they will lose funding. (Sorenson) It is hard to teach students effectively if there are not enough resources.
Another interesting conflict that affects the education of English Language Learners is Proposition227. This law was created in California, and it is meant to end bilingual education. While ending bilingual education it will in turn promote English immersion programs, but many schools are opposing it. In fact many schools are finding ways around this law. (Crawford, 1999) It is argued that bilingual education programs are the best way for teaching English Language Learners, but many believe that it is not as effective as giving students intense English learning classes. Many parents and teachers believe that the use of bilingual education is very important to their children's education. They believe this so strongly that they have sought waivers in order for their children to continue to be taught in their native language. Some people criticize "districts for granting too many parental waivers and for using too little English", and may file suit against schools for not strictly enforcing this proposition (Crawford, 1999). Those that believe in using bilingual education have also filed suit; they claimed that this law is "unconstitutional", but they were denied because "no "irreparable harm" to students had yet been shown" (Crawford, 1999). In order to meet the educational needs of English Language Learners schools have to either go along with the laws or find ways around them.
Reference:
Crawford, J. (1999). What now for bilingual education?. Retrieved February 9, 2008, from Rethinking Schools Online Web site: http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/13_02/bimain.shtml
Sorenson, L. (2007). Teach our children English. Retrieved February 9, 2008, from ProEnglish Web site: http://www.proenglish.org/issues/education/beindex.html

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