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The Official Language Movement

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1) An article in the Education World journal talks about the heated controversy over bilingual education. “The ultimate goal of any approach is for students to become proficient in the English Language” is agreed upon by opponents and proponents of bilingual education. The proponents state “that bilingual education is simply the most effective method for fostering the acquisition of English.” In describing many bilingual programs the Center for Equal Opportunity states that “students who don’t speak English are locked away in special programs that try to maintain native languages rather that teach English, often without their parents consent.” 2) This article discusses the public policy questions and the history of bilingualism in education in America. Most people do not realize the complexity and the history of bilingualism in America. The use of more than one language by a community has been part of the American social and political landscape for more than two centuries (Kloss, 1977). According to the wishes of parents in Ohio in 1839, the law allowed for instruction in German, English, or both in the public schools. There are probably less students receiving Spanish-English instruction than at the turn of the century when six hundred thousand elementary students were receiving all or part of their education in German, according to Kloss, 1977. The article proceeds to further discuss the political issues surrounding bilingual education. 3) From an NBC correspondent Miguel Almaguer is an article discussing bilingual education in a school district in Charlotte, N.C. In the Collinswood Language Academy students learn subjects like math and science in Spanish and then history and social studies in English. This program in Charlotte has been used for a decade and is in great demand. It is stated in this article that while experts from both sides continue to debate the issue, the number of Latinos in higher education remain dismal. 4) In California, it has been twelve years since the passage of Proposition 227. This article from 2005 talks about the politics and bilingualism. It states that it is “now politically correct to refer to bilingual education as a failure.” And educators still disagree over “the effectiveness of English immersion programs versus bilingual education in helping English learners succeed in school.” It appears to have become a platform when running for political office in states such as California. And the article continues on discussing the political forum of Proposition 227 and the right or wrong of the issue.

Cromwell, S. (1998, January). The bilingual education debate: part II. Education World, (), .
Leal, D. L., & Hess, F. M. (2000, December). The politics of bilingual education expenditures in urban school districts. Social Science Quarterly, (), .
Almaguer, M. (2009). Allday. MSNBC. Retrieved from http://allday.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/06/17/1968748.aspx
Riehl, R. (2005, October). Politics made 'bilingual' a dirty word. North County Times, (), .…...

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