Bilingual Education Is Now in Public School

If we’re going to increase immigration and not prioritize integration, bilingual education makes sense.

Bilingual education policies could be a way to educate children who haven’t yet learned English well enough. But a new policy aims at something different. Basically, areas with enough foreign language speakers now have the power to demand that the public school teach their children in that language. Ironically, public education got started as an effort to “Americanize” immigrants.

France 24 reports, “Bilingual education in US in its infancy, but growing.

Brazil, with a ‘z’ or an ‘s’?” asks a girl. “In Spanish, it’s with an ‘s,’ in English with a ‘z,'” another kid answers. Just another day in a bilingual class at a Los Angeles school.

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A sign that proclaims “Bienvenido/Welcome” is pinned above the blackboard of this class in a bilingual program at Franklin High School.

It’s Thursday morning, and in history class, teacher Blanca Claudio asks her 11- and 12- year old students to find Mesoamerica — an area stretching from southern Mexico through Central America — on the map.

Half of the population of Los Angeles — the second most populous US city after New York — is of Hispanic origin, and Latinos make up 16 percent of the US population, making them the largest single ethnic minority group in the country.

And even though Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States and commonly heard in Los Angeles, not even this city has a large bilingual school program.

Most such programs are just designed to serve as a bridge so that foreign students can learn English, and then move on take the mainstream English-language classes.

However, fully bilingual programs — in which kids take some classes in English and others in another language — like the one at Franklin are set to expand starting July 1 when a law called Proposition 58 comes into effect.

Although Franklin is called a high school, it also includes a middle school. So, it has kids as young as 11.

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About the author

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder

Joe Scudder is the "nom de plume" (or "nom de guerre") of a fifty-ish-year-old writer and stroke survivor. He lives in St Louis with his wife and still-at-home children. He has been a freelance writer and occasional political activist since the early nineties. He describes his politics as Tolkienesque.

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