Should California Assembly Allow Bilingual Education? Essay Example
Should California Assembly Allow Bilingual Education? Essay Example

Should California Assembly Allow Bilingual Education? Essay Example

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  • Pages: 5 (1163 words)
  • Published: September 17, 2017
  • Type: Essay
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Proposition 227, also referred to as "English for the Children," received approval from Californian voters in June 1998 and has since caused controversy. This proposition brought about changes in educational standards for bilingual students who spoke Spanish. Many questions have arisen regarding this matter, including its societal implications and the extent of its impact on those affected. Additionally, there is speculation concerning a decrease in bilingual instruction. To address these inquiries, it is necessary to analyze the phenomenon's effects on individuals and explore potential underlying causes and Proposition 227's history. Furthermore, we must evaluate the effectiveness of teaching English within a mandated period of 180 days as per this proposition. The approach of instructing solely in English for Spanish-speaking children has sparked debates regarding anti-immigrant sentiments, language-based discrimination, and racial/ethnic conflicts within Spanis


h-speaking communities. The presence of a Structured English Immersion (SEI) program for one academic year raises concerns that it may detract from other core subjects such as Math, Science, and History. These worries highlight uncertainties about whether these same students are adequately prepared for integration into regular classrooms. Given the growing population of Spanish-speaking immigrants in California and across the diverse United States, particularly relevant is understanding the extensive impact of this issue.The limited English proficiency of many students, particularly Hispanic students who are bilingual or children of immigrants, is a longstanding issue. In the 1970s, Chinese students in San Francisco faced similar challenges that led to the Lau v. Nichols lawsuit in 1974. Currently, there is a specific emphasis on Hispanic students as the percentage of English Language Learners (ELLs) has increased from 29% during Proposition 227 to 37% for the 2003-0

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school year.

Jill Kerper Mora reported in 2002 that California had enrolled 45% of its immigrant student population in schools. Even earlier, Olivos and Quintano de Valladolid discovered that Latino dropout rates between ages 16 and19 were as high as59% back in1995. However, this issue extends beyond California; other states like Arizona (proposition203), Colorado, New York, Florida, Massachusetts , Oregon and Utah are also impacted by California's laws and policies regarding bilingual education specifically Proposition227.This raises doubts about the effectiveness of bilingual education in meeting current standards.

The root causes of this social problem include racial and cultural biases towards acceptance or non-acceptance of the Spanish language.However there is shift in focus towards meeting educational requirements for producing competent teachers which may be direct cause of current dilemma.Successful bilingual programs heavily rely on qualified bilingual educators.Insufficient preparation and certification of college students in teaching programs can lead to inadequate support for English Language Learners (ELLs), potentially resulting in low performance on standardized English tests and contributing to Proposition 227's enactment. As educational standards evolve, there is a growing inclination towards a rigid "English only" approach from a Eurocentric perspective. While some instructors believe their experience and skills are sufficient to teach bilingual students, others argue that community engagement is vital for meeting educational needs. Throughout history, various proposals and acts have been introduced, ultimately leading to the implementation of Proposition 227. In response to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Bilingual Education Act was signed in 1965 with the goal of addressing ELLs' needs through program development and teacher training. However, conservative politicians later criticized bilingual education. Subsequently, California implemented the Chacon-Moscone Bilingual-Bicultural Education Act in

1976 and reauthorized the Bilingual Education Act as well. These laws aimed at enhancing the skills and cultural knowledge of bilingual teachers so they could effectively instruct bilingual students. Additionally, a program called Language Development Specialist (LDS) was introduced specifically for teachers who taught ELLs but did not possess fluency in Spanish.The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC) implemented changes in 1992 to simplify the process of obtaining teaching credentials, which came into effect in 1994. Proposition 227, passed by California voters four years later, consisted of nine articles promoting an "English only" approach. The impact of this proposition was felt during the 1998-99 school year. Each analyzed article demonstrates a consistent emphasis on learning English solely through instruction in English, raising concerns about whether it aimed to aid Spanish-speaking students' integration into English-speaking classrooms or unintentionally discourage their use of their native language. Prioritizing English proficiency involves disregarding one's first language spoken at home to become proficient in English, as it is the primary language used in the United States - also known as "The Land of Opportunity". Before European colonization, America had a diverse range of languages and dialects with over 5000 spoken, prompting the question of which language should be spoken in the United States. The current policy reflects the effects of Proposition 227 two years after its implementation by demonstrating improved standardized test scores in California and indicating its effectiveness. However, further research is necessary to fully comprehend the consequences of eliminating bilingual programs.In 2000, Gandara noticed a significant increase in English test scores among second-grade limited English proficient (LEP) students. Their scores went up from 15% in 1998 to 25%

two years later, placing them at the statewide average for English reading tests. The reason behind this improvement remains uncertain - whether it was due to bilingual instruction or the increased use of English immersion programs. Despite attempts to enroll Spanish-speaking and bilingual students in English immersion programs, little attention is given to preserving bilingual instructional programs. This raises concerns about a potential learning gap between Spanish-speaking/bilingual students and their English-speaking counterparts. Should we support efforts that discourage the use of "foreign" languages if we value freedom of choice and opportunity as a diverse nation? The push for "English only" continues to perpetuate racial and ethnic bias, which has been present since the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. This text includes various sources discussing equal educational opportunities for all children and celebrating cultural differences within the diverse population of the United States.The following sources provide support for ensuring fair education access for all students while acknowledging cultural diversity: Attinasi's "English-only California Children and the Aftermath of Proposition 227," Donogan's "Argument over Bilingualism," Elias' "New Evidence: English Immersion is working," Flores and Murillo Jr.'s "Power Language and Ideology: Historical and Contemporary Notes on Dismantling Bilingual Education," Gandara's "In the Aftermath of Storm: English Learners in post- 227 Era." Additionally, there are other relevant sources such as Adam C. Hartmann's article titled "Bilingual Education has its Allies.Critics: Argument May Have Cooled Since Prop.227 but there’s Disagreement" published in The Press Riverside on September 3, 2006, Theresa Montano et al.'s research paper titled "The Debilingualization of California’s Prospective Bilingual Teachers" published in Social Justice, volume 32, issue 3 in 2005, Jill Kerper Mora's publication titled "Caught in

a Policy Web: The Impact of Education Reform on Latino Education" featured in the Journal of Latinos and Education in 2002, and Edward M. Olivos and Carmen E. Quintano de Valladolid's study called "Entre la Espada y La Pared: Critical Educators, Bilingual Education, and Education Reform" published in the Journal of Latinos and Education in 2005.The following URLs provide access to these sources: - -

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