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The key concept in this research paper is an in-depth analysis of issues surrounding bilingual education in America as the minority population increases day by day. Besides, the paper aim at explicit explanation of all arguments of the protagonist and antagonists inclined inversely to each other. Each group tends to only favor what is accepted to them. An all inclusive definition of bilingual education recognize it as a form instructional education where information is presented to learners in more than one language, thus, technically speaking, any system of education applying two or more languages in educational physiology can be termed as a bilingual presentational system.
Based on the above connation, it may be in order to declare that most programs in the present age schools are bilingual at the least literal sense of this thinking. The only difference in use lies on the degree and multitude under which it is applied and actively recognized by policy makers and reformers in the education system in their proactive reorganization for relevance and non discriminative reforms. Brief history of bilingual ethics origin is then perused to establish its relevance in knowledge acquisition and practice. In addition, the paper explains the five major universal programs within the American education system aimed at assessing and organizing bilingual schools, plurilingualism and practice, plurilingualism and society, departmental lawful courses in different languages and re-evaluation assessment mechanisms against a measure of tolerance from the opponent quarters.
Key concept: Bilingual education system relevance analysis
Evolution of Bilingual Education
From the period of colonialism era to present age, bilingual education has always raised a heated debate on issues surrounding its legality and use. In the United States of America, periods of low and high tolerance has always interchanged through the history of this nation. More over, from the ancient non-English speaking white settlers, to the despised people speaking Native American languages alongside cultures like the red Indians, to the influx of different language speaking immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century, and to post millennium nativist school of thought legislating a comprehensive bilingual policies in education systems. These events are a key component of the current existing legislation and policies on bilingual education practiced by the US learning systems in some states where the majority of population are using the secondary language other than English (Green, 1999).
The fist colonial bilingual school was recorded in the year 1800, though private in orientation and target group where based on parochial preference to the Spanish settlers and the non-Spanish speaking laborers in their fields. 55 years later, the California Bureau of Instructions directed that all institutions offering learning be restricted to teach in English language only. However, in the 1870s defiant St Louis school superintendent Harris of German origin founded a bilingual kindergarten taught in mixture of German and English language with an intention of giving the immigrants a head start in multilingual ability and application in districts predominantly occupied by German speaking settlers (Medina, 2003).
With the wave of immigrants, settling in many states in the 1900s almost 20 percent of them who could grasp a secondary language was speaking in German after passing through an elementary basic German language speaking skills. This trend was reversed by the anti-German sadists who forced closure of German instructed schools during the First World War era. In a landmark ruling by Meyer court, it reaffirmed Nebraska policy restricting education to English language, arguing that uniform English language is a vital recipe for a non imperiled public safety and usefulness (Dudley, 1997).
Proponents of Bilingual Education
In the modern America, the initial bilingual education programs was oriented for the many Spanish-speaking Anglo Hispanic and Cubans at Coral Way Elementary school located in Dade county of the city of Miami in Florida supported by a grant donated by the Ford Foundation. In 1971 ruling by the federal court order number 5281, all discriminatory aspects associated with superiority verse inferiority complexes on the grounds of color, race, origin were decided to be unlawful in the San Felipe and Del Rio and these schools directed to provide Mexican-America students with equal learning opportunities based on a language the complainants understands best (Green, 1999).
In addition, the ruling liberated bilingual programs in all New York City public schools for the Spanish speaking immigrants to ensure their class participation without any prejudice or injured confidence by their English speaking counterparts. This move is healthy in guaranteeing these Latinos meaningful learning irrespective of the language difference background. Minority secondary language speaking group thus, were also put in a fair position to access education system curriculum made available to English speaking peer, through a new enforce affirmative actions steps consisting of a complete bilingual instructional manual and English teaching methods limited to optional module.
All forms of bilingual education are concurrently applied in the system to benefit both the native speaking minority student often referred to as English Language Learners and their peers who in the end, will both grasp the educational curriculum concepts while acquiring another language for future creative multilingual use. To understand cultural orientation of the increasing Spanish speaking minority, most high schools in the United States have developed formal requirement for all student to grasp at least a secondary language offered in courses running for almost two years taught in flex, which is in relation to that culture speaking the learned language (García, 2007).
According to the proponents of bilingual education, when non English speaking learners are taught in both the native and English language, their grasping ability for English language is made easier, efficient and organic which in return assist them to improve both language skills in their native mother tongue and English. Generally, a child exposed to more than a single language in education life will have confidence in applying the language skills learned alongside his/here native language. Consequently, such an individual’s perception and mind receptive framework will be more open and accommodative to various cultures and form of interactions than another passed through an education system undermining a language known best from birth as inferior, informal, dead, and inappropriate in interaction away from its origin base segment or cultural location (Medina, 2003).
Besides, while it is reality that operating bilingual classrooms is very expensive, logically, it is the best alternative for effective methodology of relating curriculum to students with limited English proficiency. This is an inverse of an immersion system discriminating students with poor understanding of single English language it dictates and may eventually paralyze efforts made to explain the concepts to this secluded group. In fact, LEP student are dependent on other skills in mathematics, history, sciences and co-curriculum studies rather than English language skills only (Ifekwunigwe, 2004).
Simultaneously, bilingualism is a strong policy for resistance of assimilation and cultural extinction. The minority language users are empowered to appreciate the dormant English language use, but at the same time keep their identity, cultural interactions, unique linguistics, and styles associated with a close attachment bond to the first language at birth. This unique identity is a symbol of independence on culture and language though existing among the mainstream society. Though young minority group members face a difficult duty in relating to fluent English speaking majority, but given chance, they may have so much to present in terms of diverse and preserved cultural background associated with unique pride which can be maintained while at the same time learn effortlessly English as a tool for interaction with the mainstream culture (García, 2007).
In America, bilingualism is grouped together with immigration in terms of literacy index. This however is a serious misinterpretation of real meaning. In every society, at the present age practices bilingual system either at small scale or mainstream level with America assuming fist position in monolingual marginalized but steadily increasing minority. Consequently, it is predicted that should America fully internalize bilingualism in her education system, the gains will outweigh implementation cost issues in the long run. Different group interests will transform from one group feeling of superiority than another to tolerance, respect, appreciation, and collective bargain in Jobs and resource allocation (Ifekwunigwe, 2004).
Also, this system is associated with purpose of gaining and maintaining a generational identity in the facets striving to resist Americanization for those who are unable to speak English language for smooth transition into the mainstream English language culture. This system makes it easier for the low proficiency learners to first understand their language then shift to English dominant classes without having to under go serious crisis of change in communication tool (Bowser, 1996).
Opponents of Bilingual Education
Despite some the visible gains made by bilingual education strategy, opponent of this system have reacted within their capacity to disapprove of it relevance and necessity in American system. For instance, policies and programs aimed at transitional one year period from a native language speaking American citizen was seriously abused by the bilingual enthusiasts who in the end neglected English and in place assumed Spanish culture and language maintenance as a norm with catastrophic consequences felt by the Spanish language sympathizers (Medina, 2003).
The facilitation period instead imprisoned then to class rooms taught in Spanish language only and bilingual concept in education was quickly transformed into a Spanish culture maintenance tool as the mainstream language that is English became a secondary language allocated a period of only thirty minutes of every school day. Parent of these students taught in Spanish and other players are actively involved in criticizing this system viewed by them as ineffective, keeps learners over unnecessarily longer hours in learning a language they already know, slowing down considerably English learning, and desired integration into the mainstream American society (Wheeler, 2005).
Policy analysts have blamed high drop out rates for Latino learner and worrying graduation transition rates on bilingual education system which has kept this minority group at the base of economic power and education hierarchy all over America. It is necessary for the government to pay attention to complains from parents who demands for a mainstream responsible system in order to guarantee their children an equal competitive edge in the labor provision market universally using mainstream English language (Dudley, 1997).
Lots of resources in terms of budget allocation have been wasted in bilingual implementation as compared with benefits derived after. Besides, America is a nation of many different immigrants and many of these groups have quickly mastered the mainstream language through the total immersion application of English language (Medina, 2003).
Bilingual systems of education concentrate language practice to children for periods up to over six years then they are gradually introduced to English language in the remaining periods of education life. This is responsible for the total confusion at transition than the former streamlined completed immersion that was easy to manage. Moreover, the cost of attempting to design teaching instructions to cover over 120 different languages is totally wasteful considering the fact that most of these linguistic groups have good knowledge of the mainstream English language (Bowser, 1996).
Bilingual education system represents a hidden component of the American education system on the minority. Actually, these immigrants’ gets a raw deal as its implementation in instance concentration in bloated bureaucratic school procedures. Most of resources allocated are spent in its administration rather than class room use. Multiculturists teachers then take advantage of this poorly managed system to socially promote grades and classes even to the undeserving students who perform dismally in exams. In parts of Los Angeles city, white middle class group are withdrawing their children from public schools infested with hidden discriminative policies associated with bilingual education system (Wheeler, 2005).
I strongly support bilingual education system because the world by each day is becoming a global village. People should be equipping with various languages in order to connect with the many global communities. Most countries in Africa have multilingual population. It is desirable for America to be counted part of this talent pool. Perceived threat to the mainstream English language is just but a speculative opinion as natural language changes if well integrated revitalizes communication tendencies. A student with good mastery of more than one language will not be a side line to fluency in English but instead equip these young minds with essential tools for becoming successful global community members.
Conclusively, learning of many languages has become a necessity for employment opportunities in multi national companies with operations a cross the globe. Mental framework of a proficient multilingual person is always very proactive and appreciative of different language interactions. However, the system runs on delicate locus with more people criticizing it in American capitalist society for interfering with formal information flow.