Education is without a doubt one of the most important tools available for personal advancement. Therefore, every child should be availed this important tool because they will need it in the future. Nevertheless, the aim should not just be taking children to school only; there is a need to ensure that children receive quality education that would better the child’s knowledge and expose him or her to what the world out there expects.
In this sense, bilingual education is important for children who are non-native speakers because they are given a chance to grasp content that would be impossible to understand given their limitations in both spoken and written English. Enforcing such a policy, however, has had its own challenges because some people have voiced their opposition against bilingual education programs. For example, some think that enforcing bilingual education is equivalent to giving non-English speaking communities “unfair advantage.” Giving bilingual education should be supported by all because it has immense benefits to the learners as well as the nation as a whole.
First of all, it is important to understand that the future of the country depends on the young generations that exist today. The future of the economy, the workforce and the advanced technology that the country enjoys will all depend on the quality of education being delivered. The economy, for instance, will depend on the purchasing power of the people; as of today, people who are not fluent in English are only employable in the low-paying jobs. Therefore, the future of the country’s economy as well as the workforce would be somehow affected if the nation does ensure that non-native speakers learn English.
However, the English Only Movement does not want to allow bilingual education for various partisan reasons. For example, monolingual English speakers oppose bilingual education for the fear of losing out their jobs. However, what they do not understand is that immigrant children show poor academic performance in schools compared to their counterparts who are fluent in English because of language problems. For example, while English may be the dominant language in school, it is a different case at home. The environment does not allow them to continue speaking in English because the people around them speak in their native languages, and those languages bear no semblance to English.
In addition, monolingual education does not take care of the fact that immigrant children face numerous challenges outside school that affect their performance. For example, some of the parents spent little time with their children because they have to keep several low-paying jobs to make ends meet. The implication is that immigrant parents have little time to guide their children unlike their English-fluent counterparts who work for eight hours a day and have spare time to spend with their children.
In retrospect, given the special circumstances that immigrant children face, it makes sense to enroll them in bilingual education programs to assist them learn English while at the same time maintain their native languages. The strategy will continue to ensure that immigrant children grasp the content taught in schools in the amplest of the environments.
- It is not possible to use English as the only language of communication in culturally diverse schools. Firstly, the use of English as the only language of communication endangers the ability minority communities to maintain their native languages. The role of education is not to “kill” those languages rather education should serve to give people the necessary knowledge and skills to eke their living. In addition, the role of education is to make people understand the content they are supposed to cover and not make it impossible to understand what they are learning. In this sense, bilingual education would be the most viable means for teaching because content is imparted using a simple language that the learner can understand while English language acquisition takes place at the same time.
- The English Only movement has to be made to understand the benefits of bilingual education in order to appreciate the benefits. It has to be made clear that bilingual education is in the best interests of the individuals involved and the country as a whole. In addition, the discussion has to be sober and devoid of any political undertones. Politics and misinformation have made it easy to take advantage of some people’s opinions on the matter.
- In simple terms, bilingual education is education aimed at people who are not native to the US. It should help learn English and American culture. It should also help natives learn other languages and culture. This means that bilingual education should not be limited to those who are not proficient in English only; it should be limited to those who are not native to the US, and the aim is to make them understand English and teach them the American culture as well as other cultures around the world. At the moment, however, I do not think that bilingual education meets that criterion, and this elicits the debate around its administration more than thirty years the Bilingual Education Act of 1968 became law.