November 7, 2016
Dear Mr. or Madam President;
In the United States alone, one-in-five citizens speak another language other than the English language in their homes and at their schools. Because of such statistics, some might argue that bilingual education in a classroom is appropriate, while others might believe that it causes nothing but problems and conflicts for both the teacher and the students. According to Maria Estela Brisk, a well-known respected author and professor at Boston University, “the presence of bilingual personnel enriches staff resources; they bring added knowledge to classrooms,” which leads to a better understanding of not just bilingual students, but all students. Bilingual education augments familiarity with other cultures and enhances factual knowledge and cognitive development. Ofelia Garcia, a famous author, agrees with the Yeshiva University sociolinguist, Joshua Fishinan, that bilingualism and biliteracy have beneficial psychocognitive results. To prove their results, they showed that New York City has used its multilingualism to become the global business it is today. “Bilingual education produces tremendous benefits for students, so too does it have a positive impact on society at large.”
As per usual, there is an opposing side to every argument. In 1998, Proposition 227 in California was voted on to approve the prohibition of non-English languages from being used in public schools. Many citizens across the country endorsed this because they believe that bilingual education doesn’t lead to faster or better learning of the English language, doesn’t lead to better learning of school subjects, and doesn’t produce higher self-esteem in students. One could say that graduating from high school without fluency and literacy in English deprives students of opportunity in an English-speaking country. But since America is home multi-cultural families who speak many languages, it is only best for schools to include bilingual education.
If Proposition 58 is passed in California, it will repeal most of Proposition 227, thus effectively allowing non-English languages to be used in public educational instruction. But if it is voted “no,” Proposition 227 will still continue to prohibit non-English languages from being used in public schools. If bilingual education is put to a halt throughout the United States, it will be seen as an unfair and biased based decision which not only leads to unhappy Americans and a less diverse country, it leads to a decrease in connections with other countries. Bilingual education needs to be implemented into schools nationwide.
Brisk, Maria Estela. “Bilingual Education Is Necessary.” Bilingual Education: From Compensatory to Quality Schooling, Edited by Noah Berlatsky, Taylor & Amp; Francis Company, New York, NY, 2006, pp. 199-213. Opposing Viewpoints in Context,
Garcia, Ofelia. “Bilingual Education is Beneficial.” Education, edited by Mary E Williams, Greenhaven Press, 2000, Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints in Context,
ProEnglish. “Bilingual Education Has Failed to Help Non-English Speakers.” Bilingual Education, edited by Noel Merino, Greenhaven Press, 2016. At Issue. Opposing Viewpoints in Context,