Bilingual Education: Left of Center View
The whole idea that we should deny access to people in the education system seems to be a bit absurd to me. There are people saying that it takes away from the time teachers have to teach the subject material if we ďcaterĒ to the people that donít speak English. The question I have for them is what they think we should do with these kids who donít speak English?
Do we just toss them out on the street and tell them theyíre out of luck because they didnít come from the U.S.? What about the one who were born here and still donít know English because nobody at home speaks it? Are we going to start denying access to education to American citizens? Whatís next? Do we close the classrooms to the African American kids because they use Ebonics?
Access to education is essential for people to have any chance at success. For those who donít know how to speak English, they need the time in the classroom learning English or they will never understand it. They need to hear the language in use if they are to assimilate it into their speech. Itís not like you can just stick them in an ESL (English as a Second Language) class all day every day either. They need to be able to learn the other subjects or they will get so far behind that they may never catch up. It amounts to punishing children for being born to a certain family if we deny them equal access to education.
The only equitable solution is to make sure that the schools have adequate funding for bilingual education in the areas where it is needed. We spend billions of dollars per year on tax breaks for multi-national corporations. Some of that money could be better spent on the children who are the future of our nation. Without our children being properly educated, we are opening ourselves up to a future where we canít compete in the global marketplace.
There are thousands and even possibly millions of potential leaders and innovators of the future that will never have the chance to contribute if we donít make sure they get the basic fundamental education that they need to realize their potential. Bilingual education is at the heart of creating opportunity for those kids with potential who donít happen to speak English. If we donít make sure they have access to the education they deserve, we are likely only hurting ourselves.
LJ Finstermore - World Citizen | E-mail Comments on this column.
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