"Bilingual education" doesn't work - Jay Maynard

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Sunday, 13 February 2005


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1640 - "Bilingual education" doesn't work

California, in 1998, adopted Proposition 227, a measure that mandated that students be taught in English instead of their primary language, unless their parents demanded otherwise. In a column in the Sacramento Bee, Daniel Weintraub cites test results that show that more than twice as many kids in the English immersion program are fluent or nearly so in English (47 percent) than are those in programs where they're taught English as a second language (20 percent).

It's plain that the conservative argument that bilingual education is failing kids is backed up by real world experience. This is unpalatable to the Left, of course. Weintraub cites the case of one Democrat removed from the state board of education by the Democrats in the Senate for having the temerity to advocate that all kids be taught in English 2.5 hours a day.

Immigrant kids did just fine in school before the bilingual education fad took hold. California's results show that they'll do fine again if it's done away with. Why, then, are we still wasting time, money, and worst of all, kids' potential, in a misguided attempt to coddle them?

current mood: [mood icon] calm

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Comments:


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From:kinkyturtle
Date: - 0000
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I dunno. Why are we wasting time, money and potential giving Creationists the time of day? :}
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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Good question.
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From:korgmeister
Date: - 0000
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I remember a friend of mine said "You know, kids have such an unlimited potential for learning, we should teach them to be bilingual."

To which I responded "I beg to differ. Talked with your average 14 year old on the net lately? They can't even get a half-decent grasp of English, let alone some other language."
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From:michaelmink
Date: - 0000
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The problem I have with bi-lingual education is that it, in large measure, is acting as a crutch for the children in question. Instead of having to learn English, they can get by in their native language. This has negative consequences, because whether one likes it or not, English is the language of business in this country. Folks who only speak, say, Spanish or Chinese are not going to reach their full potential. It also means that these individuals are not as likely to develop ties to this country. If you are going to think Chinese, act Chinese, &c., why exactly come to this country?

I don't have a problem with foreign-language materials being available. 100 years ago, you could have picked up German, Italian and Yiddish-language newspapers here pretty easily. Hearst even published a version of the New York Evening Journal in German. But this was supplementary, in my opinion, and the kids were made to learn English. This, I think, was all for the better.

It's curious, you know. Americans who go abroad and demand American things are viewed as "ugly," (and in some respects, they are) but folks who come to this country and insist that the folks here change our ways to suit them don't get hammered in the same way.

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From:vakkotaur
Date: - 0000

Double standards

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An American (U.S.) restaurant in another country: cultural imperialism.
A foreign restaurant in the U.S.: diversity.

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From:kinkyturtle
Date: - 0000

Re: Double standards

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That's because "American restaurant" usually means "McDonald's". :}
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From:vakkotaur
Date: - 0000

Re: Double standards

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I have no idea why anyone would go to a McDonald's. To me, the golden arches are a sign that says "do not eat here." Though Dr. Conway did have a point: If U.S. stuff is so bad and so hated, why do folks keep buying it?

I have heard of folks visiting the U.S. and claiming it all is the same everywhere. I suspect these folks never get very far from an Interstate or such and are thus stuck with the generica of various rest stops rather than anyplace with anything more.

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From:unspeakablevorn
Date: - 0000

Re: Double standards

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Eh. McDonald's is about all there is around here at 10:30 PM.

It's actually about middle of the road, in my view, in terms of food. not exceptional, no, but then that also means not exceptionally bad.

Vorn
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From:shelbystripes
Date: - 0000
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If you are going to think Chinese, act Chinese, &c., why exactly come to this country?

Perhaps because there are things you're allowed to do here that you're not in China? Though at least the Chinese seem to be more tolerant of different languages than some here are...

I don't see how you can take "I want to speak x" and turn it into "I demand that you speak x" too. If anyone's insisting that people change their ways, it's the "English-only" crowd. Those who speak Spanish, or Chinese, or whatever, might be missing out on some things if they don't also learn English, but they also tend to stay around other people who speak their own language, and not go around telling others to learn Spanish or Chinese for their own benefit, like the English-speakers in this country do.

I agree that if the end goal is for everyone to speak English, bilingual education doesn't work. But I do question that end goal.
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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If anyone's insisting that people change their ways, it's the "English-only" crowd.
Uhm, yeah, right. Those folks insisting that we provide them all sorts of accommodations in their native languages aren't demanding that we change a thing. Nope. Uh-uh.

The simple fact is that, to get all of the benefits of American society, you have to speak English. Until about 1960, immigrants understood that and busted their butts to learn English - and insisted their kids do so, too. Now, the Left has managed to convince them that the rest of the country should accommodate them, instead of the other way around. This is just backwards.

Insisting that we accommodate immigrants in their native languages is an insult. It says that we don't think they're smart enough to do it any more, which makes them dumber than the European immigrants of the late 1800s and early 1900s. I don't think that poorly of them, and that the Left would have us conduct business in hundreds of languages instead of helping them to learn English in the fastest way possible is yet another bit of hypocrisy on their part - for it's fundamentally racist.
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From:shelbystripes
Date: - 0000
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Uhm, yeah, right. Those folks insisting that we provide them all sorts of accommodations in their native languages aren't demanding that we change a thing. Nope. Uh-uh.

Nobody's insisting that you as a citizen learn another language. The government is being required to provide services in multiple languages, but the government should serve the people, not the other way around, right?

The simple fact is that, to get all of the benefits of American society, you have to speak English.

There are many non-English-speakers in this country (legal citizens, mind you) who manage to live a decent life here. They would probably, in fact, tell you that they're getting all the benefits they want. (If you were willing to ask them in their language.)

Insisting that we accommodate immigrants in their native languages is an insult. It says that we don't think they're smart enough to do it any more

This argument is, bluntly, stupid. Claiming that you're implying someone is dumb just because you're not forcing them to do something anymore, well... I already called it stupid once, I don't have to again. By that same argument, you could say you're admitting you're stupid for not learning their language as well as your own.

Oh, and randomly throwing an unfounded and unsubstantiated "racist" in there too only makes your attempt at some kind of point all the more laughable.
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From:unspeakablevorn
Date: - 0000
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it might be that immigrants demand it. Which wouldn't surprise me, but it certainly wouldn't please me either.

Anyway I figure it should be the other way around: English-speaking students should learn other langauges as early as possible, like they do in other countries. If you go to, say, Iceland, everyone speaks Icelandic, Dutch, and English by the time they graduate from high school. Yes, all three.

Vorn
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From:jmaynard
Date: - 0000
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While I have no objection to learning other languages as a kid (I had 4 years of French in junior high and high school; my vocabulary has gone away, though I can still deal with the grammar), I don't agree with the view that American kids are poorer for not having to deal with several languages all the time. I think that's an extra pain that we're fortunate not to have to deal with.

Dutch?! I could see German or French, but Dutch? I didn't think anyone outside the Netherlands spoke Dutch.
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From:unspeakablevorn
Date: - 0000
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I certainly don't mind not having to deal with multiple languages either. The point of an education in foreign languages, though, is not necessarily the language itself - three years of french, one year of spanish, and smatterings of Russian, German, and Latin have taught me more about my own language than I would ever have learned otherwise.

Vorn
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From:foolscap001
Date: - 0000
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It's also spoken in former Dutch colonies. Belgium is divided linguistically between Flemish (a variety of Dutch) and French speakers. Afrikaans is still close enough to Dutch that there's probably a fair amount of mutual understanding.

That said, I'm kind of surprised that folks in Iceland would make a point of learning Dutch, too.
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From:shelbystripes
Date: - 0000
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There's no reason why people in this country can't speak English and Spanish and French by the time they graduate from high school. Treating them like they're only need to learn learn English is an insult; it says that we don't think they're smart enough to do it, doesn't it?

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