Bilingual Education

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English Immersion V.S Developmental Bilingual education in Public schools for Spanish speaking students. RITA MONTERO, Parent: He was bringing home pieces of paper that he had written "dog, cat, ball" across the top of the page. And this child was reading full books at home, and so to be writing this across a sheet of paper was just not doing it. So I said to the teacher this is it; I want him to be taken out and put in an English-speaking class.

70 percent of Spanish parents want their children to learn English rather than Spanish in school. Bilingual education has been a subject of national debate since the 1960s. The Bilingual Education Act (1968), which decreed that a child should be instructed in his or her native tongue for a transitional year while she or he learned English but was to transfer to an all-English classroom as fast as possible.

Bilingual enthusiasts ignored these prescriptions; English was neglected, and Spanish language and cultural maintenance became the norm.

The difference between English immersion and developmental bilingual education is that in English immersion the students learn and are placed in English classes, while developmental bilingual education attempts to build on students skills in their native language as they learn English as a second language. Through a poll I conducted in my building the majority, 39:11 of students agreed that English immersion was more effective than developmental bilingual education.

Some believe, however, that teaching English as a second language while focusing on Spanish is the best way. Learning to read in one's native language is said to facilitate reading in a second language. Children's achievement in the second language depends on the level of their mastery of their native language and most- positive cognitive effects when both languages are highly developed.