On 3rd June 1973 was a historic turning point in the education of Mexican-American students in the state of South-Texas when the Bilingual Education Act was signed into law. Texas elementary public schools that enrolled 20 or more students of limited English speaking ability were mandated to provide bilingual instructions in their subjects that were taught. This abolished the English only teaching policy and dealt a blow to the “No-Spanish speaking” policy that was adopted by some institutions. The Texas bilingual education act required the use of native-language instructions to promote learning and facilitate the transfer to the English only mainstream program of the language-minority children. Some of the aspects of bilingual education models include the transitional bilingual education, dual language immersion, developmental bilingual education among other models.
One of the most popular models adopted in Texas and other states is the Dual-language Programs that give equal weights to both Spanish and English languages thus equal educational opportunities to all students. This program has been viewed as more effective as compared to other bilingual programs. This is because the English speaking students and the non-English speaking students are put in the same class and teaching is reinforced by non-English speaking students relying on help from their fellow classmates. Dual language has helped liberate Hispanic students from the grim statistics reality that shows that majority of them will later become dropouts.
A dual language classroom encourages students’ native language development that not only makes an important contribution to the development of heritage and contributes to enormous linguistic and socio-cultural advantages (Parrillo, 2001). In the classrooms, specially trained bilingual teachers can respond to questions that are asked in the native language but the answer is usually in English. Linguistic skills are improved by language literacy classes that aim to improve the writing skills which are then transferred to the new language (Why Juan can’t read, n.d.). The bilingual program has been faced with many challenges that include finding adequate qualified teachers that are bilingual has always been a challenge to the implementation of the program. These teachers meet many challenges of instilling knowledge and developing the skills of the students in their care (Parrillo, 2001). Also another challenge is the many law suits that are continually been filed and lawmakers are continuously affecting the bilingual program by constantly changing it. It has been observed that the political system holds the fate of the many programs of bilingual education system. Even with the success of the bilingual program, politicians have refused that it be implemented in all Texas schools arguing that dual language programs can only be an elective program that requires parental support, good teachers, and a supply of English speaking students that may not be available in other districts in the state for it to be a success (Stutz & Katherine, 2008). Also the frequent movement of students to different schools makes it difficult for them to learn as different schools will have different bilingual programs making it difficult for the student to effectively learn.
In conclusion, Texas cannot change the reality of its future as projections from the State Demographer show that Texas population will have a majority of Hispanics in the next twenty to thirty years. The implementation and adoption of bilingual education will address the problem of dropout cases. Therefore if bilingual education continues to fail then there will be an increasing dropout rate and a workforce that will be uneducated (Katherine, 2006).
Katherine, L. U. (2006, Feb 04). Bilingual methods gain notice: Dallas: Education official calls for more growth in English, math, science. Knight Ridder Tribune Business News, pp. 1-1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/460114389?accountid=45049
Parrillo, V. N. (2001). A challenge for educators: Dealing with demographic changes in the school system. Vital Speeches of the Day, 68(1), 19-25. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/221454408?accountid=45049
Stutz, T., & Katherine, L. U. (2008, Jul 29). Texas probably will appeal ruling about bilingual education. McClatchy – Tribune Business News, pp. n/a. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/464603062?accountid=45049
Why Juan can’t read; all across Texas, bilingual education programs are failing to teach English to Hispanic children. A promising “dual language” approach delivers much better results. (2006, Texas Monthly, 34, 1-1. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/226957032?accountid=45049
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