Opposition to Bilingual Education is popping up again in yet another state — this time its Florida:
The unfortunate reality is that it takes away the incentive to learn English. That dooms many of them to low-wage, physically demanding jobs — not exactly the American dream.
… Bilingual education, particularly, has been a disaster.
Neither of these claims is true. First of all, the data used in the editorial is based on a 2002 report on Bilingual Education in New York by the Lexington Institute, an organization devoted to ending Bilingual Education. A separate report by the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, drawing on some of the same government data, found Bilingual Education in New York to be effective, while so-called “reforms” only made things worse.
But the real problem is that there is no reason to believe that what is happening in New York is indicative of Bilingual Education in general. For instance, this site lists Bilingual Ed. programs that have been shown to be effective. James Crawford has argued that experts really don’t disagree about Bilingual education nearly as much as many non-linguists would have us believe. Be sure to read this article by James Crawford called “Ten Common Fallacies About Bilingual Education.” And also Crawford’s own web site.
There is also a good Google Directory Page on the subject. And Jim Cummins has some good articles as well, including his own attack on common myths about Bilingual Education.
(Thanks to Ronald Kephart and Maggie Ronkin on the LingAnth list for links. Here is the thread in the archives.)