Debate This!

Below I have included the definitions of the three different language programs in battle here in our Texas schools along with some background information and my point of view on the matter. My goal is to spark awareness of these programs and gather different point of views about them. Even if you don't know much about the subject, you should be able to express an opinion based on the definitions. I understand that this topic could get a little fiery...so let's keep it civil...now DEBATE THIS...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bilingual Education: The practice of teaching non-English speaking students core subjects in their native language as they learn English

ESL (English as a second language)/English Immersion: This program teaches the student solely in English, completely removing their native language.

Dual Immersion: Programs in which roughly half the students are native English speakers and half are native speakers of another language. Students are taught in English half the school day and the other half of the school day in the second language

In the 2008-2009 Texas school year there were nearly 500,000 students participating in bilingual education of them 99% were Hispanic. The Hispanic population is expected to more then double from 6.6 million in 2002 up to 13.4 million come 2025. According to the Census Bureau Texas had a 308,000 increase in the Hispanic population from 2006-2007, the largest of any state. Currently 8.6 million Hispanics represent 38% of the Texas population. With what seems to be an unstoppable increasing number of Hispanics taking up residence in Texas, why are some state legislators trying to remove bilingual education in our schools. Not only do they want to do away with bilingual education, they want to replace it strictly with English immersion; removing the Spanish language completely from the child.
This is problem for me, not only do I disagree with the proposal to remove bilingual education in our schools; I strongly concede the idea that practicing English immersion is the best alternative to bilingual education. I believe the best approach to deal with increasing number of Spanish speakers in our state now and to come is to implement dual immersion in our schools starting at the elementary level.