Saturday, October 1, 2016

Well designed bilingual programs pay off.

Published in the Mercury News, October 2, 2016
California’s Prop 58 would restore bilingual education. A recent poll said that there was support for 58, but respondents were not enthusiastic about 58 after reading one of eight summaries of the measure.
The summaries said that we should allow students to take classes in the native language to keep their culture and language, or because bilingualism will help students eventually “get good jobs.”  True, but there is another reason to allow instruction using the first language: It results in better English.
The summaries also said that English-only is the way to “preserve our common American culture and language,” and “English is necessary.”  This assumes that the only way to acquire English is through English-only programs, which is false.
How would people react if they knew that students in well designed bilingual programs consistently outperform similar students in all-English programs on tests of English? That’s exactly what the research says.
Stephen Krashen

Professor Emeritus

University of Southern California

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