Sent to the Chicago Tribune (June 4, 2018)
“Carpentersville’s English-language law was supposed to unify, but critics say it did the opposite. Now it’s been repealed” (June 4) accurately cites research showing that immigrants are motivated to acquire English and most do so successfully.
Research also documents a number of benefits of bilingualism. In brief, students in schools that use well-designed bilingual programs acquire more quickly English than students in schools that use English-only “immersion” programs: Immersion programs supply more English, but bilingual education provides more comprehensible English, which is what fuels language acquisition.
In addition, studies show that bilingualism is good for the brain: those who regularly use two languages suffer less from dementia. Bilingualism also provides economic advantages: if you want to sell your product, it helps if you speak your customers’ language.
Carpentersville is moving in the right direction.
Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0031
213 259 6292
Original letter: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-carpentersville-drops-english-as-official-language-20180601-story.html