September 29, 1997
Questions asked in this forum:
Do bilingual classes exist for educational or cultural purposes? What is the scientific evidence that bilingual education does or does not work? How does institutional racism influence the bilingual debate? Are there bilingual programs for students who come from China, Vietnam, Japan, Egypt, Kenya? Additional comments...
A NewsHour report on bilingual education.
The Ebonics debate moves to the U.S. Senate.
The disparity between caucasian and minority children's literacy rates is on the increase
February 11, 1997:
The U.S. Congress debates whether to ban the children of illegal immigrants from the public education system
Browse the Online NewsHour's coverage of education.
Ron Unz's "English for the Children"
The National Association for Bilingual Education.
A question from Burns Wattie of Toronto, ON:
Imagine if the entire silicone valley including you and your family were teleported star trek style to the middle of China with no option of return to the USA. Imagine also that Chinese has become the international language of trade.
What would you expect the Chinese government to provide educationally for your children and all of the other members of your silicone valley community?
Ron Unz of "English for the Children" responds:
This clearly indicates the foolish nature of current native-language instruction programs which don't teach children English.
James Lyons of the National Association for Bilingual Education responds:
I am not sure what I would "expect" of the Chinese government. Unlike the United States, China is not a democracy which balances respect for the individual with the needs of society. I suspect that China would pursue a "Chinese-only" policy similar to Mr. Unz' "English-only" mandate. While Mr. Unz looks to civil courts to enforce his "English-only" mandate, I assume that China would look to the military and its system of criminal courts and prisons to enforce it "Chinese- only" mandate.
If China were a democracy, if China were committed to ensuring equal opportunities for all people within its borders, and if China wanted to become a world economic and political leader, it would provide bilingual education to non-Chinese speaking children so that they could effectively and humanely learn academic subjects while they were also learning Chinese.