September 29, 1997
Questions asked in this forum:
What kinds of bilingual programs exist in other countries? Do bilingual classes exist for educational or cultural purposes? 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 William Pulte of Dallas, TX :
The Case Studies Project of the California State Department of Education identified characteristics of successful bilingual programs during the 1980s. Programs exhibiting these characteristics were found to be extremely successful at that time, and are extremely successful today.
To Mr. Unz: Can you point to a single unsuccessful bilingual program with a plan of operation which includes these characteristics of successful programs? Please be specific.
To Mr. Lyons: At what point should bilingual education end for a particular student?
Ron Unz of "English for the Children" responds:
I don't disagree with the tautology that "bilingual education" program which exhibit successful characteristics are successful. Unfortunately, there seems no evidence that such "successful characteristics" can actually be implemented in the real world on any large scale. My argument is the empirical point that today's "bilingual education" programs are extremely unsuccessful overall, and if they haven't been made to work in the real world after 25 years of trying, maybe they'll never be made to work.
James Lyons of the National Association for Bilingual Education responds:
Bilingual education can end for limited-English-proficient students once they have mastered English and are able to learn through the language as well as native-English-language background students. Research shows that this takes 4-7 years for most students.
I firmly believe, however, that U.S. schools should provide bilingual, and optimally multilingual, education to all students, including native-English-speakers, throughout their educational career so that they can develop high levels of oral proficiency and literacy in English and other languages. Individuals who are bilingual and multilingual enjoy greater personal and professional opportunities. Countries which develop the linguistic skills of their citizens gain economic and diplomatic advantage, and are rightfully viewed by the people of other nations as global leaders.