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? What is the scientific evidence that bilingual education does or does not work? 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 San Diego State University's Bilingual Hispanic School Psychology Project:
It appears to us that the arguments against bilingual education are similar to those against affimative action and civil rights. How does institutional racism influence the bilingual debate?
James Lyons of the National Association for Bilingual Education responds:
Institutional racism is a major and unfortunate factor in the discussion surrounding bilingual education. Research and reason, not racially-tinged rhetoric, should be applied to complex questions like how we best educate children who know a language other than English but who are limited in their English proficiency.
Simplistic proposals such as the Unz initiative are designed to tap into racist and xenophobic sentiments similar to those articulated by Dr. John Tanton, founder of the multi-million dollar anti-bilingual education lobby known as U.S. English. In 1988, Dr. Tanton wrote:
Gobernar es poblar translates:
"to govern is to populate. In this society where the majority rules, does this hold? Will the present majority peaceably hand over its political power to a group that is simply more fertile? Perhaps this is the first instance in which those with their pants up are going to get caught by those with their pants down! ...As whites see their power and control over their lives declining, will they go quietly into the night? Or will there be an explosion?"
Although Mr. Unz personally disavows racism, his initiative campaign is calculated to capitalize on racial myths and social passions. While Mr. Unz' "English-only" educational campaign may advance his political ambitions, it will not help limited-English-proficient students who are enrolled in California schools.
Ron Unz of "English for the Children" responds:
I support allowing young immigrant children the right to be taught English when they go to school. This seems a pretty reasonable point of view in my opinion.