Bilingual Education<br />A friend or a foe?<br />
What led to the Bilingual Education Act?<br />On July 9, 1868 the 14th Amendment was created which, among other things, guaranteed that no state shall make any law that denies all citizens equal protection under the law.<br />In 1954 Brown v. Board of Education overruled “separate but equal” and established that all children have the right to an equal education made available on equal terms.<br />The Civil Rights Act of 1964 outlawed discrimination in any public facility. Title VI in particular outlawed discrimination on any federally funded program, signifying that all students have the right to meaningful and effective instruction. <br />The Bilingual Education Act of 1968 provided supplemental funding for school districts to create programs that meet the "special educational needs" of large numbers of children of limited English speaking ability in the United States.<br />In 1974 this act was amended defining bilingual education as incorporating a student’s native language, separating it from ESL and English immersion (Mora, 2005). <br />
The Bilingual Spectrum <br />Bilingual Education<br />ESL or English Immersion <br /> Teaching a child in his or her native language for academic achievement and English proficiency. <br />Using none of the child’s native language for the purpose of assimilating him/her and having him/her gain proficiency faster (Domestic Social Policy Division, 2001). <br />
The Unz Initiative <br />The Unz Initiative was introduced in 1998 by Ron Unz and Gloria Matta Tuchman in California. It maintains that since the California schools do a poor job of educating immigrant children, which can be seen in low English proficiency and high drop-out rates, bilingual education should be outlawed (California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, 2007).<br />
What is Dual-Immersion?<br />According to Linholm (1997) “two way bilingual education is the marriage of bilingual education for language minority students and immersion education for language majority students” (p. 271). Dual immersion programs include both native English speakers and immigrants. They can have a language ratio of either 90:10 (Native language: English) or 50:50 (Native language: English). <br />
Two studies: ELL students in Dual Immersion <br />Collier and Thomas (2002) compared ELL students in bilingual programs, dual immersion and in English mainstream. <br />Both the bilingual and the dual immersion programs consisted of a 90:10 ratio (90% target language: 10% English) or a 50:50 ratio (50% target language and 50% English). <br />The finding of this study was that ELL students involved in one of these types of programs tended to graduate high school above the 50th percentile. <br />When looking at 5th graders they found that students without any type of bilingual education had lower reading and math scores than those who did(Collier & Thomas, 2002)<br />Ajuria (1994) also looks at ELL students in dual immersion programs and the mainstream comparing both voluntary English participation and test taking. <br />After some time those ELL students in dual immersion saw an increase in their English participation. <br />On the other hand, no increase in participation was seen in the ELL students in the mainstream. <br />In her study of test taking she found that test results on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills were higher for the ELL students in dual immersion than those in mainstream (Ajuria, 1994). <br />
What other arguments exist that are pro-bilingual education?<br />Greene (1998) describes how advocates of banning bilingual education base their view on a limited selection of literature that is often distorted. <br />Using fourstandards for quality research he found 11 out of 75 studies that met the standards for quality research. <br />He forms his final conclusions from the test scores of 2,719 students, where 1,562 were enrolled in bilingual programs. <br />In looking at the results he found that the benefit of using the child’s native language in instruction measured a .18 standard deviation on standardized test scores.<br /> His final conclusions are that Bilingual programs produce a .21 standard deviation improvement on reading tests and a .12 standard deviation improvement on math tests measured in English (Greene, 1998).<br />Martin-Beltran (2009) looks at the benefits of bilingual education from a linguistic developmental and social perspective. <br />She shows us how bilingual education is not only better for developing a deeper language proficiency, but also utilizes a child’s background to make learning important and meaningful. <br />In her study she observes the interactions within a bilingual 90:10 classroom.<br />In her observations, she found four recurring behaviors which help build analytical skills, critical thinking skills, collaborative skills, creativity and confidence. All of these help children obtain better test scores. <br />These behaviors include (1) the interplay of two languages as academic tools, 2) the recognition of learners’ distinct expertise and linguistic funds of knowledge, 3) opportunities for co-construction of knowledge, and 4) student and teacher strategies that called attention to language. (Martin-Beltran, 2009, p. 31). <br />
So what influenced the Unz initiative?<br />Many people who are against bilingual education refer to studies that portray how ELL learners who go through bilingual education have a much lower English proficiency as well as general academic achievement in all areas. <br />Some of these studies do suggest that the differences in achievement between ELL students in the two programs (bilingual education vs. ESL and English Immersion) decrease as time goes on, however the differences are still evident. <br />
Let’s compare Literature <br /><ul><li> While Greene (1998) discusses how opponents of bilingual education base their opinions on flawed studies, Jepson (2009), on the other hand, describes how proponents of bilingual education “base their debate on beliefs vs. empirical evidence” (p. 3).
In his study, based on empirical evidence, he analyzed the results of 500,000 1st and 2nd grade ELL students on the California English Development Test (CELDT).
He found a .3 deviation between those who were in bilingual education and those who were in the programs that instruct only in English. In his study he also notes that the deviation was reduced to .1 in 3rd,4th and 5th, however a difference still remains.
In his study he also mentions that this phenomenon is similar for ELL students who participate in two-way bilingual education as well as dual-immersion programs (Greene, 1998). </li></li></ul><li>Two studies from Texas<br />Rossell (2009) notes two downsides to bilingual education in Texas: <br /> (1) bilingual education is more expensive than any other program for ELL learners and <br /> (2) students in bilingual education are not required to take the English TAKS (Texas Agency of Knowledge and Skills) for the first three years of their education, which does not hold teachers and programs accountable.<br />Therefore he asserts how testing the effectiveness of bilingual education is imperative. <br />Using the TAKS exam he tested all 3rd, 4th,and 5th grade ELL students in Texas during the 2006-2007 school year. He compared the difference in English proficiency between populations of ELL students where 100% were enrolled in bilingual education and 0% in bilingual education. <br />He found that between all grades those populations with 100% of children in bilingual education had 30-40% less English proficiency in reading than those populations with 0% in bilingual education.<br />For math and science those in bilingual education had between 10% and 40% less proficiency than those in other programs. <br />Again we see the percentages growing smaller in the higher grades (Rossell, 2009). <br />Gersten (1992) compares ELL students in immersion programs to those in bilingual education. <br />In his longitudinal study he compared 230 ELL students in grades 4, 5, 6, and 7, between 1985 and 1991 in 10 elementary schools in El Paso, Texas (five of which use bilingual education and five of which use English immersion). <br />The data was collected from the results of the Iowa Test of Basic Skills.<br /> From his data collection he found that 4th grade students who participated in English immersion programs performed better in all aspects of academic achievement, particularly language proficiency, than their bilingual education counterparts. <br />Results persisted in reading, language and math throughout 5th and 6th grade as well. For example in math, sixth graders in bilingual education were at the 30th percentile while those in immersion were at the 37thpercentile (Gersten, 1992). <br />
What effect can bilingual education have on higher educational achievement and job earnings?<br />Lopez (2002) describes that there is yet to be a study which shows the effect bilingual education has on long-term educational achievement and wage earnings. <br />He maintains that there have been many studies that highlight the short-term positive effects of bilingual education on student achievement, but have ignored what happens in the long run. <br />Lopez used data from two longitudinal surveys to compare the achievement of 25,000 ELL students in public and private schools. <br />He found that students who go through bilingual education programs are 4.1% less likely to receive a high school diploma, and 11.2% less likely to receive a bachelor’s degree than those that don’t. <br />In his analysis of wage earnings he says that both groups were equivalent, however he speculates that this is because those who participate in bilingual education leave school and participate in the labor market at an earlier age than those that don’t (Lopez, 2002). <br />
A little Summary….. <br />The Unz Initiative was introduced in 1998 by Ron Unz and Gloria Matta Tuchman in California. It began the debate about whether using a child’s native language for instruction was effective or not. <br />The debate is whether programs such as bilingual education and dual immersion which use the child’s native language are better than ESL and English immersion which don’t. <br />Greene (1998), Thomas and Collier (2002), Ajuria (1994) and Martin-Beltran (2009) find that ELL students in bilingual education outperform their counterparts in immersion or ESL on standardized tests, high school graduation rates, classroom participation in addition to having richer experiences in the classroom. <br /> However Jepson (2009), Gersten (1992), Rossel (2009) and Lopez (2002) find that those ELL students in mainstream or ESL have better test results than those in bilingual education in addition to a higher rate of high school and college graduates. <br />
References <br />Ajuria A. A. (1994). An exploration of classroom activity and student success in a two-way bilingual and in a mainstream <br /> classroom. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from http://escholarship.bc.edu/dissertations/AAI9522384.<br />California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (2007). The Unz Initiative. Retrieved from http://www.catesol.org/unztext.html <br />Collier, V. & Thomas, W. (2002). A national study of school effectiveness for language minority students' long-term academic achievement . UC Berkeley: Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence. Retrieved from:http://www.escholarship.org/uc/item/65j213pt<br />Domestic Social Policy Division (2001). Bilingual education: An overview. (Report No. 501). Retrieved fromhttp://www.policyalmanac.org/education/archive/bilingual.pdf. <br />Greene, J. (1998). A meta-analysis of the effectiveness of bilingual education. Retrieved:http://www.hks.harvard.edu/pepg/PDF/Papers/biling.pdf<br />Gersten, R. (1992, March). Bilingual immersion: A longitudinal evaluation of the El Paso program (Research No. Report 142). Retrieved from : http://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage _01/0000019b/80/29/b2/e6.pdf.<br />
Jepsen, C. (2009). Bilingual education and English proficiency (UKCPR Report 2009-01). Retrieved from University of Kentucky, Center for Poverty Research website:http://www.ukcpr.org/Publications/DP2009-01.pdf.<br />Lindhold, K. J. (1997). Two-way bilingual education programs in the United States. In Corson, <br /> D. & Cummins, J. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Language and Education (pp. 271-276). A. A. <br />Dordretch, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers. <br />Lopez, M. (2002)Does bilingual education affect educational attainment and labor market outcomes? Evidence from the National Education Longitudinal Study of 1988 and <br /> High School and Beyond. Unpublished manuscript, School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland, College Park, MD. <br />Martin-Beltran, M. (2009).Cultivating space for the language boomerang: The interplay of two languages as academic resources. Retrieved fromhttp://eric.ed.gov/ERICDocs/data/ericdocs2sql/content_storage_01/0000019b/80/45/98/55.pdf.<br />Mora, J.K. (2005). The history of bilingual education. Retrieved from http://coe.sdsu.edu/people/jmora/Pages/HistoryBE.htm<br />