Tuesday, December 04, 2012
Defending bilingual education (again) in the Dallas Morning News
Research supports bilingual education (Bilingual education is better than immersion)
Published in the Dallas Morning News, December 1, 2012.
Re: L. Wooley, “An argument against increased school funding,” November 26
Contrary to Lynn Wooley’s statements, evidence for bilingual education is strong.
Wooley says scores “shot up” in Oceanside after bilingual education was dismantled in California in 1998. But scores for all students increased in California between 1998 and 2000; gains for Oceanside's English learners were similar to gains made in many districts that kept bilingual education.
The increase occurred because a new state test was introduced. The first time a new test is given, scores are low; scores then increase each year as students and teachers become more familiar with the test. After a few years, improvement stops. This happened in Oceanside and in the entire state.
Wolley notes that C. Rossell concluded that “immersion is best,” but is not aware that in her review Rossell miscategorized a number of bilingual education programs as “English immersion.” Even so, in her most recent analysis Rossell concluded that there was no difference between English immersion and bilingual education, not that bilingual education is the “least effective.” In her Texas study, differences are very small.
Every other scholar who has reviewed the research in recent years has concluded that children in bilingual education do better than children in all-English programs in English reading.
Rossana Boyd, University of North Texas
Stephen Krashen, University of Southern California (Emeritus)
Note: Wooley’s article was posted on the Tea Party Nation website.
Comment and response: http://letterstotheeditorblog.dallasnews.com/2012/12/bilingual-education-is-better-than-immersion.html/#commentzone
Jayme Skelton · Top Commenter
Ms Boyd, As an ESL and foreign language teacher, I have a question for you. Except in rare circumstances, the language group that bi-lingual education supports is Spanish-speaking. So, why is it that all other language groups can learn and flourish in ESL programs but the Spanish speaking cannot? As a secondary ESL teacher, I often had students enter my classes in 11th grade speaking little English. With strong English language instruction and support in regular subject areas, these students often graduated in two years and were able to pass all portions of TAKS by the time they were eligible to graduate. The year I worked with elementary children (young children "acquire" language very quickly), I had a kindergarten student who started the year with only a few words of English but was essentially fluent by the end of the year.
• Stephen Krashen
To Jayme Skelton: those who succeeded without bilingual education very often had "de facto" bilingual educaiton, a good educational background in their first language. Also: We do not claim that bilingual education is necessary. Our claim is that it accelerates English language development. This is supported by many many case histories, experiments, etc. For a review of all this, please see J. Crawford and S. Krashen, English Learners in American Schools (Scholastic).