Sunday, March 21, 2010

Does NCLB Promote Monolingualism?

Education Week Commentary
Published Online: March 15, 2010

By Rosemary Salomone

Rosemary Salomone critiques NCLB squarely, arguing that perverse incentives--supported by research--is the setting aside non-English-language instruction so that children can learn English quickly.

Check out a National Survey Report titled "Foreign language Teaching in U.S. Schools" on languages cited within.

• The research found that federal law’s emphasis on reading and math has subtracted resources from language programs.

•It did find that the offering of Spanish has risen, but mostly within the private school sector.

•Not surprisingly, it also found that higher SES schools also had more language programs overall. [After all, speaking another language has alway been the gem of the upper class in our society.]

•Tragically, in the U.S., 15 percent of public elementary school students were enrolled in a foreign-language class. [Were these mostly dual language classes, I ask? In any case, this is wasteful since children are sponges and ripe for language learning.]

Great quote from Salomone:

You cannot deeply “know” the values of a people or a nation’s politics unless you can directly access its art, literature, news media, government documents, and policy reports. Relying solely on English as the language of global communication, we risk the world’s taling over our heads as we become more culturally trapped.

Also, check out the earlier post on Assistant U.S. Secretary of Education Thelma Melendez' speech before bilingual educators

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