bilingual educated students are more likely to continue education past high school, increase their chances of professional careers, have competitive academic achievement scores, improved social skills and a stronger interest in school education programs. The government interest, certification procedures and selection process of hiring qualified teachers is critical. In this report the consequences of limited English proficiency on academic achievement, the positive effects of bilingual education, and the possible solutions and implication of programs will be discussed.
Limited English Proficiency students have received overall lower grades and below average test scores on Math and Reading assessments as a result of the language barrier" (Borden 2001). Achievement test scores revealed that minority students tested way below that of Caucasian students. Children of welfare recipients had lower test scores as well.
The comparison of the standardized test scores between Black and Hispanic students are evidence that Limited English Proficiency is a significant factor in academic achievement. The test scores of the Hispanic students were significantly lower than the black students throughout the education term. "As an end result, the drop out rate for Hispanics 28.6% was almost doubled of that of Blacks 12.6%" (Borden, 2001 paraphrased). Therefore, the language barrier does have an impact on academic achievement.
Studies have shown the consequence of neglecting to implicate efforts to educate bilingual children highly affects the student's interest in learning, which greatly impairs their academic achievement. The collier study in 1992 revealed that minority students properly bilingually educated for a minimum of three years scored much higher on academic achievement tests than the monolingual students over a period of time. There are no shortcuts to teaching proper bilingual education programs. Quick programs, which taught limited English proficiency students only at the concrete level and did not take the time to preserve their native language and many negative effects, including lack of academic achievement progress.
Preservation of the student's native language is necessary. The purpose of educating students in English proficiency is not to take away their true identity, but to give them the skills necessary to function at an acceptable standard of living for those who choose to live in America. To avoid permanent academic developmental problems, the second language must be maintained. "It is much easier to learn to read by reading in a language we already understand" (Crawford, 1997). Student's proficiency of their native language transfers over to English, provided they had quality education. (paraphrased). The student must be able to relate their second language to their native language in order to comprehend, or the knowledge is meaningless and useless. Some studies vary on the length of time it takes for the student to preserve their native language while learning English on an academic level, but they are all consistent in reporting that it takes a minimum of four years. The effort is well worth the end results.
When other cultures choose America as their adopted country, it is the immigrant's best interest to maintain their natural and cultural traditions and continue to pass these down to their children. "As children abandoned their native language, important links to family and other social standing are weakened or lost" (Crawford, 2001). The children's ability to continue to effectively practice their original culture traditions while becoming English Proficient remains possible by an education system developed to sustain their native language while learning the second language.
Parental involvement is also a very high priority. Implicating English education for parents can greatly intensify the student's academic achievement development. One way of doing this would be to encourage minority women to utilize their potential and freedom of choice of any career they wish to pursue. Middle Eastern and Hispanic women, particularly older ones may never had an opportunity in their own country to pursue important careers. This would greatly enhance the interest in the child, especially the female child to take a more active attitude in the importance of a bilingual education. As parents become more English proficient, they can greatly intensify their child's academic achievement. Parents can better assist in their child's education, as well as teaching acceptable social behaviors, which would also go a long way in enhancing the child's interest in learning, and avoiding misappropriate placement.
Immigrant children who have not been appropriately educated have been wrongly placed in special education programs, confused with having learning disabilities and having unjustified language and speech defects" (Crawford 2001-paraphrased). Several years ago, there were no standard procedures for placement of LEP students. The placement was left up to the teacher's judgment, oral assessment and achievement test. Misplacing students were not a violation of state law (Crawford 1997, paraphrased).
The academic achievement test did not improve after students were misplaced in special education programs. The correct problem was simply not solved. Treating children as though they have a mental illness they do not have can be as destructive as a doctor treating a physical illness the patient does not have. Children of sound mind and extremely capable of learning were placed in an environment with slow learners and mentally handicap children and were taught in the same fashion as though they had learning disabilities. One would assume that after the children became wise enough to realize they were misplaced for so many years, in the child's mind, the entire education system lost all credibility, and this would contribute to an increased dropout rate. Placing these children in such programs, in some cases, resulted in dropouts, violence, substance abuse, gang related activities, and failure to maintain ones education beyond high school. Consequently, they went on to low skilled and low paying jobs.
Lack of government funding, the teaching and judging criteria, and the selection and training of LEP teachers of yesterday has played a major role in the results of today, although recent progress has been implicated, which will be discussed later on. Yesterday's students are today's leaders.
As the number of LEP students has increased, this has created a scarcity in qualified teachers. "The Department of Educations Office for Civil Rights recently found that most LEP students, were taught by paraprofessionals, or teachers minimally qualified to teach English as a second language" (Borden, 2001). More than one half of LEP students did not receive education in English proficiency. Educators and the school system are generally not seen as the fault of the English impaired or slow learning children but are the ones looked to for resolvement of the problem.
All teachers want every one of his or her students to be high achievers. The greater the academic success of the students, the more successful the teacher is. For the student to make academic achievement progress, this requires not only sufficient knowledge of the subject taught, but also the ability to have the children learn and retain the knowledge. The school system wants the children to succeed academically also, but without applied effort. It takes effort to overcome several different learning barriers that children may possess.
Several years ago, "limited English proficient students were exempt from state testing, due to language barriers" (Crawford, 1997). Contrary to constitutional rights, by choosing to live in America, lack of academic English education impairs ones right to freedom of speech (Gonzales and Maez, 1995). The results of giving bilingual education low priority have been severe. Proper federal funding is critical to attracting well-qualified teachers if the bilingual program is to be effective. This includes, but not limited to advanced technologies, employment stability and training for teachers, and updated building structures at learning institutions. This research has presented evidence that even American LEP schools had older facilities, a run down building with no air conditioning. A civilized learning institution is not a luxury. It is a necessity. A learning institution must have the structure quality that is comparable to the student's home or church, even in lower income neighborhoods. In addition to unacceptable building standards, LEP schools were segregated, predominantly non-white, and usually depended on assistants with no education beyond high school as English teachers. "Children in such schools were literally cut off from avenues to opportunity commonly available to middle class schools" (Orfield 1993). The segregated schools had significantly low academic achievement. It is obvious that many of these LEP students reside in high crime and poverty stricken areas. The dropout rate at the high school level to pursue low paying jobs is very regular.
Another problem with LEP schools is the turnover rate for teachers are very high. These are the schools that need the most stability and security. Using paraprofessionals as teachers, the LEP students also are lacking in role models. When the teachers, the leaders and role models for students, do not put emphasis on the importance of pursuing higher-level education, the students unconsciously pick up this attitude. The person in authority sets the pattern. In LEP schools, the expectations of the student's academic level are usually low. Even if the low expectations of the students are never verbalized in the students presence, the basis from which they are…