English Only Policy Term Paper
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English Only Policy is an issue of hot debate throughout the country. Many states have passed "English Only" laws, and more still are considering. Although opponents list several reasons for their position, the proponents of the policy by far present the most logical causes.
Bilingualism is a hindrance to learning English and a detriment to a child's short-term and long-term academic advancement, therefore it should be the only medium of instruction for second-language learners in public schools (Mora pp).
Using English exclusively is not only advantageous, but it does not harm the students in any way (Mora pp). Student should be weaned from their first language to ensure that they do not become "tethered" to their native language, for using the child's first language basically create a "cycle of native language dependency" that must be countered by English-only instruction, thus, parents should only speak English to their children at home (Mora pp).
However, opponents claim that students who attend school with a fully developed language other than English benefit from using their language as a medium of instruction (Mora pp). They believe that it is more beneficial for the child the learn information in his or her own language while learning English (Mora pp). It is said that with one year of intensive instruction, students can become proficient enough in English to function in mainstream classrooms (Mora pp). Even children at low levels of proficiency are capable of understanding normal classroom instruction, and teachers have to make only minor modifications in the instructional procedures to make the content comprehensible to students with limited proficiency in English (Mora pp). The objective of instruction is to teach English "quickly" in order to mainstream the students into the regular school program, because the more quickly they learn to read and write in English, the faster they will progress in school (Mora pp). Proponents argue that reading instructions in the native language actually retards this process (Mora pp).
For students to be successful in school and in American society, it is important to become proficient in English, for the key to academic success it proficiency in English (Mora pp). Although it is important for the child's parents to maintain the home language and culture, however, it must be understood that the faster children learn English the faster they will assimilate into American society (Mora pp).
Proponents who claim that a child's self-esteem suffers in an English-only classroom are wrong, for although it may be difficult at first, it will not cause any harm to self-esteem and the early discomfort will be compensated by the joys and affirmation the child gains from learning English, such as successfully moving up through the grades in school (Mora pp). Moreover, educators who believe in the principles of English-only are better able to make decisions regarding the manner in which language minority students should be educated, because all too often bilingual educators act out of a misguided "bilingual ideology" or in their own self-interest in planning programs for second-language learners (Mora pp). Furthermore, early and rapid learning of English will help reduce dropout rates, particularly among Latinos, because a child's success in the upper grades depends on a solid knowledge of the English language and literacy (Mora pp).
At the debate on the English Only Legislation in August 1996, Tom Roth from Wisconsin stated that in every single survey conducted on whether English should be the official language, ninety to ninety-seven percent of the people said yes, that English should be the official language of the United States (Debate pp). Worrisome is the fact that the National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education stated that by the year 2000, one our of seven Americans will consider English as a foreign language (Debate pp). Said Roth, "we have always had the idea that we are the melting pot, that we are all the same ... We do not believe in hyphenated Americans ... We are all equal American" (Debate pp). The United States will continue to be the melting pot,…
Sources Used in Documents:
Mora, Jill Kerper. "Comparison of Philosophical Assumptions of English-only L2
Instruction vs. Bilingual Education." San Diego State University
Debate on English Only Legislation. U.S. House of Representatives.
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