Societal Attitudes Affecting Bilingual Education

1296 Words Dec 14th, 2015 6 Pages
Societal Attitudes Affecting Bilingual Education
Bilingual education in the United States is constantly debated. It is often misunderstood. As Freeman (2000) notes, part of the confusion is caused by the fact that the term refers to a wide range of bilingual programs and practices (p. 204). Practitioners in the field of bilingual education who have educational and linguistic backgrounds strive to implement the most educationally sound policies, programs, and practices in order to best serve the needs of the growing population of English language learners in the United States. These policymakers, language educators, parents, and community members, however, constantly battle opposition that is not always based on truths and evidence, but are rather based on myths, misconceptions, and prejudices.
In order to make the best possible decisions for English language learners, language planners have to be knowledgeable about not only language development but also become better informed around the communities they plan to serve. Being that the United States is both multilingual and multicultural, one would assume that the need for bilingual education services in this country would naturally be supported. This is not the case. There are areas in the United States where racially prejudiced attitudes are prevalent and such services are simply denied or prohibited. In such areas the fight for bilingual education is undoubtedly more difficult. Ironically, the transformative change needed…
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