The Role Of Bilingualism In Education

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According to Psychology Today, around eighteen percent of Americans are bilingual. While eighteen percent may seem like a small portion of the population, this translates to fifty one million Americans who speak a second language. The steady growth of bilingualism in America has made way for many debates surrounding the role of multiple languages in society and education. Martin Espada, a poet and advocate for the Spanish language, uses his works to defend the right of Latinos to speak their own language. He defines bilingualism as a link between people and culture, allowing them to adopt their cultural identities. Meanwhile, Richard Rodriguez holds a different viewpoint on the debate. According to Rodriguez, Spanish is a private language and English is a public one. Rodriguez portrays bilingualism as a pathway to public society, allowing social connections to take place. While the word itself simply means the ability to speak more than one language, the idea behind bilingualism exceeds this definition. Bilingualism allows people to preserve the language of their ancestors and tie them to their roots. Culture can be kept alive when bilingualism is present in our modern society.
In his essay, The New Bathroom Policy at English High School, Espada offers many opinions on the role of bilingualism in education. Raised as a bilingual child, he argues that children have the right to speak their second language in school. Espada describes the withdrawal of this right through an
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