Official Language Movement

CheckPoint:   The Official Language Movement
Two Opposing Views of Bilingualism
The passing of Proposition 227 is an example of how the voters of California truly feel in regard to bilingual education in the United States.   This type of education is viewed as “the poisonous brew… [that] threatens to destroy the tradition of American assimilation” (Ramos, 1999).   The Spanish Ministry of Education and the British Council collaborated to design a pilot-program in which schools with low enrollment engaged in a dual-language English-Spanish program that shadowed students until the end of their required schooling.   Instructional time was designed as a 60/40 split between Spanish and English, and is designed to teach 60% in the student’s fluent language, Spanish, with the remaining 40% in English.   The instructional split allows students to learn in their native language while he or she acquires knowledge of the British culture, such as holiday traditions, seasons, and foods as well as the academics.   Results from the parents and the students were astonishing, along with the school’s administration acknowledging a high increase on the “socioeconomic level of the students” (Ramos, 1999) since implementing the test program.   Recognizing the overall positive effects of the experiment, “programs similar to this one can help ease the fears about bilingualism and bilingual education expressed by Californians in the last election” (Ramos, 1999).

Ramos, F. (June/July 1999). Two Opposing Views of Bilingualism. ESOL Matters .Vol. 9, No. 3. Retrieved from:
People speaking two different languages are considered bilingual, and with the daily increase of immigrants new to the United States, bilingualism may seem normal when in fact the United States is more abnormal in comparison to other countries.   “The norm for most of the world’s societies” (Birner, 2010) is multilingualism, or speaking...