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[Susan notes: Stephen Krashen nails the research.]

Published in Education Week
05/14/2003

To the editor


Who Is 'Ignorant' On Bilingual Ed.?

Tom Horne, in his letter of April 30, 2003 ("A Clarification on Bilingual Claims"), accuses Sean Fleming of showing, in an earlier letter, an "amazing ignorance" of research in bilingual education ("Arizona Is Wrong on Bilingual Rules," Letters, April 2, 2003) because he did not cite an article that appeared in the Fall 2002
edition of Education Next. Mr. Horne claims that article shows that immersion students do better than bilingual education students in the long run, earning more money and entering higher-status occupations.

Mr. Horne needs to take a careful look at this paper, written by Joseph M. Guzman. It has serious flaws.

The largest flaw is Mr. Guzman's definition of bilingual education. Subjects in the study were defined as participating in bilingual education if they ever studied a subject taught in a foreign language. This could be one class, part of a class, or 10 years of study-we have no idea. Mr. Guzman also defined bilingual education as excluding classes in English as a second language. All properly organized bilingual programs include ESL. Mr. Guzman also did not
consider the kind of bilingual education his subjects experienced; it has been established that some kinds of models of bilingual education
are more effective than others.

Finally, subjects in Joseph Guzman's study participated in bilingual programs in the early 1970s. At this time, bilingual programs were
rare and not well developed. He himself refers to his definition of bilingual education as "coarse." It is more than that: It is wrong.

Tom Horne does not mention the massive scientific evidence in favor of bilingual education. Nearly every scholar who has reviewed the scientific research has concluded that bilingual education works.

Children in bilingual programs acquire at least as much English as children in all-English immersion programs and usually acquire more.
The most recent review of this research, by Jay P. Greene of the Manhattan Institute, found that use of the native language has positive effects, and that "efforts to eliminate the use of the
native language in instruction ... harm children by denying them access to beneficial approaches."


Stephen Krashen


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