Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

[Susan notes: This letter does a great job in answering specific charges and will be useful for others to use as a model.]

Submitted to Foreign Policy but not published

To the editor

Samuel Huntington ("The Hispanic challenge,"

March/April, 2004) claims that bilingual education

programs in the US now authorize cultural maintenance, and, "as a result, children are slow to join mainstream classes." False. Nearly all

bilingual education programs in the United States are transitional, their goal being rapid acquisition of English. Also, despite the negative press it has received, bilingual education, whether transitional or maintenance, has been very successful in helping children acquire English. Studies show that English

learners in bilingual programs acquire at least as

much English as similar children do in all-English

immersion programs, and generally acquire more.

Huntington also claims that "Spanish-language

advocates" are actively trying to change the US into a bilingual society. I am an active member of state and national bilingual education associations in the US: Any movement toward making the US bilingual is imperceptible. Our goal is to help all children become literate in English: We have discovered ways of using

the first language in ways that help children acquire English more quickly and do better in school. This is the primary goal.

It is also highly desirable to promote and develop the primary language: Research confirms that those who develop their "heritage language" show superior cognitive development, have increased job opportunities, and benefit more from the wisdom of their heritage culture. There is no movement, however, to force monolingual English speakers in the US to become bilingual. Those "Hispanic leaders" that Huntington quotes who claim "English is not enough" represent an extremist view.

Stephen Krashen, Emeritus Professor, USC

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.