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[Susan notes: Three cheers for Krashen for calling the paper on language. Common-sense, indeed.]

Submitted to Dallas Morning News but not published

To the editor

The Morning News (“No easy, cheap fix for DISD,”

January 18) describes the new Dallas Independent

School District plan as ranging “ from the

common-sense – ensuring a common curriculum across the

district – to the aggressive – implementation a

district-wide, fully-staffed bilingual program. “ I

think the adjectives are misplaced. Installing a

“common curriculum” is aggressive, and when taken to

extremes (children in every grade level learn the same

material at the same time) ensures that many children

will be either bored or confused.

Bilingual education is common-sense. Bilingual

programs use the first language in a way that

accelerates English language development: It is easier

to learn to read in a language you understand, and

once you can read in one language, this ability

transfers rapidly across languages. Also, learning

subject matter in the first language provides

knowledge that makes English input more

comprehensible, which also speeds language

acquisition. Study after study has confirmed that this

is true: Children in bilingual education typically do

better on tests of English reading than comparison

children in all-English alternatives.

Stephen Krashen

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