[Susan notes: Wouldn't it be great if an exhaltation of letter writers across the country could counter every misrepresentation about education?]
Published in Yakima Herald-Republic
Washington State officials are right to question
Wapato’s School District decision to weaken bilingual
programs by reducing the use of the native language.
Bilingual director David Juarez’s assertion that the
use of both the native language and English will
retard the development in English is false (Greene,
1998; Krashen and McField, 2005). Research in second
language acquisition consistently shows that the use
of the native language accelerates the acquisition of
English, the opposite of Juarez’s belief. The
proposed “remedy” to the “problem” of students’ rate
of English language acquisition is problematic for
two reasons: one is that more time spent in English,
the “time on task” hypothesis, has no credible
evidence to support it (Crawford, 1998), and two,the
amount of time students are given to acquire
academic, grade level English proficiency is being
driven by arbitrary English language testing deadlines
which are totally unrelated to second language
acquisition research (Collier, 1987, 1992, 1995;
Cummins, 1981, 1984, 2000), an therefore akin to
killing the patient with the so-called medicine.
Below I provide references for the statements of fact,
to comply with your policy regarding such statements in letters to the editor.
Collier, V.P. (1987) Age and Rate of Acquisition of
Second Language for Academic
Purposes. TESOL Quarterly 21, 617-41.
_________. (1992) A Synthesis of Studies Examining
Long-Term Language Minority Students Data on Academic
Achievement. Bilingual Education Research Journal 16,
_________. (1995) Promoting Academic Success for ESL
Students. Elizabeth, N.J. TESOL-BE. Crawford, J.
(1998) Ten Common Fallacies About Bilingual Education.
Eric Digest Online, EDO-FL-98-10. Retrieved Jan 29,
Cummins, J. (1981) The Role of Primary Language
Development in Promoting Educational Success for
Language Minority Students. In California State
Department of Education (ed.) Schooling and Language
Minority Students: A Theoretical Rationale (pp. 3-49).
Los Angeles, CA:
California State University.
__________. (1984) Bilingualism and Special
Education: Issues in Assessment and Pedagogy. San
Diego, CA: College-Hill Press.
__________. (2000) Language, Power and Pedagogy:
Bilingual Children in the Crossfire.
Clevedon: Multilingual Matters.
Greene, J. 1998. A Meta-Analysis of the Effectiveness
of Bilingual Education. Claremont,
CA: Tomas Rivera Policy Institute.
Krashen, S.D. and McField, G. (2005) What Works?
Reviewing the Latest Evidence on
Bilingual Education. Language Learner vol. 1:2, 7-10.