Crisis in the Southwest: Bilingual Education Program Inconsistencies

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					       Crisis in the Southwest

     Bilingual Education Program

               Yadira Gallo, Martha Garcia,
              Lucia Pinuelas, & Irene Youngs

	    Staff development is too often inad-                 bilingual education is a process, one           prepare all students to succeed in the bilin-
equate or overlooked in bilingual educa-                  which educates students to be effective         gual employment market. It is an injustice
tion. Rather, bilingual educators are forced              in a second language while maintaining          if students are not given the tools necessary
to seek outside resources and strategies                  and nurturing their first language.             to learn, write, read, and experience such
because of inconsistencies in school district                 As Necochea and Cline (2000) state:         knowledge. To examine such issues, our
bilingual programs. In this article we, four                                                              analysis looks at, compares, and contrasts
                                                            Primary language support is a validation
bilingual taechers, will offer a “crash”                    of the child’s language and culture which     bilingual programs in three of the largest
course for other teachers who may be look-                  facilitates self esteem to be maintained,     districts in a southwest city in Texas.
ing for solid information about bilingual                   stress to be reduced and education to be            While discussing the bilingual edu-
education.                                                  a positive experience as access to the core   cation programs that exist in and near
     We will first define and discuss bi-                   curriculum is provided. (p. 323)              our city, we came to the conclusion that
lingual education and its history. We will                                                                something must be done about the lack of
report on our analysis of the current bilin-              Key Terms                                       consistency within school districts betwen
gual programs in a Southwestern United                        Following are key terms we will em-         districts. The curricula reflected in the cur-
States border city, and explain why we                    ploy in our presentation and analysis:          rent bilingual education programs in our
find them lacking. Based upon this infor-                                                                 Southwest border city are not consistent in
mation, we present then a research-based                    LEP: Limited English Proficiency              meeting the needs of ELL students from
ideal bilingual program that focuses on                     ELL: English Language Learners                classroom to classroom and district to dis-
student success.                                            ESOL: English for Speakers                    trict. We feel it is imperative to develop a
                                                             of Other Languages or English                bilingual curriculum that meets the needs
        Bilingual Education Defined                          as a Second or Other Language                of all ELL children through the same stan-
                                                            LAS: Language Assessment Scale                dards, expectations, and goals across the
     In order for us to develop our plan of                 TAKS: Texas Assessment                        city in order to close the current gaps and
action, we first agreed on a definition for                  of Knowledge and Skills                      assure success for all students.
bilingual education. From our perspec-
                                                                                                                If we do not prepare our students
tive, bilingual education is a compilation                               Introduction                     for the future we will undoubtedly iso-
of multicultural views through which
                                                               LEP, ELL, ESOL, sheltered, what            late them from a multilingual world
diversity is enriched and bilingualism
                                                          shall we label you? Bilingual education         that involves interaction among various
becomes the ability to communicate ef-
                                                          has been the subject of debate for many         languages, peoples, and countries. Some
fectively in two or more languages with
                                                          decades. Yet we are living in a society that    school districts in our Southwest border
a similar degree of proficiency. Hence,
                                                          needs to look forward to world interaction      city are not addressing these needs. There
                                                          and self-improvement. Individuals are           are many gaps in the infrastructure of the
                                                          valued for the ability to speak and think       bilingual education programs we have
      Yadira Gallo is a third grade bilingual teacher,
                                                          in different languages. Teaching for and        studied. Our goal has been to analyze each
               Martha Garcia is a special education
                                                          assuring a quality education for all must       of the three main school districts in our
                                     bilingual teacher,
                                                          include these abilities and values.             city and then to suggest an ideal bilingual
  Lucia Pinuelas is a kindergarten bilingual teacher,
                                                               In the United States, and specifically     program customized through our research
  and Irene Youngs is a fifth grade bilingual teacher,
                                                          in the Southwest, a quality education must      and interviews.
                                all in El Paso, Texas.

                                                                MULTICULTURAL EDUCATION
          A Look through Time                   violation of their civil rights,” according to   three third grade bilingual teachers. Mrs.
                                                the U. S. Supreme Court in the 1974 Lau          Palomino has four years of teaching experi-
     We found that Limited English Profi-       v. Nichols decision. This class-action suit      ence, Mrs. Viera has 14 years experience,
cient (LEP)1 students in the United States      against the San Francisco Public School          and Mrs. Calderon has five years experi-
were being discriminated against, most          District ruled that Chinese students were        ence. We also spoke with a special educa-
particularly Hispanics in elementary and        being denied their rights under Title VI.        tion bilingual teacher of three years, Mrs.
secondary school settings. A significant        The lawsuit made it illegal to place LEP         Sanchez, and with Mrs. Diaz, a bilingual
number of Hispanic students are being           students in a clas
Description: [...] bilingual education is a process, one which educates students to be effective in a second language while maintaining and nurturing their first language. The memorandum was to clarify the responsibility of the school districts and stated in part, Where inability to speak and understand the English language excludes national origin minority-group children from effective participation in the educational program offered by a school district, the district must take affirmative steps to rectify the language deficiency in order to open its instructional program to these students. "When children arrive in school with little or no English-speaking ability, 'sink or swim' instruction is a violation of their civil rights," according to the U. S. Supreme Court in the 1974 Lau v. Nichols decision.\n Personnel Personnel with the will to educate students monitor quality of instruction, embrace innovation, and persist in their commitment to students and to improving education.
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