Bilingual Education

Why Do We not Consider the Benefits? Bilingual education is like the seat belts in the back of your car. They both serve as helpful attachments that can only prepare you for the future. Bilingual education is a form of education in which information is presented to the student in two or more languages. By broadening a student’s scope to two or more languages, students hold an advantage when entering the professional world. The professional world is where work gets serious and adults have to face the real world problems.

Essentially, in the 21st century adults cannot get by at work with just one language. For example, even employees of local ninety-nine cents stores are familiar with two languages such as Spanish and English. If bilingual education can affect such a mediocre job, who knows what fluency in many languages can do in the professional world. Today, in most Los Angeles Public Schools, the students are not all fluent English speakers. There are students who speak several languages other than English, students who only speak English, and even students who only speak one uncommon native language.

In result, schools are filled with diverse groups of students, which is ultimately why Los Angeles Public schools have to prepare all of these numerous groups for their successful future. It is the responsibility of Los Angeles Public schools to require bilingual education because fluency in multiple languages not only benefits the self but also aids the surrounding community. Bilingual and multilingual speakers have greater long-term health benefits than do monolingual speakers. New studies have shown that bilingualism reduces the chances of developing Alzheimer, a common form of dementia.

Recently, Dr. Ellen Bialystok carried out a study for patients diagnosed with Alzheimer at York University in Toronto. In leading the study, she stated, “[Bilingual] [people] perform at a higher level. It won’t stop you [from] getting Alzheimer’s disease but they can cope with the disease for longer (Derbyshire 1). ” Dealing with bilingual education might be complex and strenuous, but all of the hard work pays off in the end because one will receive an education in two languages and also reduce his/her chances of Alzheimer.

Although the effects of bilingual education do not guarantee the prevention of Alzheimer, the results do help fight the disorder longer than monolingual patients can fight it. Aside from the bilingual education’s relationship with Alzheimer, as long as bilingualism plays as a beneficial factor in education first and foremost, there should be no other reason why bilingual education is not required. Giving up a bilingual education program because of money matters is not worth the loss, because bilingual education can produce just as much fruitful results in the future as it is now when people are not spending money on education.

It is a lost opportunity in enhancing California’s education system. In relation to enduring Alzheimer for a longer period, bilingual education also benefits the self as it enhances cognitive skills. Because bilingual education calls for the constant switch of language, students enrolled in the program develop enhanced cognitive skills. Cognitive skills more or less mean the skills of the brain. Bilingual education greatly affects a person usually as an infant, because there is a chance to grasp an equal amount of knowledge for both languages.

Janet Werker, a developmental psychologist from the Univeirsity of B. C. , was studying babies growing up in bilingual environments. In her studies, she discovered that, “not only could [bilingual] [babies] distinguish between the two languages [they] [are] [familiar] [with], but that they also were able to distinguish between languages they weren’t familiar with, such as English and French (Sun 1). ” Werker’s study portrays how bilingual education can affect the brain at such a young age.

The distinction between monolingual and bilingual people is declared at the baby stages, which range from the time of birth to about two years old, of peoples’ lives. Although distinguishing between two languages might not be a specific benefit, the fact that a baby can differentiate between English and French portrays that bilingual education is effective in mental challenges. In addition, Dr. Ellen Bialystok, the leader of the Alzheimer study at York University, believes in enhanced cognitive skills as well.

In the article “People who speak two languages are ‘better at multi-tasking and less likely to develop Alzheimer’s’” she states, “Switching between languages is a stimulating activity – it is like carrying out brain exercises which builds up higher levels of what we call brain or cognitive reserve (Derbyshire 2). ” Because the act of constantly switching back to other languages exercises the brain, the practice allows bilingual people to become more adept in multi-tasking and excel in mental challenges.

The fact that learning to speak two languages enriches brain activity already proves that bilingual education has a beneficial factor towards students. Not only will bilingualism cause brain exercises, but it will also help prevent dementia because juggling two languages improves brain activity. Of course all of these benefits are void now that Proposition 227 is passed. The implementation of Proposition 227 obstructs the opportunity and benefits of the students.

Proposition 227 requires publics schools to teach and give out instructions in English only, if not otherwise suggested by the parents. The proposition was passed on June 2, 1998 with a sixty-one to thirty-nine percent margin. The “California Proposition 227 and Bilingualism” article states, “[Proposition] [227] would essentially require all students to learn English in one year, even though many children need several years of language support (Migration World Magazine 1). ” The only reason why Proposition 227 was passed is because people are too impatient.

People cannot wait on long-term effects, so instead they search for immediate gratification. Parents are too stubborn to realize the educational, professional, and health benefits that follow a bilingual education program. Moreover, Valery Fadeyev, a well-known journalist states, “[The] [authorities] don’t understand that education reform is the only real source for the revitalization of our country (Levy 5). ” Clearly, the same situation of being oblivious to the bilingual education occurs in America as it already does in Russia.

Furthermore, Amy Zabetakis, the author of Proposition 227: Death for Bilingual Education, states that “Ron K. Unz, a millionaire software developer, [led] the campaign in support of Proposition 227, and himself gave the campaign $270,000 (Zbetakis 2). ” Opponents of bilingual education are arguing that they cannot afford the textbooks for the program, but here we have a millionaire wasting $270,000 on a single campaign. Truthfully, it is sad to here Zabetakis support Ron K. Unz when the man does not even know how to spend his money.

If all that money did not go to campaigning, many public schools would have benefited from the textbooks that contain bilingual education. Although businessmen like Unz do not support bilingual education, successful companies like his hire employees with bilingual backgrounds. In the long run, the business world would greatly benefit from the requirement of a bilingual education. The skill of speaking more than one language is a key and crucial element of business, which is why the installment of bilingual education is stressed upon heavily.

All types of business involve meeting people from all over the world, whether it may be dealing with a simple phone call from across the world or as complex as flying out to a foreign country for a business meeting. In either situation, bilingual people hold an advantage with the knowledge of more than one language. Domenico Maceri, the writer of “Plural Benefits of Bilingual Education,” states, “Smart companies use many ways to communicate with their customers and inform them about services and products” (Maceri 1).

A subtle interpretation of Maceri’s quote is that smart Los Angeles public schools use many ways to communicate with their students, which is ultimately achieved through a bilingual education program. In addition, Maceri’s assertion about exploiting different communication tactics implies that bilingualism is bound to bring in better results than monolingualism because different communication tactics cannot be reached through a single language. Monolingualism reaches its restrictions and limitations quickly, whereas bilingualism allows for more options and choices.

An example that best displays the successfulness of bilingual communication tactics is the Verizon Wireless advertisement. Verizon Wireless would not have been as successful as they are currently if it was not for its multiple advertisements translated into several foreign languages. Now, the advertisement is grabbing attention to a bigger community, instead of limiting their customers to only native English speakers. The most important point about this example is that none of these positive results would have been reached if it were not for the requirement of bilingual education.

All the big companies were capable of producing multiple foreign advertisements because they had employees who experienced a bilingual education. Bilingual education in Los Angeles Public Schools should adhere to the callings of the individual student. Because not everyone speaks and understands the same languages, some students, more than others, hold an advantage or disadvantage when placed in bilingual education. Everyone has dreams they want to accomplish one day and in order to achieve them people need time.

By allowing bilingual education to become optional, Los Angeles Public Schools could possibly see a rise in grade point average. This change would also allow more opportunity to focus on activities that actually interest the students. Then students would ultimately become one step closer in attaining their dreams. Works Cited “California Proposition 227 and Bilingualism. ” Migration World Magazine 26. 4. Print. Derbyshire, David. “People Who Speak Two Languages Are ‘better at Multi-tasking and Less Likely to Develop Alzheimer’s'” Mail Online.

Print. Levy, Clifford J. “My Family’s Experiment in Extreme Schooling. ” New York Times. New York Times, 18 Sept. 2011. Web 17 Sept. 2011 Maceri, Domenico. “Plural Benefits of Bilingual Education. ” San Gabriel Valley Tribune (California) (2006). Print. Sun, Vancouver. “The Benefits of Bilingual Education. ” The Vancouver Sun (British Columbia). Print. Zabetakis, Amy. “PROPOSITION 227: DEATH FOR BILINGUAL EDUCATION? ” Georgetown Immigration Law Journal 105-28 13. 1 (1998). Web. 18 Oct. 2011.

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