English Only Debate

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English is gaining wider popularity around the world as the universal language, yet 20 percent of the people in America speak a language other than English when they are at home (Crawford, 2005). Our language is a strong cultural symbol and the nationalistic feelings of the recent years have brought about a call for English only legislation.


Some of the first casualties of the English only program would be the immigrant children who are in the process of learning English. America values its legal immigrant population and children need to be assimilated into the language as well as society. Bilingual education allows the children to continue to learn in both languages and allows them to keep pace with their classmates. An English only system would ban bilingual education in the public classroom. While a bilingual class could teach the child US History in their native tongue, an English only program could offer them no chance of learning about America's past. If the educational system fails to adequately support these students at this point in their education it will decrease their potential for success and increase the chances that they will become an economic burden to the system sometime in the future.
States such as California and Arizona have debated and implemented bans on bilingual education, but Utah has gone farther by considering a bill that would require most all public business to be conducted in English only. When public notices and records are printed in a foreign language, it helps the non-English speaker to fully understand their rights and obligations. ...
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