Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Krashen on Newt Gingrich and Bilingual Programs

Sent to USA Today, Posted on Washington Post website,
April 1
Re: Gingrich critical of bilingual education (April 1)
Newt Gingrich is wrong and Peter Zamora is right:
Bilingual education does a better job of helping
children acquire English than English "immersion."
Bilingual programs use the child?s first language in
ways that accelerate English language development.
In the last two years, four major reviews (including
one from the US government) have been published
confirming that children in bilingual programs do
better on tests of English reading than those in
all-English programs, including one report from the US government.
Stephen Krashen
The four major reviews:
1. Slavin, R. and Cheung, A. 2005. A synthesis of
research of reading instruction for English language
learners, Review of Educational Research 75(2):
2. Rolstad, K., Mahoney, K., & Glass, G. 2005. The big
picture: A meta-analysis of program effectiveness
research on English language learners. Educational
Policy 19(4): 572-594.
3. Genesse, F., Lindolm-Leary, K., Saunders, W., and
Christian, D. 2005. English Language Learners in U.S.
Schools: An Overview of Research. Journal of
Education for Students Placed at Risk, 10(4), 363?385.
4. Francis, D., Lesaux, N., & August, D. 2006.
Language of instruction, In D. August & T. Shanahan,
(Eds.) Developing literacy in second-language
learners, pp. 365-413. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Gingrich critical of bilingual education
USA Today, April 1
WASHINGTON (AP) : Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich
equated bilingual education Saturday with "the
language of living in a ghetto" and mocked
requirements that ballots be printed in multiple
"The government should quit mandating that various
documents be printed in any one of 700 languages
depending on who randomly shows up" to vote, said
Gingrich, who is considering seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He made the comments in a speech to the National Federation of Republican Women. "The American people believe English should be the official language of the government. ... We should replace bilingual education with immersion in English so people learn the common language of the country and they learn the language of prosperity, not the language of living in a ghetto," Gingrich said to cheers from the crowd of more than 100. "Citizenship requires passing a test on American history in English. If that's true, then we do not have to create ballots in any language except English," he said. Peter Zamora, co-chair of the Washington-based Hispanic Education Coalition, which supports bilingual education, said, "The tone of his comments were very hateful. Spanish is spoken by many individuals who do not live in the ghetto."
He said research has shown "that bilingual education
is the best method of teaching English to non-English speakers." Spanish-speakers, he said, know they need to learn English. "There's no resistance to learning English, really, among immigrants, among native-born citizens. Everyone wants to learn English because it's what you need to thrive in this country." In the past, Gingrich has supported making English the nation's official language. He has also said all American children should learn English and that other languages should be secondary in schools. In 1995, for example, he said bilingualism poses "long term dangers to the fabric of our nation" and that "allowing bilingualism to continue to grow is very dangerous." Bilingual programs teach students reading, arithmetic and other basic skills in their native language so they do not fall behind while mastering English. On voting, federal law requires districts with large populations of non-English speakers to print ballots in multiple languages.