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Amy Manely Bonifaz

PLC 515

Spring 2008

Bilingual Education



Bilingual
Education
Position
Paper















Bonifaz,
Amy 
 2 
 E

Bilingual
Education
Position
Paper















Bonifaz,
Amy 


2

E

steemed
Board
M embers
of
the
Vista
Unified
School
District,


The
California
Department
of
Education
reports
119,
894
English
Language
L earners
i n
 San
Diego
County.

 This
is
an
increase
of
23%
from
the
1996‐ 97
school
year
(CA
 Department
of
Education 
2007
Census).

 
 Thirty‐ one
percent
of
Vista
Unified
School
District
 (VUSD)
students
are
 classified
as
English
Language
learners ,
the
g reatest
percentage
 among 
North
County
Districts.

 The
US
Office
of
Civil
Rights
notes
that
the
“ insufficient
 language
proficiency
of
 [ELLs]
often
results
in
classr oom
failure
and
school
drop‐ out.” 
 In
 2004, 
 VUSD
replaced
its
transitional
bilingual
program s
with 
‘structured
immersion’
 programs.

 The
change
came
when
 VUSD’s
 bilingual 
programs
failed
to
 “ [provide]
results
as
 quickly
as
possible
in
terms
of
standardized
testing,”
as
 expressed
by
Superintendent
Dave
 Cowles .

 At
that
time , 
18
schools
in
VUSD
were
failing
to
meet
proficiency
standards
under
 the
federal
No
Child
Left
Behind
Act
of
2001
because
of
the
low
 scores
of
non‐ English
 speaking
students .

 This
departure
from
bilingual
education 
 inhibits
equal
 education
 opportunities
for
language
minority
students
and
is 
 inconsistent
with
research
that


establish es
the
value
of
 primary
language
instruction .

 


A
Bilingual
Education
program 
that


promotes
dual ‐ language
literacy , 
by
developing
students’
home
language 
(L1)
and
English


(L2)
to
produce
balanced
bilinguals,
is 
the
most
appropriate
education
for
linguistically


diverse
students.



This
paper
is
an
invitation
to
re ‐ evaluate 
the
 achievement
and
 potential


of
the
linguistically
diverse
population
of
 VUSD
by 
a ddressing:


Educational
principles
that
support
and
promote
equal
educational
opportunity 


The
legal
base s
and
statutes
that
support
the
educational
rights
of
 linguistically
 diverse
students


School
responsibility
to
address
the
linguistic,
academic
and
social
development
of
 linguistically
diverse
students 


E ducational 
opportunity
and
educational
excellence
in
a
bilingual
program 


Equal
Educational
Opportunity
is
equal
access
to
education
regardless
of
immutable
 differences
that
can
be
extended
to
include
a
stude nt’s
limited
proficiency
in
English.

 
Like
 other
children
with
special
needs,
such
as;
gifted
and
talented
children,
disabled
children


Bilingual
Education
Position
Paper















Bonifaz,
Amy 


3

and
children
with
health
impairments,
children
with
limited
English
have
the
right
to
an
 appropriate
education
that
ensu res
their
academic
achievement.

 Before
reaching
the
 common
goal
of
academic
achievement,
a
minority
language
student
must
first
meet
the
 goals
of
English
language
proficiency
and
proper
psychosocial
adjustment .

 
To
meet
these
 goals,
certain
educational
p rinciples,
unique
to
English
Language
learners,
need
to
be
in
 place. 


The
foremost
basic
principal
 is
to
recognize
that
the
development
of
basic
 communicative
competency
in
a
second
language
is
a
function
of
comprehensible
language
 input
and
a
supportive
 affective
environment.

 
 There
are
numerous
accommodations
 appropriate
to
English
 language
learners
that
 assist
instructional
input
accessibility .



S trategies
that
help
all
learners
such
as 
employing
the
use
of
visuals,
 real ‐ li fe
objects,
and 
 graphic
organizers
 also
help
English
learners .

 
However,
it
is
necessary
that
these
 strategies
be
teamed
with
an
understanding
and
appreciation
for
a
child’s
cultural
and
 linguistic
background .

 
Language
is 
understandable 
when 
it
builds
on
student’s
prior
 knowledge .
 
 
For
example,
in
addition
to
a
high
frequency
word
wall,
a
teacher
might
also
 have
a
Spanish/ English
cognate
word
wall
that
utilizes 
the
prior
knowledge
of
students
 whose
primary
language
is
Spanish .

 A
supportive
affective
environment
recognizes
a
 student’s
academic
achievement
in
their
strongest
language .

 Students
should
be
given
the
 opportunity
to
perform
challenging
academic
tasks
in
the
language
they
are
most
able
to .

 As
they
learn
English,
students ’ 
errors
should
be
accepted
as
part
of
the
learning
process.

 
 The
most
supportive
affective
environment
is
that
which
develops
both
languages
to
 promulgate
positive
self ‐ concepts,
family
cohesiveness,
and
academic
achievement
 (Miramontes,
pg .

 40).

 
 In 
 short, 
education
policies
and
‘bilingual’
prog rams
need
to
 communicate
to
students
that
their
bilingualism
is
an
asset,
not
a
liability .

 


This
takes
us
to
the
next
principle,
which
is
the
 need
to
develop
both
communicative
 and
academic
language
skills
in
English
and
the
student’s
primary
language .

 
 Jim
Cummins
 makes
the
distinction
between
basic
interpersonal
communicative
skills
(BICS)
and
 cognitive/academic
language
proficiency
(CALP).

 
B asic
int erpersonal
communicative
 skills 
are
the
skills
necessary
to
participate
in
simple
‘fa ce‐ to ‐ face’
conversation
that
rel ies
 heavily
on
context
cues
such
as
non ‐ verbal
gestures.

 
 These
basic
communicative
language


Bilingual
Education
Position
Paper















Bonifaz,
Amy 


4

skills
are
what
one
might
learn
in
a
beginning
foreign
language
class .

 
 Acquiring
‘surface
 fluency ’ 
includes
the
ability
t o
hold
a
simple
conversation
 an d
may
be
a cquired
in
as
little
 as
two
to
three
years 
by
second
language
learning
(Baker,
pg .

 13).

T his
level
of
language
 acquisition
is
insufficient
for
school
success.

 W ith
each
subsequent 
grade
level
comes
 higher
cognitive
and
academic
demands
and
this
is
when
 English
learners
without
 sufficient
academic
language
skills
fall
behind .

 English
learners
need
extra
language
 support
and
instruction
for
an
extended
period
of
time.

 A cademic
language
proficiency
in
a
 second
language
may
take
from
five
 to
eight
years
to
acquire
(Baker,
pg .
 13).

 
 English
 immersion
followed
by
a
quick
exit
into
English
mainstream
impedes
these
students ’
 access
to
higher
education
by
failing
to
develop
students’
higher
order
thinking
skills
and
 content 
knowledge
 at
 grade‐ appropriate
levels 
as
they
learn
English .

 


Cummins’
common
underlying
proficiency
view
of
bilingualism
maintains
that
both 
 acquisition
of
first
and
second
language 
can
contribute
to
a
common
central
thinking
 system
that 
serves
as
a
foundation
for
both .

 
There
are
skills
that
are
not
connected
to
a
 particular
language
 such
as
number
computation,
using
a
computer,
reading
strategies
and
 punctuation .

 Language
knowledge
transfers
(interdependence
hypothesis).

 
Research
by
 Verhoeven
(1994)
suggests
that
there
is
positive
transfer
between
languages
in
 literacy 
 skills
(Baker,
pg .
 415).

 When 
students
learn
these
skills 
in
their
native
language , 
the se
 skills
t ransfer
easily 
to
their
 second
language .

 
This
third
 educational
principle
shows
that
 the
ability 
to
maste r
cognitively
demanding
tasks
in
a
context ‐ reduced
(academic)
 environment
in
a
primary
language
paves
the
way 
for
the
bilingual
student
to
perform
 similar
tasks
in
English .

 
 Cummins
extends
this
concept
by
proposing
the
‘threshold
 hypothesis’,
which
suggests
that 
without
a
threshold
level
of
aptitude
in
a
student’s
 primary
language,
second
language
will
taper
when
academic
task
difficulty
increases .

 
 In
 order
to
avoid
cognitive
deficits
and
to
obtain
the
cognitive
benefits
of
being
bilingual,
 stu dents
must
also 
achieve
CALP
in
their
primary
language.

 For
elementary
level
students,
 this
translates
into
primary
language
instruction .

 Children
with
a
strong
foundation
in
 their
primary
language
acquire
English
more
 readily
and
 completely .

 During
primary
 language
instruction
students
will
be
engaged
in
grade ‐ appropriate
academic
tasks,
which


Bilingual
Education
Position
Paper















Bonifaz,
Amy 


5

means
that
they
will
receive
an
education
comparable
to 
that
of 
their
peers.

 In
order
to
 reach
their
academic
potential,
language
minority
students
need
to
devel op
both
languages. 


Court
cases
and
federal
law
have
forced
bilingual
instruction
in
an
attempt
to
 compensate
for
educational
practices
that
have
in
the
past
denied
equal
access
to
 educational/economic
opportunities
to
language
minority
students
by
denying
 primary


language
instruction .

 
These
legal
bases
protect
the
rights
of
 ethnolinguistic 
students .

 
The


drive
towards
equal
educational
opportunity
can
be
traced
back
to
the
14

the
U.S .

 Constitution.

 It
declares
that
the
state
shall
not
deny
any
person


property
or
equal
protection
under
the
law .

 It
was
one
of
three
 amendments
created
to
 ensure
the
Civil
rights
act
of
1964.

 In
1963, 
President
John
F.

 Kennedy
urged
the
country
 to
gua rantee
the
equal
treatment
of
all
Am ericans,
regardless
of
race
and
advocated
for
 nondiscriminatory
practices
in
federally
assisted
programs.

 
His
proposal
gave
birth
to
the
 Civil
Rights
act
of
1964.

 The
title
VI
regulatory
requirements
of
the
Civil
Rights
Act 
have
 since
been
interpreted
to
prohibit
denial
of
equal
access
to
education
because
of
a
students’
 limited
proficiency
in
English.

 


th 
amendment
to
 of
life,
liberty,


In
1954
the
Brown
versus
Board
of
Education
of
Topeka,
Kansas
federal
court
ruling


established
that
separate
public
 schools
for
black
and
white
students
denied
black
children
 equal
educational
opportunities .

 The
Warren
Court’s
unanimous
(9‐ 0)
decision
stated
that 
 “separate
educational
facilities
are
inherently
unequal.”
As
a
 result ,
separate
schools
were
 ruled
a
violat ion
of
the
Equal
Protection
Clause
of
the
Fourteenth
Amendment
of
the
United
 States
Constitution .

 This
victory
paved
the
way
for
integration
and
the
civil
rights
 movement.


The
Lau
versus
Nichols
supreme
court
ruling
of
1974
stated
that,
“there
is
no
equal ity
of
 treatment
merely
by
providing
students
with
the
same
facilities,
textbooks,
teachers
and
 curriculum;
for
students
who
do
not
understand
English
are
effectively
foreclosed
from
any
 meaningful
education.”
In
this
case,
13
Chinese ‐ American
students
wit h
limited
English 
 proficiency
filed
suit
against
the
San
 Francisco
Board
of
Education
for
not
providing
 linguistically
appropriate 
 accommodations.

 They
argued
that
their
rights
were
violated
in
 non‐ compliance
with
the
Civil
Rights
act
of
1974
because
they 
were
denied
equal


Bilingual
Education
Position
Paper















Bonifaz,
Amy 


6

educational
opportunities
on
the
basis
of
their
 ethnicity,
which
is
closely
tied
to
language .

 
 In
response
to
the
Lau
decision,
the
U.S.

 Office
of
Civil
Rights
issued
a
set
of
guidelines
for
 schools
to
follow
in
order
to
obtain
Lau
com pliance .

 These
guidelines
have
since
served
as
 interpretive
federal
guidelines
for
districts
to
follow.

 In
Alberto
Ochoa’s
article,
“Language
 Policy
and
Social
Implications
for
Addressing
the
Bicultural
Immigrant
Experience
in
the
 United
States,”
he
expo unds,
 “regardless
of
how
much
good
faith
a
school
district
may
be
 exercising
in
trying
to
meet
the
problem,
the
only
relevant
factor
is
whether
the
child
 receives
a
‘meaningful’
and
‘comprehensible’
education
and
effective
participation
in
the
 educational
 program.”

 


In
1981
Roy
Castañ eda,
the
father
of
two
Mexican ‐ American
children
filed
against
the
 Raymondville
Independent
School
District
(RISD)
in
Texas
for
discriminating
against
his
 children
because
of
their
ethnicity.

 He
argued
that
the
classroom
his
children
were
taught
 in,
was
segregating,
 and
using 
 criteria
for
classrooms
that
was
ethnically
and
racially
 discriminating.

 Mr .
 Casta ñeda
also
reported
that
RISD
failed
to
establish
sufficient
 bilingual
education
programs
to
aid
his
children
in
overcoming
the
language
barriers
that
 prevented
them
 from
participating
 equally
in
the
classroom .

 On
August
17,
1978
the
court
 system
ruled
in
favor
of
the
district
stating
that
they
had
not
violated
any
of
the
children’s
 constitutional
rights .

 Castañeda
filed
for
an
appeal
and
in
1981
the
Fifth
Court
of
Appeals
 ruled
in
favor
of
the
Castañedas.

 As
a
result,
 the
court
decision
established
a
three‐ part
 assessment
for
determining
how
bilingual
education
programs
would
be
held
responsible
 for
meeting
the
requirements
of
the
Equal
Education
Opportunity
Act
of
1974 .

 The
criteria
 is
listed
below: 


The
bilingual
education
program
must
be
“based
on
soun d
educational
theory.” 


The
program
must
be
“implemented
effectively
with
resources
for
personnel,
 instructional
materials,
and
space.” 


After
a
trial
period,
the
program
must
be
proven
effective
in
overcoming
language
 barriers/handicaps.


To
address
the
linguistic
needs
of
ethnolinguistic
students
the
school
must
 create
a 
 bilingual
and
multicultural
learning
environme nt .

 This
includes
the
knowledge
of
diversity


Bilingual
Education
Position
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Bonifaz,
Amy 


7

and
the
 awareness
of
the
existence
of
regional
 differences
in
languages.

 The
program
must
 incorporate
primary
language
literacy
and
an
English
language
development
component .

 
 It
must
support
grade ‐ level
language
tasks
in
their
strongest
language
as
well
as
maximize
 opportunities
to
use
the
target
language
(e.g .
 choral
response,
singing
simple
thematic
 songs,
interaction
with
English
speaking
peers
etc.) .

 The
racial
and
linguistic
make ‐ up
of
 the
school
personnel
should
mirror
the
racial
and
linguistic
make ‐ up
of
its
students
and
 community .

 A
teacher
proficient
in
a
student’s
primary
language
is
mor e
capable
of
 providing
biased‐ free
assessment,
placement
and
instruction
to
English
learners .

 Finally,
 the
schools
with
English
learners
should
provide
professional
development
that
addresses
 the
needs
of
their
linguistically
diverse
learners.

 


To
assure
the
academic
development
of
ethnolinguistic
students,
instruction
in
L2


(English)
should
be
made
comprehensible
(via
ELD
instruction/materials)
and
instruction


in
L1
(strongest,
primary
language)
should
be
grade
appropriate
and
academically


challeng ing .

 
While
seemingly
a
language
issue,
primary
language
instruction,
based
on
the
 time
it
takes
to
learn
a
second
language
and
the
threshold
hypothesis,
is
really
an
issue
of
 achievement.

 
The
emphasis
and
exposure
to
academic
language
while
the
child
i s
still
 learning
English
is
crucial .

 The
development
of
higher
order
thinking
skills
and
 metacognition 
in
their
strongest
language 
is
equally
important .

 This
can
be
accomplished
 through
the
use
of
webbing,
questioning
techniques
and
exposure
to
grade ‐ lev el
concepts
 in
all
content
areas .

 


To
address
the
social
development
of
ethnolinguistic
students
there
needs
to
exist
 cultural
affirmation
and
value
for
all
students’
home
languages
and
cultures
within
the
 school.

 
The
school
needs
to
have
an
open‐ door
policy
where
there
exists
a
sense
of
school
 ownership
by
the
community .

 Santos ‐ Rivera
et
al
 propose
that
“the
school
must
take
 initiative
in
the
development
of
school/community
participation”
(Santos ‐ Rivera
et
al,
pg .

 7).

 
 This
can
be
accomplished
through
 genuine 
communication
with
parents, 
community
 outreach/involvement 
and
by
providing
after‐ school
activities
for
the
students.

 

 


It
is
becomes
clear,
when
considering
the
present
low
achievement
of
minority
 language
students,
that
equal
educational
op portunity
in
a
bilingual
program
requires
 affirmative
steps
and
decisive
action
to
eradicate
past
discrimination
and
to
open
its
 instructional
program
to
ethnolinguistic
students .

 
 As
mentioned
previously,
students


Bilingual
Education
Position
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Bonifaz,
Amy 


8

must
not
forgo
learning
important
academ ic
skills
and
knowledge
for
the
sake
of
learning
 English .

 The
low
achievement
among
English
 proficient
Latinos,
and
other
racially
 minority
groups
is
an
example
of
how
simply
speaking
English
does
not
necessarily
lead
to
 academic
competence
or
access
to
higher
education.

 
To
achieve
to
their
highest
potential
 bilingual
students
must
be
allowed
to
make
use
of
all
of
their
linguistic
resources
to
reach
 academic
competency.

 
Another
element
that
needs
to
be
in
place
to
ensure
access
to
 higher
education
is
parent
education .

 To
build
parents’
‘cultural
capital’
schools
need
to
 step ‐ in
and
educate
parents
on
how
to
navigate
the
school
system
which
may
be
foreign
to
 them.

 
When
parents
‘cultural
capital’
is
lacking
schools
should
step
in
to
equip
them
with
 the
attitudes
and
knowledge
that
makes
the
educational
system
a
comfortable
and
familiar
 place
in
which
their
children
can
succeed
easily.

 There
is
positive
influence 
on 
student
 achievement
when
parents
are
advocates
for
their
own
 children
in
school.
 An
excellent
bilingual
program
is
bilingual
(instruction
provided
in
two
or
more
 languages)
and
its
purpose
is
to
produce
 ‘ balanced ’ 
bilinguals
and
academically
competent
 students.

 
Students’
L1
can
be
promoted
in
school
at
no
cost
to
the
development
of
 proficiency
in
the
majority
language
(Cummins ,
pg 
28).

 What
successful
bilingual
 programs
have
in
common
is
their
comprehensive
and
extended
use
of
students’
primary
 language
coupled
with
 first‐ rate 
primary
language
instruction .

 
It
seems
a
little
counter
 intuitive
to
believe
that
less
English
now
means
more
English
later
but
this
is
what
 research
supports
and
what
excellent
bilingual 
programs
have
demonstrated
(Cumm ins
pg .

 26).

 
We
should
invest
in
providing
an
education
comparab le
to
a
strong
house
of
bricks
 rather
than
a
quick
house
of
twigs .

 
A
bilingual
child’s
primary
language
is
an
asset,
a
 resource
and
their
right.


Bilingual
Education
Position
Paper















Bonifaz,
Amy 


9

Sources:


Article:
Vista Unified pushes English immersion program

By: ANNE RILEY-KATZ - North County Times Staff Writer | Saturday, October 8, 2005

US
Deparatment
of
education,
Office
of
Civil
Rights
www.ed.gov