The Return of Bilingual Education to California

The Return of Bilingual Education to California

California is one of the states in the United States of America where multilingual citizens subsist side by side. Other than the Native Americans, California is inhabited by immigrants from different parts of the world. Among the many languages spoken includes all the Native American languages, English, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Russian, German, Chinese, Japanese and French. In spite of this, for nearly two decades, the state had lived with a bilingual education ban with English being the only language that could be used in schools. The state, however, saw the return of the education in its public schools after voters lifted the ban in the year 2016.

California’s Legislature placed preposition 58 on the ballot for voters to decide whether to vote back bilingual education on their schools or remain with proposition 227 which forbade it. According to Hopkinson (2017), 73.5 % of the voters approved the proposition on the November 8th, 2016 elections. The law was, however, scheduled to go into effect on July 1st, 2017. It did not mandate every school to offer bilingual education though. The decision on whether to return the education was thus left to the schools’ stakeholders. The 2007 census data had it that Spanish is the second most spoken language in the state hence making it the other language that was most likely to be adopted.

The purpose of the return was to give parents the liberty to enroll their children in the schools offering the languages of their choice. This would in return promote bilingual literacy in the state. According to Chumbes (2018), bilingual people have more advanced cognitive abilities essential for the ever dynamic and diverse society compared to their monolingual counterparts. However, the inadequacy of teachers is a problem that was faced by most schools in the state after the restriction was uplifted. This is because most of the Spanish teachers left the state after the ban to look for jobs elsewhere. Since the uplift, bilingual education has been on the rise in California with most schools striving to improve the program.

In conclusion, California had denied its children an important opportunity for almost a decade through the proposition 227 that prohibited bilingual education in its schools. The voters, however, succeeded to vote for the uplift of the ban after the state’s legislature provided proposition 58 in the 2016 election. The uplift will provide the state’s children with multiple benefits from bilingual literacy therein being the ability to thrive in a continually diverse society.

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