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Nowadays schools throughout the United States have to deal with a growing number of students speaking different languages. In this article, Rojas and Reagan (2003) discuss the case for bilingual education programs from a somewhat different perspective from that generally offered by supporters and advocates of bilingual schooling in the United States. Most of the arguments in favour of bilingual education are grounded in defences of the “effectiveness” of bilingual education programs, it is in arguing that bilingual education is a good thing because it works. Although they believe this to be true, and briefly review the arguments and evidence for this claim, what they suggest here is that there is a far more powerful, and relevant argument for bilingual education programs. The need of educational reform has prompted a great deal of debate among educators and policymakers. Bilingual education system was introduced as an alternative way to solve social problems at the time when ethnic pride movement supporters insisted all ethnic subcultures should be treated equally. The program’s original goal was to offer minority language students the way to improve communicational and written skills in English while learning the new material in their first language, and to prepare them for an effective integration into American society through gradually introducing to a new culture. They emphasize that the debate has focused almost exclusively on “empirical matters”. In challenging us to rethink bilingual education, they suggest that not to debate the effectiveness of the bilingual program but the real issue is how the society addresses the difference. Similarly, there are certain fundamental rights (including linguistic human rights) that must be observed in the educational process. It is in this sphere, they argue, rather than in the sphere of pedagogical effectiveness alone, that the real case for bilingual education needs to be made. There are, they believe, some common, core assumptions shared by virtually all educators, policy-makers, and indeed, by most individuals in the general public that relate to the issues that they address in this article.


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