Bilingual Education in the United States

by Chinatsu Kitamura

Bilingualism is to be able to use two languages. In generally, bilingual education started Montreal in Canada, 1965. It is goal which assimilates to a majority language community in socially and culturally. There are two ways, “submersion” and “immersion”. Submersion is a form aiming at assimilation. This is very negative to use two languages and throw the people into the common class of a majority language suddenly without special education. And also, the tendency seems around the area which a lot of immigrants live. The problem is to increase the student to have trouble with. On the other hand, immersion is to educate the two languages with using two languages as an object of using the majority language. And finally, it aims to use two languages at once. Thus, although there was the method of various educations in bilingualism, bilingual education was not worked like today.

For example, in 1960s, a lot of Hispanic-American live in Texas. In fact, a half of people can’t read and write or educate within 5 years. And also, in California, a half student dropout before 8 grades. Therefore, there are miserable situation in the United States then. Soon, bilingual education became federal law. On the background, it involved in the civil rights movement in 1960s. The people who recommend the bilingual education are representatives from New York, California and Texas, for instance, John. F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson. In Civil Rights Acts in 1964 apply that “if state discriminate the other people by reasons of race, homeland and so on, federal government prohibit all financial support.” Moreover, by the bilingual teaching methods in 1974, bilingual education was established and the Hispanic children who become the object increased in number rapidly. However, Bilingual education criticized because the actual conditions of bilingual education maintain Hispanic culture. And it was pointed that it was only a thing social and for Hispanic immigration to realize political and economical ambition. Finally, it lost support of the nation. In this way, the bilingual education which lost support became a target of criticism according to English official language movement which will start in 1981, and it was abolished in California in 1986.

Thus, bilingual education have a lot of problem. Although the problem cannot to solve easily in the world which live a variety of species close together, the bilingual education is spreading in the world while overcoming many difficulties. I feel that it is never meaningless to study over languages including English now when the world is being connected more closely.


JACET bilingualism kenkyuukai. 2003. Nihon no bilingual kyouiku gakkou no zirei kara manabu (Bilingual education in Japan. Study from case of school.)Tokyo sanshuusya

Toshihiro,Yoshioka. America ni okeru bilingual kyouiku to eigo kouyouka no zehiron (Bilingual education and argument against official language in English in United States)

2 thoughts on “Bilingual Education in the United States

  1. This is a very misleading research report as it confuses the historical neglect of Bilingual Education with the unsubstantiated claims of anti bilingual English only campaigners. A reading of resaerch in Baker,C (2011) or Garcia, O. (200) or Thomas and Collier, (1997 & 2002) will sort out the actual research situation.

    Kind regards
    John McCaffery. Senior Lecturer, Te Kura Marautanga me te Ako: Curriculum & Pedagogy( English/Languages/ Literacy/TESOL/ Bilingual/ Immersion Education )
    Faculty of Education, Epsom Campus. Office N Block, N601 University of Auckland, Private Bag 92601, Symonds Street, Auckland 1, Aotearoa/New Zealand
    Work: 64-9-6238899 ext 48709 Fax; 64-9-623 8811 Mob: 027 20 83 766
    Greetings from Aotearoa/New Zealand: “Kia Ora, Kia orana, Namaste-Ni sa bula, Taloha ni, Fakaalofa lahi atu, Malo e lelei, Halo olaketa, Kam na mauri, Ia orana, Kia ora, Talofa lava and Pacific Greetings to you all.

    Blessed with Bilingual Brains- Aroʻaʻia te reo ʻenua. Tuatua mai tuatua atu tuatua mai.

    A new Vision for for Pacific Families
    1.1 To enjoy success in education as Pasifika (Tongan , Niue , Samoan, Tokelaun, Cook Is…) peoples.
    1.2 To be able to grow up in NZ in the context of our own languages, cultures, values and beliefs.
    1.3 To be able to live life as Pasifika (Tongan, Niue, Samoan, Tokelauan, Cook Is…) peoples in NZ.
    1.4 To gain the skills, knowledge and understandings to be productive citizens of the wider world and participate in all areas of NZ society sharing in its material well being.
    Adapted from Professor Mason Durie’s Maori Education Strategy

    TWK Endangered Pacific Languages Research Project | Facebook
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    • Thank you for the comment. I wouldn’t describe the student’s blog post as a “research report,” but rather as a personal reflection. Thank you also for the references, although reading them may prove challenging for some of my students.

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