Bruno: What's So Bad About Bilingual Education?
Checker Finn thinks it's hypocritical for liberal teachers to complain about Louisiana providing vouchers to schools that teach creationism because "curricular craziness, often in defiance of scientific truth as well as common sense, is by no means confined to the science classroom or to private schools." He lists a number of examples of "idiotic ed-school-fostered ideas" supported by traditional public schools including Ebonics, "fuzzy math," and whole language instruction.
I agree that some of those ideas are misguided, and others I'm not familiar with at all, but I was surprised to see him include bilingual education in this list of "idiotic" ideas. Does bilingual education really "trap immigrant youngsters with only the language of their homeland"? This isn't a controversy I've followed closely, but my understanding had been that bilingual education seemed to have some beneficial effects for English learners.
Here's one informal summary of the research stating that bilingual education is superior to English-only instruction. In his own meta-analysis Jay Greene - no "politically correct" left-winger! - concluded that "an unbiased reading of the scholarly research suggests that bilingual education helps children who are learning English."
Again, though, even as a California resident this isn't an issue I've paid much attention to so I don't know if the controversy is primarily political or scientific. So I'm genuinely curious: is bilingual education really such a bad idea that we should be embarrassed to be funding it with public money? Or is it just intuitively or aesthetically unappealing to some observers? - PB (@MrPABruno) (image source)