Friday, June 10, 2016

Challenging Unz' Challenge

Sent to Language Magazine, June 10, 2016

   "Unz Challenges California Initiative"  (May, 2016) quotes Ron Unz as saying that dropping bilingual education resulted in "nearly a full generation of young Latinos  ... learning English perfectly well ...".  That's not what the research says: According to standardized test results, dismantling bilingual education in 1998 did not result in obvious and significant improvements in English language development in California (Jepsen and de Alth, 2005; Parrish, 2006).
     Careful experimental studies show that students in bilingual programs consistently outperform comparison students in all-English programs on tests of English reading. In the most recent meta-analysis, Grace and David McField examined all available studies comparing bilingual education and English immersion. They concluded that when both program quality and research quality are considered, the superiority of bilingual education was considerably larger than previously reported.

Stephen Krashen

Jepsen, C. and de Alth, S. 2005. English learners in California schools. San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California
McField, G. and McField, D. 2014.  "The consistent outcome of bilingual education programs: A meta-analysis of meta-analyses." In Grace McField (Ed.) The Miseducation of English Learners. Charlotte: Information Age Publishing. pp. 267-299.
Parrish, T. 2006. Effects of the Implementation of Proposition 227 on the Education of English Learners, K–12: Year 5 Report. American Institutes for Research and WestEd.

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