The Bilingual Education Debate in the United States
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The debate about bilingual education has proved to be a highly controversial issue. While a large number of Americans are bilingual, the legalisation of native language instruction in 1968 has sparked a debate which has continued for more than three decades. Lying at the core of this debate is the problem what the best way is to educate immigrant children whose language is not English. However, what has become clear is that the debate is more than just a discussion about an educational teaching method. Conflicts about language generate deep-seated feelings about national identity and culture, but also touch on the notions of power and status. This thesis focuses on the bilingual education debate in California, looking at questions such as: why is bilingual education viewed as a problem rather than a resource and why do Americans have such a difficulty accepting other languages being spoken in their country?