Why is bilingual education ‘good’ for rich kids but ‘bad’ for poor, immigrant students?

This article looks at the juxtaposition of the value of bilingualism when concerning social class and cultural capital. It is typically seen as a positive when rich, English-speaking kids add another language to their education but as a negative when poor, immigrant children add English to their L1. Also when you look at bilingual schools (at least in the US from my knowledge), there tends to be two different tracks. For children adding English, the school is structured for students to transition out of their L1 to complete their education solely in English. This can cause students to lack key linguistic skills in their L1. On the other hand, for students adding another language to English at a bilingual school, it is structured to incorporate the other language fully into the curriculum so that students become linguistically competent in both languages.

Mia Dunfey

One Response to “Why is bilingual education ‘good’ for rich kids but ‘bad’ for poor, immigrant students?

  • Xinxin Liu
    4 weeks ago

    Hi Mia,
    I am interested in this topic but seems you didn’t post the link to this news.
    For the first case, I guess it is a problem for those who have heritage languages. For the second case, I think there is a lot of this type of program in the Bay Area. As I know, in the Chinese immigrant community, parents are passionate to send their kids to this type of program. But there are some problems in those programs, such as how teacher address English and Chinese (in my example) culture, is English culture dominant since Asian is categorized into the minority; but at the same time, they are American-born Chinese, do they regard the culture of China as an exotic one?

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