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Being able to provide an effective education to children of all backgrounds and nationalities is a vital tool. This paper will compare and contrast the different laws and initiatives of states that have a high percentage of non-English speaking students and the services they are required to provide.
The world of education is immeasurable and ever-changing. The idea of effectively communicating between the teacher and student is very essential. The faces of the classroom are becoming more and more various as time progress. As people continue to migrate to America, the education process becomes very demanding and gives a huge variety to the classroom. Those children that are migrating to these American classrooms have a small or no English language speaking ability. In many instances these students need additional emphasis on the studies of language instruction. This paper will embark upon the many issues facing the process of educating the students with the disability of speaking English.
Many states raise controversial issues regarding the education of those students who have a limited ability in speaking English. According to Edweek, "In 1998, California voters overwhelming approved Proposition 227, an initiative that largely eliminated bilingual education the state's public schools." (Edweek, 2004) California has set aside programs to provide the needed services for those immigrant students. The state of California also has many programs aligned through the Department of Education with assessing these students in order of the critical need or severity of their ability to speak the language. The school districts find analysis properly place these students to target their needs in order to help increase the state test scores and increase the fluency of the students.(Fetler, 2008) These programs help to keep the process of speaking the native language of English apart of the classroom and education process.
In the state of Arizona voters passed the Proposition 203 in 2000, which is similar to the California imitative (Bankstreet, 2009). The idea of decrease the teaching of more than one language gives the students structure and direction. This breaks the high percentage of students being in a bilingual classroom and helps them to interact amongst the regular education classrooms. This ideas was put forth to increase the assessment and social abilities. Massachusetts voters also joined the imitative in 2002 making this the oldest state to delete the bilingual education law (Edweek, 2004).
Also according to the state of Pennsylvania, the public schools must provide a program to educate students who do not possess dominance in speaking the language of English (Education Law Center, 2009). Many states require the teaching of English as the native speaking language for various reasons, mainly for the purpose of state assessments.
Although many states have the initiatives to enforce the education of English and offer the plans of actions to the students, other states are not in with the idea. Schools in Virginia and Michigan are finding ways to keep the idea of being bilingual and innovating methods beyond the classroom to strengthen the students English speaking abilities (Edweek, 2004). These outside interventions help the students and parents with becoming fluent English language speakers. According to the state of Kansas department of education, "districts must provide these students with a quality instruction in the language department so that these students may be able to be equipped with the tools and skills needed to succeed academically." (KDE, 2009).
Benefits and Challenges
There a numerous benefits as well as disadvantages to implementing these laws and initiatives. Many school districts have funds and programs with the properly trained staff to implement the plan of educating these students and at the same time a vast majority does not. With the help of parental involvement and dedication the process of educating these students in the area of English would make a huge difference. It is also an advantage for the students to be able to be productive citizens as well as it helps them to properly interact with their peers.
On the contrary, the work load for the teacher becomes overwhelming if they are not properly trained or equipped with the knowledge of educating these students. The teacher will also have to change many aspects of the lessons and modify the classroom environment to fit the needs of the students with these disabilities. The requirement of state testing becomes an issue because the student has to have a knowledge base of English to take the exams. This may become an issue if the language has not been enforced to the child and the proper interventions have not been implemented.
This will also take the students out of their comfort zone and some students may not be receptacle to the change. This may cause behavior problems as well as this may cause the student to shut down in the classroom environment. The teacher has to make the student feel as comfortable as possible and make amends to gain rapport with the student when introducing a change of culture and comfort. The case of parental involvement is very vital because in many cases the child in taking these lessons home and the parent and student are learning the language. This also extends the curriculum for the instructor to make the most effective accommodations for the student.
In today's classrooms, it is the obligation of the teacher to provide the students with a safe and quality education. Those students who have simple or major disabilities are also included. It is vital to find ways to keep the process of education invigorating and challenging for the students. In order to fulfill that process the students must be able to interpret what is expected and required of them. It must start with the idea of communication and the way it is presented to the students.