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Importance of Bilingual Education

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The Hispanic population has grown rapidly over the last four decades and is currently the largest minority ethnic group in the U. Conservative estimates predicts that by the year 2040, less than half of all school-age students will be non-Hispanic White (Herná ndez, 2004) and over one-third of the workforce will be representatives of non-White ethnic groups. As one researcher put it, in thirty years’ time, the current majority white workforce will be relying on a majority of the Hispanic, Asian and African American workforce, for its support. It is in light of this information that this study was undertaken.

The effective education of language-minority students is more important than ever before; it school-age that this study will add to the growing body of research concerning those factors found to be most critical to implementing and sustaining quality programs for language-minority students. This situation led to the implementation of a bilingual program, particularly within the larger context of the effective education of language minority students. Bilingual education provides instruction to students in two or more languages. Sometimes bilingual education exists for those who want to ensure that their children become bilingual and bi-literate, especially in important languages such as English and Chinese.

It also is true that entire countries have bilingual education systems to ensure that all their children become multilingual. In the case of the United States, bilingual education is mostly for immigrant and minority-language children who need to acquire academic competence in a majority language as soon as possible. Bilingual education programs are also often used in the education of groups who have lost their native languages and want to revitalize them.

The best examples of such language-revitalization bilingual education programs are the preschools known as Kohanga Reo; these were developed by the Maori of New Zealand. Increasingly, bilingual education programs worldwide in the 21st century aim to develop "Plurilingualism"; this is the ability to use and learn more than one language to varying degrees.  

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