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Yet while critics in the United States claim that bilingual education is a "failed experiment," most other modern nations consider it the norm and cannot imagine why Americans would prefer an education in only one language.
What about the history of bilingual education in the United States has led to the emotional controversy surrounding the teaching of students in two languages?
It concluded, "When socioeconomic status is controlled, bilingualism shows no negative effects on the overall linguistic, cognitive, or social development of children, and may even provide general advantages in these areas of mental functioning." In addition, "use of the child's native language does not impede the acquisition of English." A subsequent study also commissioned by the National Research Council on preventing reading difficulties in young children concurred: "If language minority children arrive at school with no proficiency in English but speaking a language for which there are instructional guides, learning materials, and locally available proficient teachers, they should be taught how to read in their native language." More recently, a synthesis study commissioned by the U. Department of Education and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development also concluded that it was generally preferable to teach Spanish-speaking students to read in Spanish where possible.
The Bush administration, however, refused to release it with its imprimatur in spite of two peer reviews that concurred with its findings.
Bilingual Education Research Paper