California elections & bilingual ed

Thomas Kruse tkruse at
Thu Jun 4 18:10:03 PDT 1998

Yoshie writes:

>Further, there are bilingual programs, and there are bilingual programs,


>It is possible that bilingual
>education fares always worse than English-only education, as Wojtek claims,
>but such evidence has not been presented.

Exactly. I work for an institution that has made a cottage industry of bilingual ed. One of my colleages has written a couple of books on kids lang acquisition in bilingual contexts, etc.

Bottom line: done right, multilingual environments and education are an enormous asset for children. Some basic stuff about how we expalin the world in different ways is *lived* and constructively struggled with by the children. If I remember correctly, the speech of kids in multi lingual environments may come a bit slower, but what is gained more than offsets such (insignifiant) setbacks.

The problem, thus, would seem to be exactly what Yoshie notes: resources, etc.

Anecdote: I understand the Mr. Berlitz of the Berlitz school fame was raised in some place like Danzig/Gdansk, by a wealthy German/Polish father and French mother, surrounded by servants who spoke Pomeanina, Russian, Sachisch, etc. Or something like that. Anyway, he wrote that each adult in his home spoke a different langauge, and he therefore naturally assumed that part of adulthood included making up your own language too.


Tom Kruse / Casilla 5812 / Cochabamba, Bolivia Tel/Fax: (591-42) 48242 Email: tkruse at

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