PDF Bilingualism: A Key to Success in the U.S.A

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However, the data is the most current information at the level of thoroughness offered by the census available. Here is the tally of counties where at least 10 percent of the people speak a language other than English at home:. English is spoken in at least 90 percent of homes in 2, counties, so it is clear that the United States continues to be primarily an English-speaking nation.

However, the percentage of Americans who can speak another language is rising. For the U. In other words, the United States continues to lag behind other nations in bilingualism, but is beginning to catch up. The number of people in the world who speak English as a second language has for some years been larger than the number of native speakers of English. This has allowed Americans to manage as monolinguals for far longer than many other nations could have. However, other English speaking countries have higher levels of bilingualism than the United States.

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When admitted to statehood, Texas was an independent republic in which Spanish was widely spoken and still is. The territory of New Mexico also had many who spoke Spanish snd still do as a State. But instead they chose to invest in me, to see hope and possibility. Because they did — because they created classroom environments where I learned about a world beyond Canarsie, Brooklyn, because we went to the museum and to the ballet, because we did productions of Shakespeare, because we memorized the leader and capital of every country in the world and read the New York Times every day in elementary school, because they created this compelling, interesting place in school -- I'm alive today.

I became a teacher and principal to try to do what they did for me, for other kids.

Bilingual America

That is our shared obligation. So as we approach implementing this law, we have to do it with that spirit. It gives us new tools. It gives us an opportunity to broaden the definition of educational excellence.

Yes, we need students who have strong literacy skills. Yes, we need students who have strong math skills. But yes, we also want all students to have the gift of bi-literacy or multi-literacy.

How language shapes the way we think - Lera Boroditsky

We want all students to have science, social studies, art, and music, and the opportunity to develop socio-emotional skills. We want a broader definition of educational excellence.

We want every student to have access to Advanced Placement courses and International Baccalaureate courses, and to be on the path to college and career success. Today we have an opportunity -- if we seize it -- to broaden that definition of educational excellence. We also have an opportunity to rethink interventions in schools that are struggling.


A majority of English-speaking Hispanics in the U.S. are bilingual | Pew Research Center

One of the problems of No Child Left Behind was a one-size-fits-all response to struggling schools, often disconnected to the actual struggles within the school building. We know that, in schools with significant populations of English learners, teachers need professional development and support; they need colleagues who have experience working successfully with English learners to develop strong bilingual students. We need those teachers brought to those schools that are struggling. We need time for educators in that school to collaborate to figure out how to best support their students.

We need interventions that make sense, to meet the needs of students. California has the opportunity to have that conversation. As we do, we must focus on the notion that our educators are our best path to educational success. What defines a quality education are strong teachers and strong principals. That's why we've got to invest in our teachers and principals. Tom talked about the importance of this. We've got to make sure that we invest in our teachers and our principals, so that they earn salaries that allow them to have successful lives.

We've got to make sure that when we think about teacher preparation, that all teachers are prepared to work effectively with English learners -- not just the bilingual teachers or the ESOL teachers. All teachers need those skills. We need to make sure that we have more bilingual teachers at every level.


Particularly, I worry that our high schools often do not have the bilingual subject area teachers that we need. And, we need to increase teacher diversity. Today, in the United States, a majority of students in our schools are students of color. We have to do more to ensure diversity amongst our teachers and principals. The investments that the President proposed in his budget are aligned to these very goals.

He proposed investments in early learning -- and we know there is a critical opportunity in early learning to pay attention to the dual-language learning opportunities, from the earliest years. How do we move forward as a country to ensure our long-term success? We invest early. We know there's a nine to one return on investment for every dollar invested in early learning. The President's proposed a path to universal preschool in the United States. We need to move down that path. The President has proposed increasing Title III funding because we know our schools need more resources to support our diverse learners.

The President has proposed investing in projects to support our Native youth. We know that too many of our Native young people do not see hope for their future.

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One of the ways we can ensure that they have a sense of hope is to create school environments that support cultural competence, on the part of educators, that leverage students' native languages and support their long-term learning. The President has proposed an investment in teacher and principal preparation, to make sure we have that pipeline of bilingual teachers that we need.

The President has proposed an initiative called Respect: Best Job in the World , to invest a billion dollars to make sure that teaching in our highest-need schools is the best job in the world, including ensuring that teachers have the compensation and opportunities for professional development that are needed. The President has proposed an initiative called Stronger Together , which asks us to confront the reality that, 60 years after Brown v.

Board of Education , we still have communities where schools are more segregated today than they were a decade or two decades ago. Hispanics to speak Spanish. Bilingualism is measured in our National Surveys of Latinos by asking Hispanic adults to self-assess their language abilities.

2. It helps protect against symptoms of age-related brain diseases.

Respondents rated their ability to carry on a conversation in Spanish and how well they can read a book or newspaper written in Spanish. The same questions are posed about their English-speaking ability. Bilingualism is linked to age.

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  • Due in part to bilingualism, in Spanish was the most spoken non-English language in the U. Given the expected demographic changes, what is the future of language use among Hispanics in the United States? And as a sign of the times, Spanglish, an informal hybrid of both languages, is widely used among Hispanics ages 16 to