Editorial: Children can, and should, learn more than one language
February 16, 2012
Houston schools chief Terry Grier has his work cut out trying to boost the vexingly low graduation rate - 30 percent - for students who speak limited English. So it's crucial that the district, and HISD parents too, parse the problem correctly.
In truth, this majority-Hispanic district faces two distinct language challenges. The toughest is educating non-English speakers entering U.S. schools in middle school and high school. Often coming in with severe economic and cultural deficits too, only a third of these youngsters graduate on time.
The district's other challenge, however, is in fact a vast opportunity. Elementary school students who start off as non-English speakers have actually responded resoundingly well to the district's bilingual teaching. As the Chronicle's Ericka Mellon recently reported ("Language barrier still vexes HISD," Page A1, Feb. 2), a healthy 79 percent of these students end up graduating on time.
In fact, longitudinal studies across the state show that kids in at least one type of dual-language program do just as well in English - and better in Spanish - with bilingual education rather than immersion in full-time English-only programs.
Read the full article at http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Children-can-and-should-learn-more-than-one-3337685.php