Readers have been posting good comments on the problem with bilingual education and the dominance of Spanish in immigrant states such as California. LaLinda points out the direct effects of bilingual education to drop out rates! Just for that reason, states should think twice about this sort of multiculturalistic well-intentioned social policies.
In California, as in any state in the union, English is a language of great importance to learn! Anybody who denies this, is not living in the real world. Bilingual Ed in California was voted out by the voters and now they will probably find another proposition that will have to be voted on regarding the 'dual language' idioticy that is now in use in some school throughout the state. It was proven that bilingual ed caused too many Latinos to drop-out of school in this state. Since it was eradicated, the number of drop-outs has decreased and more and more Latinos are enrolling in college. If this 'dual language' mentality continues, we will see many dropping out of school again. For those who think that English is not important in this country, they will be in for a big surprise when they find themselves not able to progress for lack of good English skills.Two readers, Dingo and Timmer expressed that American's tend to not worry about learning foreign languages when living abroad, and are arguably doing the same things Latino immigrants do. Perhaps they have a valid excuse in that English has become the defacto business world language.
I agree with you that learning English is important not only to the vitality of an individual in this country, but also the cohesion of this country.
That being said. I can't count the number of friends I have had that have lived and worked in foreign countries (mainly Europe) and bothered to learn the language.
I'll finish with this exhortation from a reader, Pat in NC, to all immigrants.
...many Americans who go abroad are guilty of the same attitudes - because they find that English is spoken pretty much everywhere. Fine for when you visit, but I would still encourage folks to learn the language if you live there for any length of time. It helps in so many ways, not least of which it helps you understand the people!
Retain your cultural heritage--it is important. Learn to speak English because that is the common language of the USA. People want to live here for some reason and that reason should be sufficient to want to become an American by assimilating. Prior to the heavy increase in Spanish speaking immigrants it was expected that English would become the second language of immigrants. My forbearers learned even though German was spoken at home. Irish, Italian, French, Chinese, Japanese all learned the common language in order to become truly American.Update: Corrections via feedback from Dingo. What he meant to say is that most American's don't care to learn the language when living abroad.
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