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Bilingual Problems and Developments in the United States

Garland Cannon
PMLA
Vol. 86, No. 3 (May, 1971), pp. 452-458
DOI: 10.2307/461110
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/461110
Page Count: 7
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Bilingual Problems and Developments in the United States
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Abstract

The once bleak situation of non-native English speakers in the U.S., who suffered in a monolingual English curriculum and faced discrimination because of their language, has somewhat improved. Passage of the Bilingual Education Act in 1967 and its implementation through fifty-eight projects funded for eight million dollars by the U.S. Office of Education in 1970-71 have given bilingual opportunities to some of the five million American children who speak Spanish or some language other than English as their first language. However, major problems persist. There is need for international cooperation in bilingual activities. Funds are inadequate. Existing American programs cannot yet be reliably evaluated, and they are not reaching enough children. There is some formlessness in their general direction and national shaping. Higher education needs to (1) adjust teaching methodologies, evaluation procedures, and admissions policies until the present culture-biased tests can be replaced by linguistically valid, dispassionate instruments; (2) increase financial aid to non-native speakers of English; and (3) establish special bilingual teacher-training programs and materials-development centers. Development of comprehensive bilingual programs at the precollege and college levels is imperative, despite their enormous cost.

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