[EDLING:953] Tongue-Tied on Bilingual Education
Francis M Hult
fmhult at DOLPHIN.UPENN.EDU
Fri Sep 2 16:09:42 UTC 2005
By way of lg-policy...
> Editorial, The New York Times
> September 2, 2005
> Tongue-Tied on Bilingual Education
> Education researchers have been seething since the Education Department's
> research arm announced that it would not publish a long-awaited, federally
> commissioned report on bilingual education. The department denies any
> political motive, noting that peer reviewers described the study as
> terminally flawed. But given the politically charged nature of the issue,
> the administration would be wise to make this controversy go away. It
> could accomplish that by quickly conveying ownership of the study to the
> researchers, who could then publish it privately and let the public judge
> the work for itself.
> The federally commissioned study was supposed to summarize existing data
> to help us determine whether bilingual education helps students who speak
> other languages learn to read English. The answer is crucial - millions of
> American children come from homes where languages other than English are
> spoken. The issue is also politically explosive because of ballot
> initiatives in California and Arizona, where voters limited bilingual
> education after ethnically inflammatory campaigns.
> The study, which has been talked about for years, is still not out. But it
> is known that the researchers conclude that bilingual education is helpful
> to those learning English. That conflicts with the views of some powerful
> Republicans and conservatives who view such programs as useless or
> downright harmful.
> Given all that, it is natural that some academics would question whether
> the government backed away from the study because of its conclusions, not
> its methodology. The Bush administration deserves praise for wading into
> this politically explosive issue at all. But given the sensitive nature of
> the subject, it should go out of its way to dispel the impression that the
> study is being deep-sixed for political reasons. The way to do that, the
> department seems to recognize, is to surrender the copyright to the
> researchers right away so they can publish it independently.
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