Latino Parents Decry Bilingual Programs

Miriam E Ebsworth mee1 at
Tue Jul 20 12:50:20 UTC 2004

I doubt that the NY Times will print this letter, but I thought I'd share it with the group. I was limited to 150 words.

Sent to: letters at
Response to S. Freedman's 7/14 article, Latino Parents Decry Bilingual Programs.

Re: July 14 article

I was dismayed by Samuel G. Freedman's  article entitled, Latino Parents Decry Bilingual Programs.

While readers should sympathize with the reported experiences of the parents and children, this presentation  is misleading and potentially destructive. A program that does not give learners a substantial English based experience, while  using their first language to develop literacy and  knowledge is not bilingual.  Research consistently demonstrates that bilingual programs promote academic success and second language acquisition for participants. Sheltered content-based  classes such as those at the International High School are also successful. Both treatments require specialized and qualified professionals  and appropriate resources.            Unfortunately, students who are placed in mainstream English classes before they are able to understand and produce academic English do poorly by comparison with either alternative. A more accurate title for the article might have been, Latino Parents Decry Programs that are NOT Bilingual.

Miriam Eisenstein Ebsworth, Ph.D.
<MEE1 at>
Director of Doctoral Programs in Multilingual Multicultural Studies
Dept. of Teaching and Learning, Steinhardt School of Education,
New York University

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