Home > Bilingual Education > Developmental Maintenance Vs. Transitional Bilingual Education

Developmental Maintenance Vs. Transitional Bilingual Education

I often ask myself why schools continue to have transitional bilingual education programs where students are transitioned into English-only instruction after a couple of years of instruction in Spanish. Why? Why on Earth would you continue to have a transitional bilingual education program when you can create a developmental maintenance program in order to maintain the the primary language while also developing English?

Why not create a Dual Immersion program, where both native English-speaking students and students of the target language (i.e., Spanish, in my immediate environment)? Why not create biliteracy in both native English speakers as well as Spanish speakers?

Oh, oh, I get it. You can’t find enough English speakers who want to participate in the Dual Immersion program, right? Or is it that your English speaking population is “too mobile” and a Dual Immersion program is not a “right fit” for your particular school? [At least that’s the articulated excuse, right?].

Boo, enough already. Been there, heard that excuse before.

So, if it’s REALLY about not finding enough English speakers to participate in a Dual Immersion program, then why not create a late exit developmental maintenance program? Why not create a developmental maintenance bilingual program that is almost similar in nature to a Dual Immersion setting, where students continue to maintain and develop their heritage language as opposed to transitioning into English after a couple of years in Spanish? Why not offer Spanish speakers the same type of bilingual education environment that is provided in Dual Immersion setting, minus the native English speakers?

Oh, that’s right–because native Spanish speakers don’t count, right? It’s not politically acceptable to develop and maintain both Spanish and English well on into the middle school years for a class full of Spanish speakers. Maintenance program apparently only count when they have native English speakers in them (e.g., Dual Immersion).

It’s.not.fair. It’s not fair. It’s not fair that Spanish speakers can only develop and maintain their language if they are in a program that also includes native English speakers who are becoming bilingual. It’s not fair. All native Spanish speakers deserve to develop and maintain their primary language if they wish to do so. Yet many are denied the right to do so because they are placed in early-exit transitional bilingual education programs where English is forced on them as early as possible.

Rant over. Tomorrow regular programming will resume. Flips her hair and slams the door.

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Categories: Bilingual Education
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  1. August 7, 2009 at 12:50 am

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