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October 11, 2002

Bilingual vs Immersion Debate in US

The issue of how best to educate the 4.4 million non-native English speaking children in public schools in the US has raised its head again. 30 states have implemented regulations to cater to these children, of which 28 use the bilingual system. Students study most subjects in their first language, often Spanish, and learn English gradually. But following the lead of California in 1998 and Arizona in 2000, two more states are proposing switching to an immersion program. Students in Massachusetts and Colorado would go through an ESL program for a year before joining regular lessons. California, a quarter of whose students are non-native English speakers, has seen a doubling in the number of 1st-3rd grade students scoring above the 50% level since 1998. Read the full article.

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