ERIC Number: ED257315
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Sep
Social Class and Bilingual Education: Issues and Contradictions. Bilingual Education Paper Series, Vol. 5 No. 2.
Politzer, Robert L.
Issues concerning bilingual education are discussed, with a focus on the effect of social class on educational outcomes. While bilingualism tends to be associated with some educational advantages for the upper class, it often appears to result in an additional handicap within the lower ranges. In many educational outcomes affecting bilinguals, social class rather than bilingualism per se may be the factor of primary importance. Two hypotheses concerning the reason for educational underachievement of the poor are identified: the deficit and the difference hypotheses. During the war on poverty, a frequent debate concerned the hypothesis that educational failure of the poor was related to a mismatch of their native language and the language of school (i.e., the poor speak a different dialect or language distinct from middle class English). This linguistic mismatch hypothesis was applied in public schools through the Bilingual Education Act. Also considered are the effects in the schools of the Lau decision (1974) and an Office of Civil Rights' decision. Three possibly valid explanations of different effects of upper class and lower class bilingualism are also proposed. The effects of immersion of lower and middle/upper class children for the purposes of second language teaching is discussed in some depth. Additional topics include the effects of motivation, limited English speaking children, the threshold level and additive vs. subtractive bilingualism hypotheses, and local flexibility concerning bilingual education policy. (SW)
Descriptors: Bilingual Education, Bilingualism, Economically Disadvantaged, Elementary Secondary Education, Federal Legislation, Immersion Programs, Language Planning, Limited English Speaking, Low Income Groups, Program Effectiveness, Public Policy, Second Language Instruction, Social Class, Socioeconomic Status, Underachievement, Upper Class
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Bilingual Education and Minority Languages Affairs (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: California State Univ., Los Angeles. Evaluation, Dissemination and Assessment Center.
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Lau v Nichols