ERIC Number: ED435180
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Jul
Bilingual Education and the Dropout Argument.
Discover; n4 Jul 1998
Critics of bilingual education have cited the high Hispanic dropout rate as evidence against bilingual education. Since most bilingual education programs are Spanish-English, it is concluded that bilingual education must be responsible. Research shows some factors predicting dropout rates, including low English language ability, poverty, length of residence in the United States, the print environment, and family factors. The important finding from the research is that when these factors are controlled statistically, the dropout rate among Hispanics is similar to that of other groups. There is no evidence that bilingual education results in higher dropout rates. Because bilingual education programs produce better academic English, bilingual education is a positive influence. Good programs have this effect because they supply subject matter knowledge in the students' primary language, which makes the English the students hear and read more comprehensible. They also provide a rapid route to literacy. Another part of the solution is simple and inexpensive: an improved print environment in school, both in the primary language and in English, through better school and classroom libraries and encouragement of free reading through readalouds, sustained silent reading, and quality literature programs. (Contains 22 references.) (MSE)
Descriptors: Bilingual Education, Classroom Environment, Dropout Characteristics, Dropout Rate, Dropouts, Educational Trends, Family Characteristics, High Risk Students, High Schools, Hispanic Americans, Language Skills, Poverty, Public Opinion, Reading Materials, Trend Analysis, Young Adults
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Publication Type: Collected Works - Serials; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Clearinghouse for Bilingual Education, Washington, DC.