Detorit Free Press Editorial
August 31, 2005
The U.S Department of Education should release a report commissioned two years
ago on the effectiveness of bilingual education. School districts teaching
English as a second language to immigrant children need to know what the tax-funded
The department's plan to publish the findings in book form instead of releasing
them through normal government channels is only contributing to a perception
that the Bush administration tends to sit on information with which it disagrees
while trumpeting reports that buttress administration positions.
The delayed release of this report is raising such questions because of
conservative activists who think public schools should abandon bilingual
instruction in favor of English immersion courses.
The object here should be to do what's best for children who enter public
schools without a working knowledge of the English language. They cannot be left
behind; the question is how best to help them keep up.
The No Child Left Behind Act gives immigrant students three years before they
are tested in English. With that tough standard, the government ought to be
interested in sharing with educators the findings of
the nonpartisan group of professors who studied bilingual education. They need
to know if the government has concluded they are on the right track or need to
try a new direction.
Opening the report is the easiest way to answer some of these questions. But
relegating the research to a book that may or may not get published -- and, if
it is, charging educators to see what it says -- is not advancing an important
debate and undermining the administration's credibility on education issues.
Copyright © 2005 Detroit Free Press Inc.