Bilingual Education as a Campaign Issue--In the Minds of Opinion Writers

By Mary Ann Zehr — October 08, 2008 1 min read
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From news coverage of the campaign trail, I conclude that the presidential candidates aren’t talking about how best to educate English-language learners. And they are hardly raising the topic of immigration at all on the trail, except through ads in the Spanish-language media.

But that hasn’t stopped the Education Watch of the New York Times from featuring bilingual education, which Sen. Barack Obama publicly endorsed months ago, as a campaign issue.

This week the New York Times followed up on the two commentaries it published recently on the issue with an opinion by Sandra Tsing Loh, a Los Angeles writer. She’s in favor of bilingual schools that integrate children from low-income immigrant families with middle-class native speakers of English.

Sen. John McCain doesn’t say in the highlights of his education plan what he proposes for English-language learners, but he has voted for English immersion over bilingual education (See “John McCain on Immigration” notes on a July 2001 vote). The Republican platform calls for an “English First approach,” whatever that means.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.