Diane Ravitch Responds...

By Mary Ann Zehr — August 23, 2007 1 min read
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It’s been interesting to see how readers of this blog have expressed what they think of Diane Ravitch’s definition for bilingual education that appears in her new book about education jargon. See my earlier post, “Plenty of ‘Edspeak’ to Go Around.” Since some readers relayed what they presume is her philosophy concerning bilingual education or the education of Hispanic students, I asked Ms. Ravitch if she wanted to respond to comments. I also asked if she wanted to defend her definition or acknowledge that it could be improved.

Here’s what she said:

“The definition of bilingual education in my book Edspeak: A Glossary of Education Terms, Phrases, Buzzwords, and Jargon is neutral. It does not advocate nor oppose bilingual education. It states: ‘School program that teaches English language learners all subjects in their native language while they are learning English. Advocates see bilingual education as a way to help students gain knowledge while becoming literate in two languages. Critics question such programs’ value and effectiveness, contending that limited-English-proficient students’ main priority should be to learn English--and learn in English.’

“I believe this is an accurate summary of the main goal of bilingual education as well as the views of advocates and critics. Many definitions in the book, like this one, refer to the views of advocates and critics. In each case, I attempt to summarize, fairly and accurately, their contrasting claims.”

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