USA Today reports that the Bush administration is trying to sweep a two-year study on bilingual education under the rug because it doesn't agree with the results. According to the article, the National Literacy Panel, a group of university researchers, called into question the effectiveness of English-only classes for immigrant children. The findings of the study, although backed up by a lot of research, apparently challenges the view of some conservatives that all education in the U.S. should be in English.
It's terrible that Bush is letting politics (about immigration and cultural issues, not education) get in the way of finding the best way to educate immigrant children. But this article got me thinking about a mother who received an invitation for her 8 year old son to attend a school with a dual language program in New York City. The mother, an immigrant from South America that doesn't speak any English (the kid does), was dead set against having her kid take any classes in Spanish, and I have heard a lot of immigrant parents say the same thing about bilingual education. They want their kids to have the most opportunities possible, and think that taking any longer to really learn English will set the kids back.
I also know that a lot of immigrant parents do support bilingual education and dual language programs, and I hope the debate over bilingual education will be played out between both groups of parents alongside informed research that can help them decide what is the best for their children. Right-wing anti-immigrant groups shouldn't be calling the shots.