in defense of bilingual education

Bilingual programs defended
Supporters call method better than English immersion at hearing of the education board

— reported by the Houston Chronicle

Supporters of bilingual education programs said Friday they have shown that Texas should not experiment with English-immersion programs.

State Board of Education member Mary Helen Berlanga, D-Corpus Christi, said she hopes the issue is dead after a hearing Thursday.

More than 20 proponents vigorously defended bilingual programs before the board, which had invited two speakers to discuss English immersion programs.

Noelia Garza, director of multilingual programs for HISD, said the district has 39,000 students in bilingual classes and 17,000 in English as a Second Language programs. She said the district tried English immersion in the 1980s but had “very negative results with excessive failures, lots of retentions and excessive special education referrals.”


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