In respect to the topic of bilingual education, there are many counterarguments that exist regarding the idea that bilingual education should be a requirement in the American education system. The primary argument that one encounters in this discourse is the assertion that English is the primary language spoken in The United States, which therefore means that It should be unnecessary to learn a secondary language on this account. In an interview with an individual who chooses the pseudonym “IL,” for reasons of confidentiality, she argues that English speakers constitute the majority of the American population, so the linguistic majority should not be forced to go out of its way in order to accommodate a minority of people who could speak any of variety of languages.
In her opinion, it makes no sense to force the majority of the American population to learn a secondary language when it is far more more efficient to force this minority to adopt English because of the variety of languages that this minority may speak.
She believes that this would conserve financial resources through devoting them to a smaller number of people instead of wasting these funds on “attempting to fix a problem that does not exist.” This argument is, however, fallacious because it relies upon the idea that native English speakers would not benefit from learning additional languages. In the academic book Language, Power, and Pedagogy: Bilingual Children in the Crossfire, Jim Cummins argues that not only should bilingual education programs be a necessary component of the American education system upon political grounds in the face of xenophobic attitudes, but that bilingual education opens up countless opportunities for students through enriching their knowledge of other cultures and enhancing cognitive development (Cummins).
He asserts that “Xenophobic discourses about linguistic and cultural diversity express themselves differently In different social contexts“ [making] it more difficult for policy-makers to appreciate what the research is actually dating and to imagine educational initiatives that view linguistic and cultural diversity as individual and social resources.” In this light, these biases against bilingual education programs are exposed as xenophobic and fundamentally regressive as they disadvantage American students in juxtaposition to students from other nations in which they receive a thoroughly rounded education in foreign languages from the moment at which their schooling begins. In order to allow American students to remain in pace with the rest of the world on an intellectual level, it is vital to impart the sense of intercultural understanding that bilingual education offers while silencing xenophobic attitudes toward others who are perceived as different.
Other arguments against bilingual education initiatives fall into borderline racist ideas that Americans who are native English speakers should not have to learn other languages because these languages are regarded as inferior. In “Language Attitudes of and toward Spanish/English Bilinguals,“ Veronica Gutierrez discusses the presence of a “cultural inferiority ideology” in which American culture is presented as exceptional and ideal while other cultures, particularly those from Mexico, are regarded as inferior to this American standard (Gutierrez) Gutierrez writes that “the cultural inferiority ideology of Americans to Mexicans is a historical cause of this [resistance to speaking Spanish]? Racist ideas and valtte judgments toward languages, which in themselves are social constructs, are major causes of this resistance toward adopting an thorough system of bilingual education within American education programs.
These biases against bilingual education programs that are rooted in these ideas of “cultural inferiority” are fallacious simply on the grounds that cultures are, in themselves, not physical entities which could be quantifiably judged as being superior or inferior. Gutierrez writes that “bilingual education, in the sense of bilingual maintenance programs, is seen by many as a solution to the problem of accepting linguistic diversity [through] recognition by both Anglo and bilingual communities of the value of linguistic diversity” Cultural diversity is a simply fact of life. The sheer number of cultures that exist on this planet demonstrate that humanity is an organism with a plurality of different faces, none of which are interior or superior to any of the others‘.