American Elementary Students Prohibited from Speaking English in Class

Students

According to recent reports, the push to create a bilingual environment for the youngest students in some Wyoming schools has culminated in a new policy requiring students to speak only Spanish for half of the day. Instead of simply encouraging students who speak little or no English to learn the language, administrators are now forcing American students to immerse themselves in a foreign language as if they were attending school outside of the U.S.

Teacher Saul Rodriguez, who is excited about the new program, confirmed he would only speak English around the kindergarten and first-grade students in the case of an emergency. Otherwise, young English-speaking children will be exposed only to words that they have never heard before.

“They don’t do this at every school,” Rodriguez said, “so I am lucky to be doing this.”

The stated impetus behind this concept is the ostensible need for the next generation to learn both English and Spanish as early as possible. For many critics, such a proposition is outrageous and unnecessary. Learning a second language, proponents say, is much easier at a young age.

If such a program is to be implemented, however, some detractors wonder why students are not permitted to determine which language they would prefer to learn.

Taking away the only language a student knows upon his or her first exposure to public education is understandably difficult for a number of students in these schools. Nicole Dundas, another teacher tasked with carrying out this policy, shared how she explains the program to her students.

“I just keep encouraging on my side of it as, you might not know it now, but in a few months you are going to know everything that he is saying, and how cool is that?”

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Photo Credit: Florida Memory (Creative Commons)

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