An email to KXNT’s Alan Stock
I was most interested by your story about Californian students performing better when they were only taught English.
I’m not sure about the rest of the country, but here in Canberra our primary schools (K-6) have a bilingual program with a second language being taught for about an hour a week. At my primary school we were taught Japanese. From seven years of Japanese I learned how to count to ten, how to say “hello”, “goodbye”, “thank you”, “yes”, “away” and “welcome” and make the noise of a few characters of one of their alphabets.
I continued Japanese in the first year of high school because the education system forced me to. I did no work and got 100% on the first test based on my primary school knowledge, and failed every other test, except for the one where the teacher didn’t notice that the test I handed in was full of her own handwriting…she had given me the answer sheet by accident and I just put my name at the top.
Basically, eight years of my education was wasted on bilingual education, most of which consisted of the class sidetracking the teacher who could waffle on for hours about Japan if prompted, instead of presenting the planned lesson.
English should be the only language mandatorily taught in public schools both here in Australia, and over there in the US. Other languages should either be an optional extra for students old enough to make that decision for themself, or taught outside of school if the parents so desire.