The people referred to as Native Americans uphold a rich history through culture. These people value their tribal languages that can be referred to as Native American Languages. They hold culture dear in their hearts despite the various actions that the United States of America government has implemented. The American Indians can be found in most areas in California where they settled. The first habitant of California may have been the Yukians and Hokan of Indian descent. The tribes and the tribal languages can be said to benefit from federal recognition by the US government. The Native American Indians, found in California, consist of about sixty-four distinct languages that they speak.
Some native languages have so far been forgotten, but there are those that remain in use until now. The Native American languages got classified according to the geographical areas of the speakers rather than using linguistic classification. The Native American Indian populations found in California can be seen to vary over time in the subsequent census. In earlier head counts, the population ranged between 133,000 and 705,000, though some scholars refuted this figure saying that it seems to be too low. After Europeans arrival in California, the numbers went further down to as low as twenty five thousand people.
This reduction was because of epidemic diseases, cultural shock, nutritional changes and violent deaths caused by conflicts and wars. California has proved to be the state that consists of the largest portion of Native American Indians. A census done and a report compiled by the year 2005 showed that the total number of natives in the state of California reached 696,600 people. The danger of that can be seen to face the native language seems to be the possibility of extinction since lately; some American languages seem to be spoken only by the old generations.
If the state decides to offer Bilingual Language to the Native American Indians
Bilingual education refers to covering academic teaching and content in two different languages. In the case of Native American Indians, they want the teaching content to be made using their native language (Hacama) and English. The reading material in most areas seems to be written in English, and the teaching too should be done in the same language. Teaching can be done using two languages such that each language must be given a varying amount of emphasis according to the model used. Transitional Bilingual Education refers to the education whereby a child’s native language must be used to teach him or her for a period of about three years. Such bilingual education assists the child in transferring the knowledge acquired easily to the secondary language later (Baker 98).
The early literacy skills and knowledge get acquired by the use of the child’s native language. The other bilingual education, dual language immersion, helps in making both native and non native speakers become literate in two languages. The depth of native language usage varies deeply with the stage of education that the child is learning. Dual language can be seen to be a program whereby the students must be taught in the native language, but the answer in the secondary language. The native language should be used to improve students’ handwriting and high-order language skills. In developmental or late exit Bilingual education, the child gets skills and literacy in the first language for a long time before transferring the skills to the other secondary language.
Bilingual Language in the United States of America
The bilingual education controversy in the US has existed for years now. The first people to get the rights of Englishmen are the Polish who established bilingual institutions that dealt with both Polish and English. Ohio was the first state to adapt a bilingual education law that oversaw teaching of German and English upon requests made by parents. In other areas, communities offered bilingual education assistance without government’s sanction in native languages. In the year, 1968, the Bilingual education act got enacted by U S government allowed the use of bilingual education so that immigrants could get access to education just like other Americans. By the year 1979, the budget for federal spending had risen to $ 150 million right from $ 7.5 million in the year 1968. The Bilingual law was meant to balance the education of native and non native students such that no student with minority language could get his rights violated by the education system. The Bilingual Education Act (the elementary and Secondary Education Act), even after getting amended in the year 1988, ended in the year 2001 due to a new federal education policy. The policy emphasized the need for all learning to be conducted in English regardless of the child’s native language affiliations. There was another emphasis on US students taking up classes in French or Spanish for about one to two years.
A supreme court’s decision in the year 2009 stated that Structured English Immersion seems to be more effective than total bilingual education. This issue got emphasized by the documented and academic support of the bill. However, there exist many proponents who believe that bilingual education remains to be necessary so as to ease the transitional stages of a child to the second language. In the same line, opponents of bilingual language believe that most of the country’s bilingual classes fail to offer teaching in English. Most critics believe that there exists little sense in teaching bilingual languages and that there exists little support in its favor. The controversial subject affects both political and cultural aspects of the country. This is because the proponents of the bilingual language refer to the opponents of such an education system as xenophobic and racists. In the same line, those who support bilingual education get accused of getting involved in identity politics that will eventually affect the country’s immigrants and children.
Aspects of Bilingual Language in the state of California
A key bill that got passed by 61 % of the electorate in California can be said to be the Proposition 227 that considered the issue of English learners in the state. English learners refer to students who come from homes that languages other than English are spoke or those whom English is a second language. In the year 1998, California passed Proposition 227 that amended the constitution such that only English would be used. At one point, the California Department of Education joined hands with American Institutes for Research so as to make an evaluation of the consequences of the proposition 227. After implementation of the Proposition 227, the years that followed seem to be filled with hectic work of analyzing the new system. There seemed to be a difficult and expensive task of changing the existing class instructions and programs that existed during the Bilingual- era. This shows that there existed groups that supported the proposal while others opposed it.
If the option will be to provide the Native America Indians with bilingual education, the issue of funding remains to be an essential part of the planning. The first source of funding that should be considered is the public sector such that control should be done by federal, local and the state at large. The consideration should extend to the fact that teaching, employment and every other policy must be analyzed accordingly. To put in place such new systems, the state will need to create a commission of inquiry so as to come up with all measures and entities needed to implement bilingual education in California. Teachers who should handle the bilingual classes need to be paid, meaning that necessary policies need to be evaluated.
To maintain the education level for all people, the state must consider the bilingual education standards that they should use and the resulting budget. The issue of extending the bilingual education to other wider areas that got inhabited by Native Americans might come up. This means that other Native America’s might question the criteria that the state used to offer bilingual education to California’s students only. In case the state decides to extend the idea of bilingual education in a wider area, it must consider more funding needed to meet the expenditure (Campbell 46).
It would mean that more classes, teachers, materials and sensitization would be required to establish the new education system. Source of funding and budget to realize this plan should be considered to be critical before the commencement of the establishment. In case the state decides not to extend the education to other areas, it must give reasons for the tribes that will have been left out. The governor must explain to them that bilingual education can not be available to them, citing reasons as to why the native America Indians in California should get the privilege. One reason that can be offered to the other natives can be that the Native American Indians occupy the largest part of California, and it would be only fair to assist their children in their education. The governor may explain that the level of illiteracy in California had gone up due to the many Native American Indians who could not perform well in their English studies because of lack of bilingual education. The issue of proposition 227 can be handled by noting the clause that says that parents can decide whether their children should be enrolled in a bilingual class. This loop hole can be used if anyone asks for the explanation as to why the state wants to resume the earlier system of bilingual education regardless of the proposition 227.
If the state decides not to offer Bilingual Language to the Native American Indians
The other option is to convince the Indian tribes that bilingual is not extremely valuable, and at the same time get access to exploitation of oil in California. The governor needs to explain all the disadvantages of bilingual education to the Indian tribes living in America. One way to convince them is to cite the issue of bilingual education widening the gap between immigrants and the American citizens. Bilingual education separates the children of the Native Americans from the children of the US citizens such that it becomes hard to incorporate the immigrants’ children into the way of life of the country. Children should be taught from an early stage that they are all equal regardless of their ancestral origin. Bilingual education classes face higher school drop- out rates than the English- Learning classes.
The native America Indians can find that the schools drop out rates reduce significantly once the bilingual classes were abolished in North America. Another problem that might come up in establishing bilingual classes is a lack of proficient teachers who can teach multi languages. The gap between demand and supply of these outstanding teachers seems to be wide since the classes handled are full of students who require specialized attention. For children to get standard education, the teachers should deal with a comfortable number of students so as to ensure each one of them gets the attention required. Also, children who get involved in bilingual education may feel confused and bring a problem of cultural identity. If the children are exposed to two different languages, it might bring a problem of self- recognition. Some may feel uncomfortable when moving between two different identities and it may affect them emotionally. Finally, changing a system is complicated and it may take time for the children of the Indian tribes to adapt to the new education system.
Recommendations: Offering the Indian tribes bilingual education
I would recommend that the governor choose to promise the Indian tribes bilingual language. This is because by offering them the chance to access bilingual classes and the State getting the chance to access oil in the reserves, both parties will end up benefitting and feeling comfortable. The main disadvantage of starting bilingual education in California is the cost and difficulty of laying down policies and implementing them. The state can overcome this obstacle by looking at the long term benefit of exploring and exploiting oil in the reserves. The oil that is expected to be exploited seems to be in massive amounts such that the profits will be large. The Indian tribes will feel comfortable if their proposal is honored which will ensure peaceful Co- existence with each other (Teipelke 121).
Proposal 227 is not a disturbing issue when it comes to implementing bilingual education policies. This is because there is a provision for children to access bilingual education if their parents make such a proposal. There exist many advantages of Bilingual education such that it increases a child’s choices and opportunities. Research shows that bilingualism creates a bond between diverse generations because children and their grandparents can speak comfortably with each other. This creates a sense of belonging among members of the extended family and ensures that children participate fully in community life. It instills a sense of security in identity from a young age to old age which enhances cohesiveness in the society. Learning two or more languages creates a wider cultural experience as compared to learning only one language. Through this experience, the children and students fit in with other culturally diverse customs and cultures. Also, research shows bilingual education improves the way of thinking of the learners through several aspects. A bilingual person develops an ability to think about everything creatively and more flexibly as compared to someone who learns one language. Furthermore, bilingual people are regarded as sensitive since they always know what to say and to whom, and their IQ seems to be higher than in monolingual persons.
When it comes to reading, bilingual persons seem to be sharper than those children who learn only one language. This is because, unlike the monolingual persons, the bilingual people are more concerned with meaning of words rather than sound of the word. The other advantages of learning bilingual education can be said to be a raised self esteem and high educational benefits. Employment benefits of bilingual persons can be seen in how they are needed in public relations, tourism, marketing, banking and teaching fields. Engaging in bilingual classes gives a potential employee an advantage over others due to the additional skill. By giving the Indians this opportunity, the state will be shaping the future of the country at large, and at the same time, the state will get an opportunity to explore the oil reserves.