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Closing the Opportunity GapWhat America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance$
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Prudence L. Carter and Kevin G. Welner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199982981

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982981.001.0001

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Meeting the Needs of Language Minorities

Meeting the Needs of Language Minorities

Chapter:
(p.156) 11 Meeting the Needs of Language Minorities
Source:
Closing the Opportunity Gap
Author(s):

Patricia Gándara

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982981.003.0011

This chapter explores the tremendous consequences of the undereducation of students with a first language other than English. It is not likely, Patricia Gándara explains, that the United Stateswill be able to compete in a globalizing world if it does not figure out how to meet the needs of this large and increasing proportion of students. Current language education policies are squandering an asset—students who have the potential to be bilingual and biliterate—and turning it into a deficit. The source of the problem of underachievement among many children of immigrants is not the students’ language, but the way our school system treats language difference. Rather than building on these students’ assets, we define them as liabilities and treat them as though their languages and cultures need to be replaced.Gándara offers a set of recommendations to turn this around.

Keywords:   English language learners, immigrant students, language minorities, bilingualism, biliteracy, cultural inequality

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