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Bilingual Education

Personal Stories

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ANNYVETTE CASTRO

I encounter bilingual education when I entered the first grade.  Although, I fully spoke and understood English, I was place in a bilingual classroom.  All the lessons were taught in Spanish, with very little English.  I was in the program for two years, until my mother decided to remove me from this setting. 

I never understood why I was placed in this classroom, and it only confused me more.  My primary years were taught in Spanish, and I lost the English foundation needed to build on for my future grades. 

The only reason I was placed in a bilingual classroom was because of my last name.  I was never tested in or out of the program, and to this very day, I feel that I was cheated of a good English based program. 

 

Cristina De La Vega

 

My family comes from a strong Mexican background.  I’m the first family member that has gone to college and that will finish a career in Education.  I was born and raised for about five years in Chicago.  Then my parents decided to move to Mexico for about five years, which I spend my grade school years in the Mexican Public Schools.   Before I could graduate from sixth grade we moved back to Chicago.  When my mother enrolled my sisters and I in the CPS she was never asked if we would like to be in mainstream classes or be evaluated for the Bilingual Program.  Since we had been born here and our English was still fresh in our mind my mother demanded many times to be moved or at least assets to be moved to mainstream, which never happened.  By the time I reached the third year of the program I was sent to mainstream a week before eight grade graduation and once I entered high school I was once more put on the ESL classes with out being tested.

 

In my experience I believe that the Bilingual Program did not work for me.  I was sent to classes which I didn’t need and by doing so I was deprive from a full mainstream education.  I’m currently a Junior at Northeastern University and struggle at time, especially when it comes at writing papers, my vocabulary and grammatical skills are not up to a University level as well as other skills.

 

I think the Bilingual Program could use an upgrade on how they should assess new students as well as students that are currently in the program.  There should be levels at were the students are placed and tutoring for those that don’t need to be in the program completely.  I do know it has help many others that truly don’t understand a drop of English, but not every person that is placed in the Bilingual Program is evaluated properly, as it was my case.  

Dennys Zavala
Growing up in the predominantly hispanic neighborhood of Pilsen I grew up speaking both English and Spanish fluently.When it came time for me to enter grammar school my mom was given the option of placing me in an all english classroom or a bilingual classroom.My mom opted to place me in the all english classroom because she felt that I did not need to learn anything in Spanish.
 
Looking back, I think she made the right choice because learning everything in english was more beneficial for me than learning spanish.Later on when I got older I learned to read and write in Spanish on my own.