Oklahoma Is Likely to Become the 4th US State with Bilingual Education

a year ago

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As teacher rallies in Oklahoma continue, the discussion takes a new development. The long-term immigration debate has now sparked the calls for bilingual education. The protesters agree that due to the mentality shift, people started seeing the second language as a value, rather than a hindrance.

In Tulsa, OK, there are 3 dual-language immersion elementary schools with approximately 50% of the students speaking Spanish. Experts agree that bilingual schools are important for seamless immigrant integration. On the one hand, children have an opportunity to study in the language spoken at home without feeling ashamed to do so at school. On the other hand, non-Spanish classmates can improve Spanish talking to their Latino peers.

Over 100 teachers are participating in the march from Tulsa to Oklahoma City, with demands for education funding improvement in the state. The strike leaders have unanimously agreed that funding bilingual education is important to improve education overall. Elementary school teachers claim that bilingual students learn faster than those stuck to their mother tongue.

Do Bilingual Kids Make Better Students?

Teachers admit that a bilingual second-grader can easily summarize a paragraph of information by picking the main topic out of a paragraph better. Also, on average a bilingual second-grader is capable of taking multiple perspectives better due to their ability to constantly transition between different cultures.

The educators on the road to Oklahoma are marching to get more support for Spanish speaking families, especially during the time when migrants are being demonized. Neglecting educational needs is seen in Marshall elementary school, Tulsa, with only one native Spanish teacher for over 100 native Spanish-speaking pupils. Many immigrant teachers don’t want to pursue their profession due to the low salary, inaccessible higher education and teaching certifications.  

Teacher Protests: Not Gun Violence Alone

Teacher strikes are often compared with student walkouts in the media. What mass media doesn’t mention is the inspiration the educators have drawn from Latino students protesting against Trump’s repealed protections for undocumented young people. The Oklahoma teacher protests have gained support from the migrant organizations like Muslims for Mercy coordinating the food logistics for the march. One of the local restaurants, Desi Wok, has also distributed the pro-march merchandise.

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