Ron Unz, who helped to reform bilingual education in California and Arizona,
is at work in Massachusetts trying to do the same thing. This is good news,
though some political activists and those employed in bilingual education
(though not most immigrant parents) will fight him.
English-language immersion, not the endless, erratic process of traditional bilingual education, which holds back students, is the way to quickly and fully integrate immigrant students into American life. Bilingual education has tended to encourage national Balkanization. English is one of the few forces holding together the increasingly heterogeneous United States.
Bilingual-education programs of recent decades are a prescription for political, social and economic fragmentation, leaving immigrants the biggest losers.
That is not to say that children of immigrants should not be encouraged to know their parents’ native languages. A knowledge of other languages strengthens America. But it is in the national interest that newcomers to the nation learn English as their primary language as soon as possible.