Friday September 20, 2019
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"English Only" - Attack on Chicano Nation

Beat Back the Attack on Bilingual Education!
by Rosario Del Valle |
October 1, 1999

 English only in the schools is used as a vehicle to maintain the oppression of different nations. This weapon has been used across history by conquerors and destroyers of discovered nations. It replaces one language with another, to wipe out the means of communication and learning. For example, it is known that the Spanish destroyed the people they found, replacing the indigenous languages with Spanish.

Bilingual education is under attack for the same reasons. Thousands of students still suffer the loss of the right to learn in their native language. No support in their first language means that many students are not armed with the basic education they need to survive in this world. Many people fail to think about what the future holds for children who are refused a just education.

The majority of Chicano students are not in bilingual programs, in fact, only 30% are. The rest, 70% are being taught in classes that use English only, with minimal support. Proposition 227 reinforces this type of educational genocide; because of this, many students struggle in their studies.

Students are disillusioned with a system that fails to teach them adequately, and that does not care if they are in classes that underestimate them and treat them as useless. This is why the Chicano, African American, Latin American and Native American students and other oppressed groups are 50% or more of the students who drop out of school and never get their diploma.

It's bilingual programs that take the blame for an inadequate system that fails to adapt or account for our culture and language.

The truth is that these students are stripped of their identity, they are made to hate their language, their culture, and even their own parents. This attitude is reflected in the children's ideas; it creates a negative environment where students are taught that English is the only way to learn and only language of "success" in the United States.

English is made out as the only intelligent language. English is used to assimilate students and rewards them for thinking in assimilated ways. In other words, the programs that replace bilingual programs are a process of Americanization. Americanization in the sense that it cuts off the native language, cuts off the culture and the history. Young people disown where their parents, families, ancestors and customs come from, and replace them with individualist ideals that do not help them to escape the mental and physical oppression which oppressed nations are subjected to in this day and age.

Until Victory Forever!

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