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letters | failing grade for English-only approach

Lawmakers must act to correct flaws in how we teach English learners

As an assistant professor of the practice at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education, with expertise in bilingual education and English-language learning, I am acutely aware of the flaws of the current approach to the education of English-language learners in Massachusetts (“Bring back bilingual education for Boston schools,” Editorial, July 14).

I know of no educational research or theory that supports the state’s restrictive, one-size-fits-all sheltered-English approach. In fact, there is no evidence that such a broad yet singular approach to learning would be appropriate for the education of any subgroup of students. The fact that such an approach has been applied to the subgroup of students who happen to come to school with proficiency in a language other than English is highly discriminatory.

It is time that the Legislature change the law by considering the proposed actions in two bills under review. One, filed by Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, would allow more flexibility for the education of English learners, and the other, filed by Senator Karen Spilka and Representative Kay Khan, would recognize the value of all students in the Commonwealth developing proficiency in two languages, including, of course, English.


Anne Homza