Today children who are not fluent in English—legal and illegal immigrants, refugees, and native born—are the fastest growing portion of our population, accounting for more than half the children in classrooms in many city schools. Bilingual education programs established by federal and state laws have required that such students be taught basic subjects in their native languages rather than in English. Judged by most applicable measures—such as achievement scores and dropout rates—these programs have not been successful.
This edition includes new material on recent efforts to reform bilingual education, on the growing trend across the country toward English language programs, on the latest national research studies, and on the movement to make English the official language of the United States. Forked Tongue is a devastating inside account of how the twenty-eight-year experiment in bilingual education has failed our language-minority children—and why. Rosalie Porter draws on local, state, and international experience to provide us with the first authoritative account of which policies, programs, and practices actually succeed with the children they are intended to serve. Forked Tongue will be of interest to educators, sociologists, and scholars interested in second language acquisition.