Debate Over Bilingualism

January 19, 1996 • Volume 6, Issue 3
Should English be the nation's official language?
By Craig Donegan


Large-scale immigration from Latin America and Asia in recent years has convinced many Americans that English should be made the official language of the United States. They argue that a common culture is what holds a nation together, and that a common language is needed to convey and preserve that culture. Consequently, they want bilingual-education programs to focus on teaching English, and programs that reinforce newcomers' native languages to be reformed or abolished. Bilingual-education advocates argue that cultural and language diversity are national strengths that should be nurtured. They view official English as unnecessary, and probably unconstitutional, and oppose legislation designed to make English the national language and, in one case, to abolish bilingual education outright.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Bilingual Education and ESL
Dec. 11, 2009  Bilingual Education vs. English Immersion
Nov. 17, 2000  Future of Language
Jan. 19, 1996  Debate Over Bilingualism
Aug. 13, 1993  Bilingual Education
Mar. 11, 1988  Bilingual Education: Does It Work?
Sep. 19, 1980  Foreign Languages: Tongue-Tied Americans
Aug. 19, 1977  Bilingual Education
Sep. 24, 1958  Foreign Language Study
Bilingual and Multicultural Education