Bilingual, dual language programs must be expanded to more schools

Books are an important tool to educate someone in a language foreign to them, but they do not help as much as bilingual programs.

Photo courtesy / Pxfuel

Books are an important tool to educate someone in a language foreign to them, but they do not help as much as bilingual programs.

Bilingual programs offer students the opportunity to learn another language in school. These programs give a lot of benefits to students. However, these are offered at many schools. Coronado, for example, supposedly has bilingual programs, but I never really heard of anyone taking these. If every high school offered bilingual programs, mainly Spanish, there would be more students with the ability to speak the language. Every school should offer bilingual programs and even enforce them at most high schools. Learning another language breaks the barrier between those who speak the language, especially living in a border city like El Paso.

I know that every high school student has to take two years of a foreign language, but that does not mean you will learn anything. Take myself for example: I took two years of Spanish and still am not able to carry a conversation in anything other than English. I remember my first day in that class, how young and naïve I was, thinking that I would actually learn another language. Yet there I was, struggling and barely passing. In my second year of Spanish, I eventually gave up and stopped putting in effort into learning the language and completing the work. Now, I have trouble ordering food at a Mexican restaurant.

Recently in Las Cruces, some school district has asked to increase the funding of every single bilingual program in their district. The district says 85% of their schools have dual language programs where students receive instruction in English and Spanish. Then again, it is many students learning Spanish to English, but that is a remarkable amount nonetheless. During the last school year, 99 students graduated with a state seal of bilingualism. Well, that’s 99 more students that graduate with the same state seals at Coronado. Las Cruces is out here teaching their students Spanish way more than over here at Coronado, and they are not as close to the border. That is why I am saying that learning Spanish will help us so much here. There is no doubt that the Las Cruces school district wants to increase the amount of people who graduated with a state seal in bilingualism.

There is one school in EPISD that I know has a dual language program, and it’s El Paso High. All of my friends from there are in Spanish 5 or something crazy like that. They not only understand Spanish, but they can speak it fluently like it was their first language. That dual language program is a main factor why some kids choose EPHS than Coronado.

Dual language and bilingual programs could be beneficial to so many students, especially the ones who don’t know any Spanish. But oh well, it is too late. I am leaving this school soon, and I am just going to have to learn Spanish with Duolingo or something.