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The discovery of some oil reserve in the state of California gives the chance to confront a hot-button issue in California. The demand by the California Indian Council to have the Bilingual Education Programs brought back in exchange for access to the oil reserves located in the Indian reservations land is in order and quite timely indeed.
As I will review later in this paper, the Indian culture has continuously been eroded, and it is almost becoming extinct. Language is a very significant means of ensuring that culture stream down to the next generation.
The native Indians, therefore, have all the rights to demand for the preservation of their culture by trying to ensure that their language is preserved. In this paper, I purpose to show why there is a need for every person to rally behind the California Indian Council in fighting for the return of bilingual education programs.
The Bilingual Education Program
It is worth noting that since the oil reserve is in the Indian Reservations Lands thus a private property, the council has all the rights to make such demands. The state on its part cannot force its way into the land as that will be going against the constitution. The oil reserve volume in the private land has not been confirmed, but it is highly suspected that the amount available is enough to commission exploitation.
Exploration of this huge oil reserve will be a huge relief to the U.S. in general as this will go a long way to alleviate the energy shortage that is often felt in the U.S. The offering of the Bilingual Education Programs in exchange for the exploration of oil reserves is a good idea and meant for the common good for all the Americans.
In adopting this approach, I am likely to confront a number of legal issues, which will definitely be brought by this approach. The first reaction will likely come from the other minority groups that might feel secluded and discriminated against by this action.
The other minority groups will likely view the Bilingual Education Programs as a preference treatment of some section of the public and to rectify that, they may in turn demand to be offered similar services.
In anticipation of such a move from the other minority groups, I will consider the reinstitution of the Bilingual Education Programs. I believe that all people should be treated equally, and therefore, I will put in more effort to ensure that all the minority groups enjoy the Bilingual Education Programs.
The inclusion of all the minority tribes in the Bilingual Education Programs will be necessary to avoid sending a skewed image of policy making whereby policies are made to favor some minority groups.
Therefore, the reinstitution of such a policy will not only cover the Native American Indians but all the minority groups. Setting the Bilingual Education policy to cover only the Native American Indians, as noted above, will appear skewed and will actually be a ground for the propagations of discrimination as there are other minority groups, which will likely benefit from the policy.
To avoid such damning condemnation of propagating discrimination through skewed policies, all the minority groups will have to be included in the policy. This will raise the question of funding of the bilingual education programs. I believe that the proceedings which will be realized from the oil exploitation should be used to fund the Bilingual Educations Programs.
It will not make much sense to let a culture get lost just because there is an issue with funding. The native Indians are citizens and as such the government has a responsibility to enhance their survival as well as their culture. Going by census carried out, it can be proven that the America Indians need to be assisted in sustain their culture. As at 2010, the American Indians made up only 1 percent of the total population of the U.S.
The native languages have been eroded with time. The state of California has the highest populace of American Indians, and therefore, it should be on the forefront to stand by the American Indians.
There are enough statistics showing that the native languages are dying out. A research carried out on America Indians, and Alaska Natives showed that:
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Dozens of Indian languages are in danger of being forgotten and dying, unless more is done to make them a tool for everyday communication. Of the roughly 300 documented Indian languages, only 175 are still spoken today, and 70-percent of those are spoken only by a handful of Indians in their 70s, which increases the likelihood they will die. (NEA 2)
According to the National Education Association (NEA) which gave the above statistics in 2006, the situation, in regard to the American Indian native language, is not very promising. The National Education Association (NEA) reported that there were concerted efforts by Native educators to ensure that the native languages are preserved and revived (NEA 3).
It is therefore, in line that California should join hands with these people and help in the revitalization and preservation of the native Indian languages. The National Education Association (NEA) has claimed that the Bilingual Education Programs have not negative influence on the kids but instead the work positively towards developing children:
Students at The Navajo Language School between the Meadows appear to be more comfortable in dealing with education in larger mainstream schools when they leave.
Because they are comfortable with their own culture and know who they are, they’re capable of higher achievement levels. And their knowledge of the Navajo language seems to be a major contributing factor. (NEA 3)
It is also worth noting that the reinstitution may not be an easy task to be carried out. Stiff opposition will be expected as it was just in 1998 that proposition 227 was passed (California 1) and overturning it may lead to some pertinent questions being raised as to whether the California education is meant for experimentation. The motive behind reinstitution of the bilingual education policy will raise eyebrows from the general public.
However, it is worth noting that the proposition 277 has not done much good. As noted above, there are student who are well off with the Bilingual Education Programs. According to Barker, Noels and Hecth, the English only policy is creating linguistic complication among some students.
This of course only applies to the minority language speakers. It has been argued that the English only movement has a negative effect on the people who do not speak English as their first language (Barker, Noels and Hecth 1).
It should, however, be noted that the proposition 277 does not have to be completely overturned because in its status quo, it has some loopholes, which can be used to propagate the Bilingual Programs. The proposal allows for the waiver of its restrictions in some circumstances. As a matter of fact, the parent only needs to request for waivers, and their children will be enrolled in the Bilingual Education Programs.
As a matter of fact, a number of schools in Orange County, California has been exercising the power of waivers; the most common of such schools is Santa Ana (Sacchetti 1). Therefore, it would be very hard for the American Indians to have their way into the Bilingual Education Programs without raising much alarm. The parents only need to request for waivers for their children after they have met some conditions.
The experience of the Oakland Ebonics proposal is likely to resurface in such a scenario. To counter this, I will only need to show that the Oakland proposal was set in a situation which was completely different from the current situation in hand and hence its precedence cannot be used in the current situation. For instance, Ebonics unlike the American Indian language has many grammar similarities with the standards English.
Actually, Ebonics is a modification of the American English. The Ebonics proposal failed in Oakland because the people for whom it was meant to help rejected it. This is in contrast to our current case because those whom the native language is meant to help have actually demanded for it (Rickford 1).
Since some of the oil reserve extends to Arizona, this will present a hard nut to crack taking into consideration that proposal 203 of the state of Arizona does not have many loopholes as proposal 207. The two governors should sit down and discuss the way forward on this.
Bilingual Education Programs are good and can play a big role in helping students to excel in academics. The request by the California Indians Council should be allowed. The American Indians parents should be guarded on the loopholes available to make use of the Bilingual Education Programs. This will go a long way to preserve the culture of the Native American Indians.
Barker, Giles, Noels Duck, and Hecht Clement. “The English-only movement: a communication analysis of changing perceptions of language vitality.” Journal of Communication 51.1(2001): 3-37. Print.
California. “Proposal 227.” English Language in Public Schools, n.d. Web.
NEA. “American Indians/Alaska Natives.” Focus On, 2006. Web.
Rickford, John. “What is Ebonics (African American vernacular English).” Linguistic Society of America, 2011. Web.
Sacchetti, Maria. “Bilingual classes may get review.” AZ Bilingualed, 2003. Web.