Additive and Subtractive Programs

The terms additive and subtractive bilingual education came into use in the last quarter of the 20th century as it became apparent that substantive differences existed between two major forms of bilingual education. The terms suggested totally different aims and goals. They are commonly attributed to Wallace Lambert, who used them in a 1975 publication. In their simplest definitions, the terms relate to the linguistic objectives of the program: to provide students with an opportunity to add a language to their communicative skill sets or, conversely, to insist that children participating in the program subtract their home language from active use and concentrate all efforts on rapidly learning and refining their English skills.

This simple statement of differences between program types masks important attitudes and ideas that underlie the ways in which language diversity is viewed by school people and education policymakers. In this entry, these differences are explored. Other entries in this encyclopedia delve more deeply into related topics mentioned here. Factors affecting the choice: additive or subtractive? The choice of either a policy aimed at fostering and enhancing the child's home language as part of the goals of bilingual education or one that seeks the opposite-abandoning home language use as quickly as possible-does not occur by chance.

Such choices are rooted in underlying assumptions concerning the benefits, risks, utility, and cultural valuing of languages other than English in the wider society. Similarly, whether native speakers of English are included in these programs determines in part what the objectives of the program will be. In the main, children who are native speakers of English would not be involved in programs of subtractive bilingual education.

When such children are involved, the programs are often referred to as two-way immersion programs, also known as dual-immersion programs, because the learning of the two languages occurs in both directions. This distinction does not always hold in n in other countries. Hence, the analysis below is limited to what is clearly the case in the United States.

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The Capitalist Ideals of Supply and Demand

The capitalist ideals of supply and demand, specialization, competition, and freedom of choice foster the development of schools that are compelled to implement the necessary methods to remain in business. Charter schools, although able to operate with relative flexibility, must serve the needs of parents and students while being held accountable, like any other public school, for student achievement.

Ultimately, schools must meet the required standards of academic rigor and excellence, or it will be shut down. Several studies of existing charter schools have shown mixed results; however, for those students with the greatest need, gains have been steady and positive. Considering all of these factors (flexibility, competition, innovation, and diverse student population), charter schools are a natural vehicle for bilingual education. In some instances, charter schools are the only vehicle for bilingual education, especially in states such as California and Arizona, where Propositions 227 and 203, respectively, abolished the right of families to enroll their children in this type of educational program.

Although bilingual education in the context of charter schools is generally viewed as a tool that aids in achieving rigorous educational outcomes for English language learners as well as native English speakers, it is also viewed as ensuring equal access to opportunity and fostering positive cultural identity and self-esteem, which can be linked to academic success. In this latter capacity, bilingual schools offer an opportunity for students to actively pursue a meaningful connection with a culture or heritage through language maintenance and development.

Although bilingual education has been at the center of heated political discussions, when linked to charter schools, it can be consistent with the concepts of parental choice, freedom from overregulation, and innovation. There are numerous bilingual schools in the United States today, serving as testing grounds for finding out whether this methodology works or where and with whom it may work better. A wide array of bilingual programs exists; however, a common model employed with emerging success by these schools is two-way, dual-language immersion.

This model combines students of the same age or grade level who are native speakers of different languages, with the goal of the children becoming fluent in more than one language. This model is most effective when the number of students in each group is evenly distributed and the proper supports are readily available, such as bilingual teachers, assistants, books, and other materials. Two charter schools exemplify this model: District of Columbia Bilingual Public Charter School, in Washington, D.C., and El Sol Santa Ana Science and Arts Academy Charter School, in Santa Ana, California.

Each offers students a dual-language immersion model in Spanish and English and a culturally based education anchored in program enhancements, including the arts, an extended day and year, and additional family support services. Although these are relatively new schools, each having been in operation for no more than a few years, as of 2006, they have embraced bilingual education as their program of choice and offer it in response to the needs and demands of their communities.

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Opinions of Language Specialists

Some language specialists like Van Dijk claims that some of the following prevailing commonalities have been found in studies of the news media:

Many of the dominant topics are directly or more subtly associated with problems, difficulties, or threats to the dominant values, interests, goals, or culture.

Ethnic events are consistently described from a White, majority point of view.

Topics that are relevant for the ordinary daily life of ethnic groups, such as work, housing, health, education, political life, and culture, as well as discrimination in these areas, are hardly discussed in the press unless they lead to "problems" for society as a whole or when they are spectacular in some way.

These general trends apply directly to language minority concerns. Press coverage of the recent antibilingual education ballot measures in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Colorado reveals some insight into how information about bilingual education is circulated. Whereas newspapers are only one of several media resources available to researchers, recent studies have demonstrated a direct correlation between the representation of bilingual education in newspapers and public voting trends in the cases mentioned above, as claimed by Otto Santa Ana and Eric Johnson.

Although such studies might effectively display how periodicals tend to project images of bilingual education to the public, one must consider the many elements that constitute a newspaper article, and their various types, in order to understand the issues clearly. From the broad perspective of readership demographics to the minute detail of the individual journalist's own perspective, the final print version of a newspaper article has been wrought by multiple influences.

A specific example of this can be seen in the media coverage of the 2000 Arizona Proposition 203 campaign, also known as the "English for the Children" ballot initiative. Supporters of Proposition 203 promoted the end of bilingual education in favor of a "sheltered English immersion" approach to language minority education. Arizona media coverage surrounding this political battle reveals how newspapers communicated messages concerning bilingual education, subtly or directly.

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Being Bilingual - 3 Ways Being Bilingual Will Help You Get a Job

Being bilingual has never been a bigger asset when it comes to looking for a job. Even if one has no formal education, there is an opportunity for careers that require prospective employees to simply be bilingual in order to apply. Being bilingual can expand your choice of jobs as employers are in desperate need to communicate to more clients.

Being Bilingual Makes You Valuable

Because bilingual employees are a rarity, employers value them greatly. Companies and employers need people that can communicate in other languages in order to see to the needs of their clients. Most employees are not bilingual, so someone else is needed to bridge the communication barriers. Fluently speaking another language is like having job insurance. It is one of the greatest assets that an employee can have. As our nation continues to grow, and more people speak other languages, companies need individuals that are bilingual in order to maintain their business.

Being Bilingual Opens The Door to Higher Careers

In the past many job opportunities required extensive experience. Now, more employers are finding that they can train individuals for the job role, if those individuals bring certain valuable attributes to the table. Bilingual individuals by nature now have the ability to take on job roles that they never would have before, because the employers need them. As more advanced positions open, bilingual employees find themselves valuable and competitive in the eyes of the company, and may be able to work their way up quicker than employees who are not bilingual.

Being Bilingual Can Encourage a Company to Grow

If a company only offers a product to certain types of people, then their business revenue will be more limited than others that reach a broader group. For companies that are only able to communicate in English with their clients, an entire group of potential consumers may feel alienated and seek to do business elsewhere. By having bilingual employees, companies can expand their consumer base and attract individuals that may not have felt as welcome in the past. This increases company profits and attracts more customers.

Dentistry is quickly becoming one of the fields in need of more Spanish speaking workers that can aid in patient communication and care. As dental offices see more non-English speaking patients, it is becoming extremely valuable to have bilingual front desk workers and assistants who can communicate with these patients. In some cases being bilingual is even more important than having prior dental experience. However, having a combination of the two can make a prospective employee very, very valuable.

Bilingual persons that have received training in the dental field make extremely competitive job applicants. Online study is one way for bilingual job applicants to become familiar with and confident in roles as a dental office employee. Online training classes allow students to study at their own pace and become certified in Dental Office Management, Dental Insurance Coding, and HIPAA Compliance courses. It's important that classes are certified by the American Dental Association and led by professionals in the field. Just think in a few short months you can feel empowered with the knowledge that you need to begin a new career in the field of dentistry.