Peter Duignan writes that misunderstandings abound over bilingual education (Commentary, May 27). He then goes on to further those misunderstandings. The same error appears in your otherwise excellent series on education (May 17-19). These articles presume that all non-English-speaking children are either born here or come here before the age of 5. Nearly all of the public discussion of bilingual education has centered around elementary schools.
That’s just not realistic. Thousands of junior high and high school age children come here as well, and their needs are very different from those of a 5-year-old. It’s just not logical to think that a newly arrived non-English speaker can be dropped into a high school history class taught entirely in English and survive. Transitional bilingual education works very well for students like these. Students spend two to three hours a day learning English. The rest of the day they get instruction in math, history, science, etc. in their native language. I have taught in such a program and seen the results.
KAREN DAUPHIN, Agoura Hills