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Why Bilingual Education Policy is Needed: A Philosophical Response to the Critics

Publisher: Bilingual Research Journal, 24 (4)
Page Numbers: 333-354

What role does bilingual education policy have in the educational opportunity structure for heritage language (HL) students? In what ways might bilingual education enhance students’ self-determination? In this article, the author argues that the various criticisms against bilingual education policy are myopic and focused on nostalgic notions of Americanization and assimilation, which often cost heritage language students a secure sense of cultural identity, an expansive social context of choice, and consequently, their self-determination. When students have a secure sense of authenticity in their cultural identity, and a favorable social context within which to make important life choices, they then have the best chance of become self-determining. Thus, the author examines how bilingual education policy should be justified based on the principle of self-determination.