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For Latino Parents, Bilingual Classrooms Aren't Just About Language

National Public Radio

Right now, across the country, parents are in the midst of trying to get their children enrolled in bilingual classrooms for next September. The motivation is usually straightforward. Parents want their kids to learn a foreign language. The thinking is that a second language will bring significant cultural and economic advantages. But for many Latino parents (and others as well) there is something more at play; namely, it can feel like the family language is at stake. (The loss of Spanish-language fluency among native-born Latinos is a widespread phenomenon.) Bilingual classrooms are seen as a way of ensuring children will be able to read, write and speak Spanish.

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"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass