Did you know that Arkansas has a strict law, which requires that only English be used in school?
The Official English legislation, also known as the English-Only law, was part of a larger movement in the 1980s that worked to promote English as the official language of the United States.
This law was initiated by Bill Clinton, who was the Governor of Arkansas in 1987; however, people are increasingly getting worried about the negative effects of this law.
In fact, many argue that this law may be too extreme and impractical.
Because some schools have students who do not speak English as their primary language, it is difficult for these children to follow the school curriculum. As a result, many students are falling behind their peers.
In fact, literacy and language specialist Rachel Hazelhurst warns that many immigrant children suffer when they are forced to adopt English and abandon their native language.
In the interview with The Atlantic, Hazelhurst said that “if there’s a disconnect between students’ home identities and what’s promoted by the school, students are more likely to disconnect.”
She also told the Atlantic that when “children lose their home language skills, educators have a serious problem … fractured communities are created when families can no longer [talk] on a deep level about issues that matter”.
No matter where these children come from, holding on to their heritage is crucial as they grow and develop their own identities.
And language is undoubtedly one of the most significant ways to learn about the culture.
So, while it is certainly important to adapt to the new environment by learning English, many people argue that simply banning the use of their first language is not the solution.
As mentioned above, Arkansas is not the only state that mandates the English-only policy. Other states including California, North Dakota, and Mississippi also have similar English-only laws.
What do you think these states should do? Should they maintain this English-only policy, or should they try to implement a different policy?