Bilingual is Better

I might just have to move to Illinois. In case you didn’t know, earlier this month, Gov. Pat Quinn, signed a bill, which aspires to strengthen bilingual education in that state. Illinois plans to do that by first evaluating the state of bilingual education in its schools and then presenting a report to lawmakers and state education officials by Jan. 1 with their findings and recommendations.

I’m not going to lie, listening to Gov. Quinn make the following remarks during the ceremony to sign the bill into law made me shriek in excitement:

Understanding that language is really the window to learning another culture. We do not want to be tongue-tied americans, we want to make sure we understand language as much as we can, not only the English language, but the Spanish language.

Can you imagine what school districts nationwide would look like if all the governors thought like him? I mean, what would happen if our nation’s governors realized the benefits behind bilingualism and the importance of getting to know other cultures? Illinois might be taking the lead, but I want to have to believe that this is only the beginning.

I believe that just like the subtitle of our forthcoming book Bilingual is Better states, we’re experiencing a bilingual parenting revolution and it’s undoubtedly changing the face of this country!

Now, I’m not naive enough to think that any politician who’s willing to say and do something so courageous may not have ulterior motives — such as getting on Latino’s good side in preparation for election day. But I don’t really care one way or the other. That may sound horrible to some, but I’m so convinced every child should have the opportunity that currently only the minority have to attend dual language immersion schools and graduate as bilingual people ready to tackle an even more global world than the one we currently inhabit.

Call me a dreamer, but I’d rather think that this is where the United States is moving towards than the opposite. I know that’s hard to believe considering all the anti-immigrant backlash Latinos have suffered in the last couple of years. But we must not be discouraged because soon enough it’ll be imposible to ignore our strength, value and impact as permanent fixtures in this country’s culture.

If you haven’t seen the video below, I encourage you to watch it. In the meantime, join me in applauding Gov. Pat Quinn, Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago) and Representative Linda Chapa Lavia (D-Aurora) who sponsored HB-3819 and the entire state of Illinois – the bill passed unanimously in both chambers – for leading the way and giving bilingualism the importance it deserves!

{Photo via mikecogh}

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