The Bilingual Revolution

New York City is at the center of a quiet revolution, with parents asking public schools to offer more bilingual, immersion, or dual language programs from preschool to high school. Involving educators and families at all levels, these programs transform schools and empower communities in unprecedented ways. Similar programs have developed in hundreds of cities in the United States. The Bilingual Revolution tells the story of a grassroots initiative in New York, which has emerged from a group of motivated parents, committed educators, and the involvement of multiple actors in the community. Although the roots of bilingual education can be traced to the 1960s, a new vision is emerging, with three objectives. First, to embrace people’s own cultures and promote their linguistic heritages as important parts of the greater international mosaic that is New York City. Second, to help people re-engage with New York’s public schools. And third, to promote community life (social, economic, cultural) and thus help bridge the widening inequality gap that Mayor de Blasio ironically calls “the tale of two cities”.

The Bilingual Revolution tells the story of bilingual education’s successes and setbacks through portraits of bilingual education “revolutionaries” who not only created their own free, high-quality bilingual programs in schools but inspired others to do so. In their diversity, these portraits paint a picture of a viable 21st century solution for both allowing communities to preserve their linguistic heritage and to raise a generation of young Americans who are bilingual, bi-literate and multicultural citizens of the world. The book will inspire and engage parents in creating more bilingual programs in schools and community centers. The purpose of this work is to bring the advantages of bilingualism to as many children as possible, with the benefits of cognitive enhancement, critical thinking, and sensitivity toward other people and cultures, to name a few. The book’s forward message is reinforced by a belief that when these opportunities are available for free and as early as preschool or kindergarten, children’s chances to succeed will improve and our communities will be strengthened. Being bilingual is no longer superfluous nor a privilege of a happy few. Being bilingual can become the new norm, and it can start with our younger citizens. A bilingual revolution has started, and it is for our common good.

Publisher: Multilingual Matters (submitted)
Publication Date: tbc

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