The Albert Einstein Academy Charter elementary school is located in California, US. One of its most prominent features is the provision of language immersion programs where classes are taught in both English and German. This two-way bilingual program later saw the inclusion of Spanish. Despite the fact that the school’s bilingual program facilitates the simultaneous bilingual development of minority and majority groups, some critical issues and controversies concerning socio-cultural aspects, policies, and legal requirements are existent.
Within the United States, equitable access to quality education is a fundamental right for all children, and this is a source of contention for the Albert Einstein bilingual program. Initially, preference was given to German-speaking students, and although this procedure was deemed discriminatory and discontinued, the school’s policy still offers a 25% priority to fluent German speakers (Albert Einstein Academies Charter Elementary School 1). This means that other students who are fluent English speakers are less likely to experience the school’s programs. In a way, local students are disadvantaged as this policy appears to be a student filtering technique that is unfair hence bringing up the legal concern for equitable access to learning.
The school’s policy also raises the socio-cultural aspect that each student possesses a linguistic background that define their uniqueness to the learning environment. The system goes on to emphasize the need to recognize and maintain cultural identity. On one side, culture can be preserved through this program. On the other hand, a contention arises where English speaking parents want their children to gain more than one language compete for positions with children from families with little English (Koran). The clash between multilingual learning for market competitiveness and helping those with limited English to learn and maintain their language culture is therefore apparent.
Albert Einstein Academies Charter Elementary School. Language Policy 20152016. Policy Paper. San Diego, CA: Albert Einstein Academies Charter Elementary School, 2015.
Koran, Mario. “The Learning Curve: Deciphering the Bilingual Ed Ballot Measure.” 29 September 2016. Education. https://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/education/learning-curve-deciphering-bilingual-ed-ballot-measure/. 21 November 2017.