Did my German ancestors really need to know that much English?
December 7, 2011 3:19 PM Subscribe
Do immigrants need a higher level of proficiency in English to get along in the world today than our ancestors did when they immigrated?
posted by christinetheslp to Education (19 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
It seems like lately I've heard a lot of people complaining about things like having people translate food stamp applications into different languages or providing English as a Second Language services in schools. They say that since their ancestors came over and learned English without any fancy help, that today's immigrants should do the same.
I believe that people today need a better understanding of English to be in school, to access government programs, and to get along in the world. I already know about the difference between BICS
, and I'm looking for more information that either proves that a conversational level of fluency in English isn't enough to really get along in America, or that talks about the average level of English fluency that was needed a hundred or two hundred years ago. Or, if I'm totally off base and all of my ancestors were fluent in English within three months, I guess I'd like to see proof of that as well.
Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!