How is bilingual education working in Illinois? We’ll find out. The governor has signed a bill into law that requires the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education to study the condition of bilingual education in Illinois and to make recommendations. Students whose first language is not English make up about 10 percent of the state’s student population.
“It is a population that doesn’t get recognized, that doesn’t get talked about,” says Josie Yanguas, the chairman of the commission. In bilingual education, students are immersed in two languages: English and their native language, so that they can learn the proper use of both.
The native language of Illinois students for whom English is not their first language is mainly Spanish (80 percent). Also on the list are Polish, Urdu, Arabic, Tagalog, Korean and Chinese. The bulk of these students are located in Chicago, Aurora, Cicero, Elgin and Waukegan, though there are some all over the