June 14, 1999
English can help immigrants find jobs, purchase houses, and buy food and clothing. These are necessary skills to survive in this country. Communication in English can also help immigrants get involved in their communities. They can join a religious group, a club, or an organization. Besides that, fluency in English can allow immigrants to become U.S. citizens. Then they can become active in the government that affects them.
Many bosses have English-only rules on the job, which cause lawsuits. If the immigrants working on the job know English, they will be able to speak it on the job, which will result in fewer lawsuits. The immigrants will then feel more comfortable among their fellow workers.
Immigrants' children can learn English more quickly if their parents know English. Because children learn so much from their parents, it is vital that ESL students' parents know how to communicate in English. These parents can then help their children with homework which is in English.
After all, the children of today are our country's future. With rising numbers of immigrants, a greater percentage of our population and our work force will speak English as their second language, and we will want them to know how to communicate effectively. They will be more productive members of our society if they are fluent in English. Also, more immigrants learning English will have another, more immediate, effect on our country. It will help our country's literacy rate rise.
Through extensive research of ESL, I have learned that ESL is extremely beneficial to both the individual learning English, our country's language, and our country as a whole. The answer is more ESL classes, especially adult ESL classes.
I urge every American to either participate in an ESL program or volunteer at one. Having volunteered at one myself, I can tell you that teaching another person a language is extremely worthwhile as well as exciting. Teaching ESL can also enrich your cultural experience. If you are interested in ESL, look into a program by getting in touch with a local college or school district.
Catherine Porter, Bothell