The book The Bilingual Revolution: The Future of Education is in Two Languages tells the story of a grassroots movement that emerged out of the dedicated involvement of motivated parents, educators, and community actors willing to create and support dual language programs in New York City public schools.
Combining insight on learning and living in two languages, the book shares practical applications and examples of bilingual education, from preschool to high school. With New York City as a backdrop, Fabrice Jaumont, from a personal and scholarly perspective, recognizes in his book the successes and setbacks of these programs through vignettes that feature the parents and educators he helped initiate bilingual programs in their schools.
Although the roots of bilingual education in the United States can be traced back to the early 17th century, Jaumont describes a new phenomenon sweeping the country with the objectives of:
- Embracing families’ and communities’ own unique cultures and promoting their linguistic heritages as important parts of the greater international mosaic of our society
- Helping facilitate community re-engage with public schools
- Promoting a social, economic, and cultural sense of community and helping to bridge gaps that continue to divide us
Usually books on bilingual education are for teachers and little attention has been previously paid to how families can act to ensure that American public schools develop bilingual education programs for their children. The most important story told by Fabrice Jaumont in this book is that of the desire of American families to have their children schooled bilingually, in English, but also in a language that has deep connections to them.
Fabrice Jaumont’s book recaptures the promise of a bilingual education tradition and reminds us that all Americans––those with different racial identities, social class, and immigration history––have different linguistic and cultural practices. In this book, American parents whose children’s heritages include linguistic practices that have traces of what are considered Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Japanese, Italian, German, Polish, Russian, and Spanish, understand these practices to be important.
Jaumont’s book proposes a U-turn for bilingual education, a return to its beginnings. Rather than starting with government mandates and regulations and focusing only on those who lack––lack English, lack years of residency, lack economic means––Jaumont proposes that we start with the wishes of ethnolinguistic communities (old and new) to bilingually educate their children. The bilingual education programs that Jaumont portrays in this book start with the children and the desires of parents and communities for their education.
It is interesting that it has been a scholar of French heritage living and working in the United States that has recognized (and in many ways spearheaded) this bilingual revolution. Jaumont’s role in educating all parents to understand the benefits of bilingual education, as well as in supporting parents of all backgrounds in organizing themselves, has been without equal, for from the beginning he knew that only parents and communities could be change agents. The success of the American bilingual education tradition will rely on the willpower of parents. But willpower alone is not enough, and that is why Jaumont in this book gives parents a roadmap of how to start and support successful bilingual education programs.
Ofelia García’s foreword to The Bilingual Revolution is available here.
- Book Endorsements
Jaumont’s book stands on the edge of the nascent bilingual revolution running through the United States’ school system and asks how it might be improved and encouraged. Jaumont describes the country’s growing enthusiasm for multilingual education – and provides a roadmap for communities who want to join the movement.
—Conor Williams, New America’s Education Policy Program
This engaging book tells the story of the history of the bilingual education in the U.S.A. and the social forces that shaped that trajectory from perspective that is both personal and scholary. The center piece is a “how to” manual for setting up your own bilingual school and in so doing creating your own revolution. Recommended for parents, teachers, and everyone who thinks that languages are important.
—Dr. Ellen Bialystok, Chair in Lifespan Cognitive Development, York University
Fabrice Jaumont weaves the personal, political, and community stories of the growing bilingual movement together in a compelling, vitally important book that interlinks personal stories with the practice and science of bilingual education. This masterpiece will be indispensable for parents and educational leaders in the United States and abroad.
—William Rivers, Joint National Committee on Languages, National Council for Language & International Studies
In our ever more interconnected, miniaturized, and fragile era schools the world over are endeavoring to equip youth with the skills, competencies, and sensibilities to flourish as autonomous, engaged, and productive citizens. The teaching and learning of languages and the cultivation of the so-called bilingual advantage is resurfacing with great vigor in schools, large and small, all over the United States. It seems everywhere parents and teachers are searching to find the sweet spot of dual language teaching and learning. Search no more: The Bilingual Revolution is your book. It is a rare achievement. It combines profound insight into learning and teaching but also identity and cosmopolitanism with practical applications and exemplary proof points. The Bilingual Revolution is must-read for every parent, every teacher, every administrator interested in creating and supporting best dual language programs for the 21st Century.
—Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Dean of Education, UCLA
As chair of a global corporation, I know first-hand how crucial mastering languages is for communicating with and understanding managers, clients, and consumers from all over the world. This is only made possible by the knowledge of multiple languages. Fabrice Jaumont’s powerful book, The Bilingual Revolution, shows how empowering multilingual education can be for our youth, showcasing a very promising trend in the United States. A must-read for anyone interested in the future of education.
—Bruno Bich, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, BIC Group
Multilingualism is no longer a luxury afforded only to the affluent or lucky few who can attend dual-language schools; it is a critical 21st century skill that children will need to be successful in their future work and life. Jaumont’s Bilingual Revolution in many ways levels the playing field by sharing various world-language program models and best practices, while also demystifying language learning so that parents and educators have a feasible road map to begin a “revolution” of their own. Bilingual Revolution is a must read for any parent who wants to ensure their child will be world and workforce ready
—Angela Jackson, Founder, Global Language Project