Common Culture

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The nativists may be restless, but they have little reason to fear immigrants from south of the border–especially if they are afraid immigrants don't want their children to assimilate. "The Importance of Learning English," a survey commissioned by the Center for Equal Opportunity, found that of 600 Hispanic parents from five major U.S. cities, 51 percent consider "learning to read, write, and speak English" the most important educational goal for their children. Twenty-three percent gave "learning academic subjects like math, history, and science" highest priority, while only 11 percent said having their children learn Spanish was their first concern.

Just 4.3 percent placed "learning about Hispanic culture" at the top of the list. Parents interviewed in Spanish were actually more likely to say learning English was most important for their children than those questioned in English.

The CEO's report also helps shed some light on who doesn't support bilingual education: The survey found that 63 percent of Hispanic parents believe Hispanic children should be taught English before they are taught Spanish.

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