Ebonics In The Classroom Research Paper

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Laura Kauffman ENGL 249 17 July 2014 Ebonics in the Classroom: To Teach or Not? The term has been around for years, however, the controversy is just beginning. Many people have noted the difference between Standard American English (SAE) and African American English (AAE), also known as “Ebonics”. Originating from the words “ebony” and “phonics”, it is often argued whether Ebonics is a dialect of English or if it is a separate language. African American English is not race specific and is often spoken by both blacks and whites. Ebonics is becoming extremely prevalent within the school systems and administrators have to decide whether or not to acknowledge it as a language which should be taught by educators within the classrooms. On December…show more content…
Parents, administrators and black leaders alike see many problems with acknowledging Ebonics as a separate language and especially with it being taught in the classroom. It is argued that if schools started teaching Ebonics in the classroom, it may diminish the importance of Standard American English, and in return, prevent these students from getting into college or even from withholding a career. Delaine Easton, a superintendent for California Schools, does not support Ebonics in the classroom and believes it will hinder students’ success in their futures: ''The University of California is not going to cut them any slack when they say, 'I was taught in my primary language,’ nor is the San Francisco Police Department or the U.S. Army” (Holmes). If this is true, teaching students in Ebonics rather than SAE would be detrimental to their futures and also suggest that it is acceptable to not learn English that is grammatically correct. T.J. Rodgers, a CEO of a Fortune 1,000 company, agrees with Easton: “Institutionalizing Black English would severely handicap Oakland students in their efforts to compete in the job market” (Rodgers). Rodgers goes on to say that teaching Ebonics in schools is a “human and economic tragedy”. In the 1970’s, Joan Baratz proposed that giving lessons in black student’s natural language, African American English could increase test scores. Unfortunately, Baratz was incorrect in her assumption. Her test failed and was soon forgotten (Raspberry). Many look supporters of SAE look at Baratz test and believe that trying again would be a waste of

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