Black English and some other dialects of English differ from standard English, the "accepted" dialect. Students who are in American schools may be penalized or considered less intelligent because their dialect appears ungrammatical even though it has a regular system of grammatical rules and is spoken by a sizable number of people. Is this the way the American educational system should operate? Explain why or why not. What should or should not be done in the teaching of language in our schools?.
It has been the language of playgrounds, neighborhoods, and churches since African slaves were brought to this country hundreds of years ago. .
Ebonics - a term combining "ebony" and "phonics" - has been the subject of a bitter and contentious national debate since the school board in Oakland, Calif., voted last to treat black English as a second language in its classrooms and to begin instructing African-American students in the tongue as a way to build reading, writing and language skills.
To critics, the move represents political correctness run amok: It elevates slang to a legitimate language--and threatens to undermine the teaching of standard English to a generation of inner-city youths. But proponents say recognizing black English will only help African-American kids learn linguistic skills-- including standard English--better. .
The result is a controversy that now transcends the city of Oakland to encompass sensitive issues of race and education reform across the country. .
Behind all the furor is a long history of serious research by linguists and educators on the existence of black English, or ebonics as it's called, and its impact on learning problems. In Oakland, blacks make up a little more than half of the 52,000 student enrollment--the rest are mostly Hispanics and Asians--but their grade point averages are by far the lowest. Black students make up 71 percent of the special- education classes.