ecisive, as far as shaping language is concerned, cognition plus experience allow the individual to acquire the social function of language. In other words, thought can develop independently of language. The reverse is not true; language as social function does not determine (though it may influence) rational processes: "The system of language is only one of a number of cognitive systems that interact in the most intimate way in the actual use of language" (Chomsky, 1980, p. 188).
First there is the fact that not all non-English speakers are going to be speaking the same language; it seems impractical, illogical, and undesirable to require the first-grade teacher to have proficiency in English, Spanish, Tagalog, Cantonese, and Russian just because students speaking those languages wind up in the same classroom and more, just because they cannot speak English. To put it another way, the educational system cannot accommodate all polyglots; to attempt to do so would potentially put sundry minority populations in the position of competing against one another for accommodation by the English-speaking mainstream. One does not have to be an advocate of English-only education to see that this would have detrimental consequences for the organization of the system. And it seems pernicious for individual student development as well if, as cognitive theory appears to suggest, children have capacity to conquer whatever difficulties the English language places before them and thereby empower themselves vis-a-vis the mainstream--whatever language and whatever culture they start out with. Another issue is long-term practical consequences to students of failing to master standard English usa