For them [young Aborigines out bush], no English means no future...[English is] the one language they need to save themselves from a life on welfare...
Firstly, it isn't self-evident that not speaking English means a person has no future. Secondly, bilingual education should result in people who speak two languages well.
It's strange, but Mr Bolt didn't seem to acknowledge the meaning of the prefix bi-. My understanding is that it means two. So an efficient education system would teach two languages, not just one.
The Macquarie Online Dictionary defines bilingual:
adjective 1. able to speak two languages with approximately equal facility.
Later in the article Bolt said:
In particular, the committee [the federal Parliament's standing committee on indigenous affairs] want bilingual education for Aboriginal children, in the teary-eyed hope that somehow finding competent teachers who can teach, say, maths in Pitjantjatjara or Pintupi will help children learn better English, too.This is a strange misunderstanding of how bilingual education works. It's not necessary that the speakers of each language teach every subject area. My sister worked in two different bilingual programs in suburban Melbourne. She doesn't speak either of the non-English languages. It was her job to teach in English, and she focused on certain subjects - for instance, one year she taught English, science, social studies and Physical Education. In other words, she taught half the curriculum.
Just how such unusually qualified and effective teachers could be found, no one really knows.
Mr Bolt's not an educator, so perhaps he is unaware of the body of research that shows bilingual education usually results in more competence in both languages. One language is not learned at the expense of the other.