CALIFORNIA TAKES A STEP TOWARD ENGLISH

Posted on in Politica e lingue 25 vedi

CALIFORNIA TAKES A STEP TOWARD ENGLISH

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (AP) _ MULTIHUED, MULTICULTURAL CALIFORNIA _ A BELLWETHER IN THE NATIONAL DEBATE ON BILINGUAL EDUCATION _ HAS TAKEN A BIG STEP TOWARD TEACHING ITS CHILDREN ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH.
THREE MONTHS BEFORE A STATEWIDE REFERENDUM ON WHETHER TO ALL BUT ELIMINATE BILINGUAL EDUCATION, THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION HAS SCRAPPED ITS 30-YEAR-OLD POLICY OF REQUIRING SCHOOLS TO TEACH STUDENTS WITH LIMITED ENGLISH SKILLS IN THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGE.
THURSDAY’S VOTE GIVES CONTROL INSTEAD TO LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS.
STATE LAW STILL REQUIRES NATIVE-LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION “WHEN NECESSARY” TO PROVIDE IMMIGRANT CHILDREN WITH AN EQUAL CHANCE FOR ACADEMIC SUCCESS.
BUT WHEN _ IF EVER _ SUCH INSTRUCTION IS NECESSARY IS AT THE ROOT OF A BITTER DEBATE AMONG PARENTS, EDUCATORS AND POLITICIANS IN A STATE WHERE 55 DIFFERENT LANGUAGES ARE OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZED IN THE SCHOOLS, AND EVEN MORE DIALECTS ARE SPOKEN ON PLAYGROUNDS AND IN SCHOOL CAFETERIAS.
“LOCALS WILL HAVE TO DECIDE,” SAID STATE BOARD MEMBER MARION JOSEPH ON THURSDAY WHILE BEING PEPPERED WITH ANGRY QUESTIONS BY BILINGUAL ADVOCATES.
SOME OF THE LOCALS ALREADY HAVE DECIDED.
THE MAJORITY OF STUDENTS AT WILLOW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN SAN YSIDRO, LESS THAN A MILE (KILOMETER) FROM THE CALIFORNIA-MEXICO BORDER, WILL MOST LIKELY CONTINUE IN BILINGUAL CLASSES, PRINCIPAL JOSE TORRES SAID FRIDAY.
WHILE IN SANTA BARBARA, SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICIALS WERE PLEASED THEY NO LONGER NEED TO SEEK STATE APPROVAL TO DROP SPANISH-LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION FOR TWO-THIRDS OF ITS HISPANIC STUDENTS.
COMING AFTER THE EMOTIONAL DEBATES IN CALIFORNIA OVER IMMIGRANT RIGHTS AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, FEW ISSUES HAVE RAISED SUCH HEATED EMOTIONS.
FOES SAY PROVIDING BILINGUAL CLASSES FOR ITS MOSTLY SPANISH-SPEAKING ENGLISH LEARNERS HAS BEEN A DISMAL FAILURE. SOME 1.4 MILLION SCHOOL CHILDREN _ A QUARTER OF ALL PUBLIC STUDENTS IN THE STATE _ ARE CLASSIFIED AS “LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT,” AND 80 PERCENT OF THEM ARE SPANISH-SPEAKING.
THE JUNE 2 BALLOT INITIATIVE ASKS VOTERS TO DECIDE WHETHER “ALL CHILDREN IN CALIFORNIA PUBLIC SCHOOLS SHALL BE TAUGHT ENGLISH BY BEING TAUGHT IN ENGLISH.” IF THE MEASURE PASSES, LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS WOULDN’T EVEN HAVE THE OPTION OF TEACHING IN OTHER LANGUAGES BESIDES ENGLISH, UNLESS PARENTS SPECIFICALLY REQUESTED IT.
SUPPORTERS SAY THE BOARD’S DECISION THURSDAY TO GIVE LOCAL DISTRICTS CONTROL SOUNDS GOOD, BUT REALLY MEANS THE SAME FAILED PROGRAMS WILL CONTINUE TO BE TAUGHT.
THEY WANT BILINGUAL EDUCATION _ WHICH COSTS THE STATE DLRS 300 MILLION A YEAR _ ELIMINATED ALTOGETHER.
“THE PROBLEM IS THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THE DECISIONS ARE THOSE WHO HAVE A FINANCIAL SELF-INTEREST TO MAINTAIN THE PROGRAMS,” SAID SHERRY ANNIS, SPOKESWOMAN FOR THE “ENGLISH FOR THE CHILDREN” CAMPAIGN.
PARENTS WERE SPLIT ON THE ISSUE.
ESMERALDA ROMERO, A SINGLE MOTHER WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH AND SPANISH AND HAD JUST DROPPED HER DAUGHTER OFF AT CANOGA PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN LOS ANGELES, SAID SOME FORM OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION SHOULD REMAIN.
“THERE’S A LOT OF KIDS ENTERING SCHOOL NOT KNOWING ANY ENGLISH AT ALL,” SHE SAID. “IF YOU TALK TO THE CHILD IN ENGLISH AND HE HASN’T LEARNED ANY ENGLISH, HE DOESN’T LEARN ANYTHING.”
ANOTHER PARENT, AMELIA GALVAN, SAID THERE WAS NO BILINGUAL EDUCATION WHEN SHE ENROLLED AT CANOGA PARK, AND ALTHOUGH IT WAS DIFFICULT AT FIRST, BY THE FOURTH GRADE SHE HAD NO PROBLEMS WITH ENGLISH.
“I THINK THEY SHOULD GET RID OF IT,” SHE SAID. “I DON’T THINK IT WORKS. IT’S A WASTE OF MONEY.”
13 MAR 98




0 Comments

No comments yet
Leaving the first to comment on this article.
You need or account to post comment.