Thursday, November 02, 2006

Spanish required

This is the first time I've seen this. I suspect he's not alone.

This Texas dad strongly objects to his kindergarten daughter being required to learn Spanish. The BOE will not allow the child to be transferred to a different school where Spanish isn't required. The best argument they have is that no one gets a high school diploma without 2 years of a foreign language--never mind she won't get high school credit for kindergarten work.

Bell claims it’s just confusing to his daughter.

“There’s no law that says a kindergarten child has to learn another language,” he said. “I honestly believe she’s confused.

“How come I can’t have an English-speaking teacher, if they exist?” Bell demanded.
(snip)
Bell said that even if he gets in trouble with truancy laws he will stand by his decision.

“I’ll go to jail for my convictions,” he said.

“What they’re doing is wrong.”



10 comments:

Tom said...

Confusing her? Sounds like a good argument to rid the curriculum of that pesky algebra which has been confusing kids for centuries. Heck, fractions are confusing too. I feel for the guy if he's going to take on the school board every time his daughter gets confused. I'm betting his issue is more cultural than cognitive.

It comes down to this: parents should definitely get some school choice by means of more open enrollment. I'm not disputing that. But, parents should not dictate the curriculum in our schools. That is best left to the educators who have had to go through years of training in order to become teachers and principals.

No, she may not get high school credit for her kindergarten Spanish lessons. However, she will get an early introduction to learning different languages and that will enable her to learn foreign languages more easily. She will become a lifelong learner, which is the point of education, isn't it? Further, by learning two languages and being able to compare, she will be more likely to learn concepts of English grammar better, which is sorely lacking in many of our students. I know my high school Latin sure helped me- wish I'd had it sooner.

Eric Holcombe said...

"But, parents should not dictate the curriculum in our schools. That is best left to the educators who have had to go through years of training in order to become teachers and principals."

Riiiight. They should just keep sending in the blank checks and keep their mouths shut. It takes professionals to make sure our children get the "right" kind of instruction with skewed and revisionist materials: http://tinyurl.com/kylcl

Remember, this ignorant public and the students "sorely lacking" in grammar you speak of are largely the handiwork of those "educators who have had to go through years of training in order to become teachers and principals."

They can't effectively instruct English grammar, so let's add Spanish?

Kay Brooks said...

Thanks for including the link to Jeff Jacoby's "Sacrificing Truth on the Alter of Diversity".

A really telling quote from the article:

``Our intentions were good," Madison's director of university publications said when the deception was exposed, ``but our methods were bad."

That's so true with too much of the current education system. I've no doubt that many of these people sincerely want to do good. But good intentions aren't enough. We've got to have good results also.

brittney said...

Learning other languages early helps to IMPROVE the native language skills. An educator like yourself should know that and welcome the learning of languages in young students.

Sorry, but this appears to be purely motivated by xenophobia.

Eric Holcombe said...

Source please?

brittney said...

one of many:
http://www.kidsource.com/kidsource/content3/second.language.p.k12.2.html

Eric Holcombe said...

Link is no good. That's an interesting concept, because it doesn't seem to play out for the Spanish-speaking students who have to learn English.

The majority of public school students in Texas are Hispanic (44.7%). Only 15.5% of the total student population are ELL. Since Spanish is the foreign language mentioned, I think it is safe to assume the ELL students are Hispanic, or ~34% of the Hispanic population.

Only 19% of 4th Grade Hispanic students scored proficient or better in Reading in 2005 (minority whites at 39%):

http://tinyurl.com/y3exux

And, as is typical for most public school students, their performance only drops the longer they are in public school. 15% of 8th grade Hispanic students scored proficient or better in Reading in 2005(minority whites at 44%):

http://tinyurl.com/yy72ne

It's all about the money. Texas can't get off the federal teat and has to come up with some way to get their majority student population proficient enough to meet NCLB requirements. The white kids are a minority - they don't matter as much.

Eric Holcombe said...

The American Textbook Council provides some additional information on the curriculum "invention" by the big publishers:

http://www.historytextbooks.org/california.htm

This is why a Texas/California public education story is always applicable to the rest of the nation. Whatever goofy program they dream up, the publishers will tailor their product to meet - they are the lion's share of the market.

loveamerica said...

Native Americans should not have to learn a foreign language, that they will never use. The foreigners coming here and illegal immigrants should have to learn the language of the country. We should not have to learn their language, all they have to do is go to the libary and get free English language classes. For native Americans, this should be an option, rather they want to learn Spanish, our children should not have to take Spanish unless the parents require it, unless they want to. To have to learn Algebra, is something one might need in their career.

How to Make an American
By John D. Fonte

Browsing through my grandmother's citizenship textbook from the 1930s one day, I found Lesson 61 on the Americanization policies of Theodore Roosevelt:

[Roosevelt] loved America above all else and his last public message was a plea for the "complete Americanization" of our people in which he said: "…[if] the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man's becoming an American, and nothing but an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. We have room for but one soul (sic) loyalty and that is loyalty to the American people."
The unfolding of British Protestant culture in America didn't just happen; it was orchestrated by our founders. As immigrants poured in during the late eighteenth century, our forefathers saw the need to "make Americans" of the new arrivals on their shores. "We must," John Jay said in 1797, "see our people more Americanized." At the peak of this effort in 1919, Justice Louis Brandeis declared that Americanization meant the immigrant "adopts the clothes, the manners, and the customs generally prevailing here…substitutes for his mother tongue the English language," ensures that "his interests and affections have become deeply rooted here," and comes "into complete harmony with our ideals and aspirations." When he has done all this, the new arrival will have "the national consciousness of an American." The acquisition of American citizenship, the renunciation of foreign allegiances, and the rejection of dual loyalties and nationalities are key components of this process.
Industrial corporations established schools at their factories to train immigrants in the English language and American values. In almost every city with a significant immigrant population the chamber of commerce had an Americanization program. Henry Ford was a leader in efforts to make immigrants into productive American workers. "These men of many nations must be taught American ways, the English language, and the right way to live," he stated. The Ford Motor Company instituted a six- to eight-month English language course that immigrant employees were compelled to attend, with graduates receiving diplomas qualifying them for citizenship.

john diehard said...

Why would somebody not want to learn Spanish?? Or any language! When you learn a language you learn everything about that culture not just the language!