Focus on teaching American English in schools

Focus on teaching American English in schools

Mexican workers came to Walla Walla with the dream of providing their children with an opportunity to go as far as their God-given abilities can take them. The most valuable tool for their children is maximum proficiency in the American English language.

However, beginning students were separated and taught in dual languages.

The Bilingual Recommendation Committee states the following in their official Web page: “The district’s Hispanic/Latino students continue to struggle in English proficiency attainment as they mature through school, lagging behind both their non-Hispanic WWPS counterparts as well as Hispanic state averages in state testing, college entrance exams, and postsecondary remediation rates. There are an increasing number of ‘Heritage’ Hispanic/Latino students who are struggling in the current dual programing. Often 2nd and/or 3rd generation students, these are pupils entering kindergarten who may struggle in both English and Spanish, or who have stronger English than Spanish skills despite their Hispanic/Latino heritage”.

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The Bilingual Education Committee has submitted recommendations for a recalibration of bilingual programs for Walla Walla. The School Board will use those recommendations to make permanent decisions.

It appears that the failed dual-language program could be expanded by adding new variations that are expensive. In spite of the fact that the dual-language program has been a failure, the proposal seems to be to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. That is a sign of defective thinking.

However, there are important monetary costs involved. President Trump’s administration favors reducing funds for traditional public education in favor of charter schools. We are going to lack federal money for increasingly complicated testing or special programs like dual-language, especially Spanish.

The Washington state Legislature is struggling to define its funding structure. Many changes could be presented in a November statewide referendum.

What effect will the border wall have and just how many families will be deported. The student population numbers and district budgeting could change drastically? Many interim expenditures will have been wasted.

Stop dual-language now. English first and always — with Spanish as an elective beginning in middle school. We do not need bilingual schools. We need second language as an elective. Concentrate efforts and funds on proficient American English for all students. Expand ESL for adults, especially parents of students.

Informative reports have appeared in the U-B. The proposed programs are explained. There is an alternative.

Proficient American English is the obvious choice.

Abel Carreno

Walla Walla 

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