CITY’S MOVE TO DROP BILINGUAL EDUCATION CLOSELY WATCHED

Paolo Gambi, Rinascimento poetico

CITY’S MOVE TO DROP BILINGUAL EDUCATION CLOSELY WATCHED

ORANGE, CALIFORNIA (AP) _ ROMELIO VASQUEZ NERVOUSLY RUBS HIS CALLUSED HANDS TOGETHER AS HE SHARES HIS VISION FOR HIS THREE CHILDREN. HE SEES AN ATTORNEY, A DOCTOR AND A BUSINESSMAN.
“MAYBE I’M DREAMING TOO BIG,” HE SAYS IN SPANISH. “BUT THAT’S WHAT I CAME TO THIS COUNTRY FOR, SO MY CHILDREN COULD BE MORE THAN ORDINARY LABORERS LIKE ME.”
VASQUEZ, WHO COMES FROM A SMALL TOWN OUTSIDE MEXICO CITY, WORRIES THAT HE CHOSE THE WRONG CALIFORNIA CITY FOR THAT DREAM.
AS A STATEWIDE CAMPAIGN AGAINST BILINGUAL EDUCATION GAINS MOMENTUM, CITY SCHOOL OFFICIALS HERE HAVE MOVED AHEAD ON THEIR OWN TO DISMANTLE THEIR BILINGUAL PROGRAM.
THE 29,000-STUDENT DISTRICT IS SEEKING A WAIVER FROM A STATE REQUIREMENT THAT MOST NON-ENGLISH-SPEAKING STUDENTS BE TAUGHT ENGLISH AND OTHER SUBJECTS IN THEIR NATIVE LANGUAGE.
THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION IN JULY APPROVED THE DISTRICT’S PLAN, BUT A STATEWIDE COALITION OF CIVIL RIGHTS GROUPS AND PARENTS CHALLENGED THE DECISION IN COURT.
LAST MONTH, A SACRAMENTO SUPERIOR COURT JUDGE ORDERED ORANGE TO REINSTATE BILINGUAL EDUCATION UNTIL THE CASE GOES TO TRIAL. SCHOOL OFFICIALS SUCCESSFULLY APPEALED THAT DECISION, AND A FEDERAL JUDGE LIFTED THE TEMPORARY ORDER EARLIER THIS MONTH.
BOTH SIDES WORRY THAT THE CHILDREN’S EDUCATION WILL SUFFER AS THE BATTLE CONTINUES.
“THIS IS A LARGE-SCALE CHANGE AND YOU DON’T MAKE LARGE-SCALE CHANGE QUICKLY,” SAID NEIL MCKINNON, THE CITY’S ASSISTANT SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENT. “WE STOP AND WE START AND WE STOP AND WE START. WE’RE UNDER THE GUN TO PRODUCE FAIR RESULTS AND WE’RE NOT BEING GIVEN A FAIR CHANCE.”
PROPONENTS OF BILINGUAL EDUCATION SAY MUCH MORE IS AT STAKE THAN ONE DISTRICT’S PROGRAM.
“WE’RE CONCERNED THAT OTHER DISTRICTS ARE GOING TO JUMP ON THE BANDWAGON AND TENS OF THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN COULD BE SUBJECTED TO THIS,” SAID ATTORNEY CYNTHIA RICE OF CALIFORNIA RURAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE, WHICH FILED THE SUIT.
“IT COULD SET A TREND FOR THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA,” SAID GIL FLORES, STATE DIRECTOR OF THE LEAGUE OF UNITED LATIN AMERICAN CITIZENS. “MOST LATINOS SEE IT AS AN ATTACK.”
FLORES AND OTHERS ARE WORRIED THAT IF THE DISTRICT PREVAILS IN THE CASE, IT WILL FEED ANTI-IMMIGRANT SENTIMENT AND BOOST A PROPOSED BALLOT INITIATIVE TO VIRTUALLY END STATE FINANCING FOR BILINGUAL EDUCATION.
DISTRICT EDUCATORS SAY THEY SIMPLY WANT TO DO AWAY WITH A SYSTEM THAT DOES NOT WORK.
VASQUEZ IS CAUGHT IN THE MIDDLE.
“I JUST WANT MY CHILDREN TO LEARN ENGLISH, TO GO TO COLLEGE,” HE SAYS. “I DON’T KNOW WHY IT HAS TO BE SO COMPLICATED.”
23/09/97

Lascia un commento

0:00
0:00