La escuela de Ingles y Espanol esta abierto

Bilingual education has arrived in Georgia, as the Associated Press noted yesterday in an article (“Mom, I’m a niño!“) on Georgia’s first bilingual public (charter) school.

Clayton County’s Unidos Dual Language Charter School, which had a five-year charter approved by the state Board of Education back in April, opened its doors on August 8. The school’s website says that Unidos is “the first Dual Language Immersion Charter School in the state of Georgia,” as well as “the first school to embrace the values of bilingualism, biliteracy, and multiculturalism.”

The 132 students at Unidos get about 70 percent of their reading, writing, social sciences and math in Spanish, and 30 percent in English, according to the AP article, which continues:

Contrary to the perception that bilingual education is for immigrants who don’t want to assimilate, two-thirds of Unidos students are English-speakers. They include some immigrants’ children who are likely to forget their heritage tongue unless they keep studying it and others whose parents want them to learn Spanish because “it’s sort of where things are going,” Perry said.The seven teachers, all of whom have at least a basic knowledge of both languages, use only one language in the classroom and rely on hand gestures, miming and lots of repetition to keep the children’s attention.

During the first two weeks of school, they’ve been learning about colors, numbers, the month of August and the letters A and E — as well as about making friends with children from vastly different backgrounds.

“Kids who’ve never seen Hispanics before — they want to eat beside each other, they fight to sit beside each other,” said Lynda Quinones, who teaches English at Unidos. “If it wasn’t this environment, they’d probably be attacking each other.”

The pros and cons of bilingual education have been debated for quite some time; as this AP article points out, there are many dual-language schools in the US, the oldest of which have been around for nearly 50 years. As someone who has worked internationally, I personally have learned firsthand the value of individual multilingualism, and understand that knowledge of multiple languages not only makes a person more marketable when seeking a vocation, but can be extremely beneficial in one’s personal life, as well.

However, in my view, the idea of a multilingual education becomes less productive (a) when it is utilized for the purpose of perpetuating the attempt to force on America’s youth the postmodern form of “one world” multiculturalism which teaches that all other cultures are as good as or better than our own, or (b) when it is used as a preventive measure against immigrant assimilation.

What do you think?

28 comments

  1. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    I think your concern, then, is totally unfounded in this case.

    “Contrary to the perception that bilingual education is for immigrants who don’t want to assimilate, two-thirds of Unidos students are English-speakers. They include some immigrants’ children who are likely to forget their heritage tongue unless they keep studying it and others whose parents want them to learn Spanish because “it’s sort of where things are going,

  2. atlantaman says:

    The only thing I’d like to know is are my taxes paying for all this multicultural, heritge crap. If it’s private funded that’s one thing, but if my taxes are paying for it then I want the kids to get an education. That’s the problem with this country today, our knee-jerk reaction is to coddle every the new cultures.

    It’s interesting the article pointed to some that some are enrolled so they can be billingual in a world vocation market. Look folks, that’s not the intent of the school. The intent is to promote this “wishy washy” idea that we need to embrace their culture instead of their embracing our culture. Remember there is a reason they are coming over here by the millions and you don’t hear about many Americans immigrating to Mexico.

    I know I probably sound like an old codger, but our schools need to be more concerned about reading, writing, and arithmetic. We need to leave all the social heritage stuff to parents and after school private clubs and organizations. It’s becoming rather obvious as to why the children of the Estados Unidos are getting their asses kicked in the Sciences by other countries who have a better idea of what a pubilc education should involve.

  3. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    “If it’s private funded that’s one thing, but if my taxes are paying for it then I want the kids to get an education.”

    This is ignorant, for reasons I believe to be self-explanatory.

    “I know I probably sound like an old codger, but our schools need to be more concerned about reading, writing, and arithmetic.”

    Well, as it turns, out:

    “During the first two weeks of school, they’ve been learning about colors, numbers, the month of August and the letters A and E.”

    Sounds an awful lot like my elementary school education. Oh, an another thing Atlantaman. As clearly explained by the article, 2/3 of the students are English speakers whose parents want them to learn another language. This isn’t about “coddling.” It’s about school choice, a value I’d think you’d embrace. Big surprise that conservative love giving people choices until people start making choices they don’t like.

  4. Know Nothing says:

    There is another school like this in the subburbs of Boston, but I think it’s primarily a school for pre-schoolers. But I could be wrong. In my opinion, this premise behind the school is good, it is important that children learn foreign languages at an early age. However, it is not good that LEP students (that’s limited English proficient) are being taught in their native languages. It has been proven that bilingual education for LEP students does not work, and actually harms the student in the long run.

  5. atlantaman says:

    We’ve grown weak and soft. Government tax dollars were not going to fund Italian, Polish, or Irish speaking schools, those children were taught that if you want to be part of the American dream you should embrace our culture – now their grandchildren are doctors, lawyers and businessman. These folks are coming to America because it’s the greatest Country in the world, why apologize to them when they get here. I don’t want to pay for children to learn this multi-cultural, wishy-washy garbarge. I don’t care if they dedicate some time to colors and letters. One need not look any futher then our plummeting standing in the world education market to be worried. We are getting killed when it comes to Science and Math and yet so many people are more interested in the warm, fuzzy feeling they get in their heart when they see Mexican and American children fighting to sit with each other at lunch and learn about each other’s cultures.

    I have no problem with children learning a foreign language, as a matter of fact I think it’s a very good idea. I have a problem with Mexican children being taught in their native language in an American school.

    Let’s get them up and running in English first since that is the native language of the Country they will more then likely be spending the rest of their lives in. Then if we’d like we can enroll the immigrants in a German or French class tnstead of using them as props for some American parents to feel good that their kids are getting to see how the other half lives.

    “As clearly explained by the article, 2/3 of the students are English speakers whose parents want them to learn another language. This isn’t about “coddling.

  6. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    Sorry I mischaracterized your position. Only children already fluent in English should have school choice. Got it. Otherwise, parents should butt out of education and let the government (or better yet, you Atlantaman) decide how their children should be educated.

  7. atlantaman says:

    I don’t think school choice (with taxpayer money) equates to a complete educational free-for-all. It’s not a license for the providing schools to operate in a vacuum. If the state is going to take money from people who have never had kids or never plan to have them and finance the education of other people’s children, then the state should have some oversight to make sure the money is spent in a responsible manner. I guess that would be a school choice debate, how much state oversight is enough and how much is too much?

    Of course the ultimate in school choice would be the Libertarian point-of-view, which means no taxpayer money going to education. Then parents would have the financial responsibility for their children’s education and would be charged with finding them an appropriate school. Now that point-of-view also means if the parent chose to send their child to a school that left them functionally illiterate, then the state would also have no responsibility for that child’s healthcare, welfare and general well-being when he/she became and adult.

    While I have a Libertarian streak in me, it’s an area I disagree with them on. I believe there is a societal benefit to public financed education and that it gives children an opportunity to succeed where there otherwise would not be one. So if the goal is to continue to advance our country through the next educated generation, then some minimum standards must be met. I don’t believe teaching a child, who does not speak English, in a language that will leave him unable to communicate with society is anymore appropriate then teaching him 2+2=5 or that the world is flat.

    What benefit is there to teaching Latino children in Spanish. Well if I were a little more devious I would say the benefit to society is it would guarantee uneducated, cheap labor for another generation. Since it is virtually impossible for anyone to attain a reasonable level of success in this country without speaking our native language, it would be enslaving another generation to low wage lawn mowing and burger flipping.

    During a Fortune 500 job interview “No Hable Ingles

  8. LymanHall says:

    Capitalizing “Country” is creeping me out. Reminds me of “Fatherland” or “Mother Russia.” I, too, believe this is a great country and people learning English and Spanish aren’t going to threaten that.

    Jeff: which “cultures” are not as good or worse than ours? Please elaborate.

  9. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    For the obviously monolingual (ahem, Atlantaman), the interviewee would ACTUALLY say, “No hablo ingles” if he/she did not speak English.

    Thankfully, that is not what Unidos Dual Language Charter School is preparing these students for. If you take the time to read the article and think about what they are doing, they are providing both native-English and native-Spanish speakers with all the same elementary school subjects (yes, including SCIENCE) but simply taught in two languages. They teach in English at Unidos. They teach in Spanish. They also teach reading, writing, mathematics, spelling, science, and social studies. These kids are being prepared to compete in a market that is globalized, a market that speaks English, Spanish and a host of other languages.

    What the students are NOT receiving is the cloister education that Atlantaman so seems to fear. Fully 30% of the day is taught in English…meaning that students who failed to develop capability in English would probably fail 30% of their classes. These students will learn both languages, so what’s the hang up? Your knee-jerk reaction against all things that involve another language besides English is preventing you from seeing the obvious advantages of this CHOICE.

  10. atlantaman says:

    If you are so into having taxpayer funded choices then why descriminate against other immigrants, why not teach Korean and Urdu as well? A true CHOICE would involve paying for it yourself and not expecting the taxpayers to foot the bill for something they don’t have a CHOICE in.

    I don’t have any problem with languages other then English, my concern is for the future of the immigrant children. It is your short-sighted, knee-jerk reaction that wants the kids to “respect” their culture and grow up speaking broken English with low-wage paying jobs. The best thing for them, as with all other past immigrant classes, is to assimilate as quickly as possible. Any coddling will simply delay their overall success.

    If I moved to Mexico, I wouldn’t expect the taxpayer’s of Mexico to pay for my children’s math to be taught in English – and I wouldn’t accuse them of a knee-jerk reaction against all things that involve another language besides English. If I planned on living the rest of my life in Mexico it would be with the expectation that I and my children would have to quickly learn Spanish. If I was concerned about my children holding onto their anglo-saxon culture then I would teach my children about it at night or perhaps join the local American club. I certainly wouldn’t be so arrogant as to expect the Mexican government to change their culture and academic curriculum for me and my children. I would have more respect for the new country I choose to make my home in then to want them to change for my benefit.

  11. Melb says:

    “However, it is not good that LEP students (that’s limited English proficient) are being taught in their native languages. It has been proven that bilingual education for LEP students does not work, and actually harms the student in the long run.”

    Atlantaman- it seems that most of your arguments are based upon this premise.
    So Knownothing, I would like to see where this study is that says Bilingual education does not work.

    In my experience with ESL classes we have had a few teachers work with our program. One teacher would speak in English the entire time and teach in English. Most of the students had trouble learning and catching on. Simple mistakes could not be easily corrected and confused the student, hence, hindering them from learning. Since then we have a new ESL teacher and he speaks in Spanish and English. The students have been improving faster with this teacher then the pervious one and we have had a growth in our program, which will result in more English speakers.

    I’m not saying this could be the case with 100% of schools all the time, but to reject bilingual education because of a study you saw once said it doesn’t work isn’t very well thought out.

    “I don’t have any problem with languages other then English, my concern is for the future of the immigrant children. It is your short-sighted, knee-jerk reaction that wants the kids to “respect

  12. Melb says:

    sorry, got cut off.

    A-Man, You obviously do have a problem with other languages — or at least when they are teaching schools primarily in that Spanish to Latino students. I don’t think anyone is accusing you of hating other languages.

    Your entire comment about the knee-jerk reaction is total bull. You based it on the premise discussed earlier that you have not even seen. You have no direct experience with Latino children or their education. (and yes, I do, we run a bilingual after-school program that helps children with their schoolwork). You are just ranting. Many Latino children speak English because they have grown up here and are assimilated to American culture. If their parents want to send them to a school so they will not forget their native tongue and their parent’s culture than you should respect the decisions of the parents.

    I don’t want my tax payer money to go to a war in Iraq, I don’t want my tax payer money to be spent on abstinence only education in Africa, I don’t want my tax payer money to give Sonny Perdue a tax break on land deals. So sorry if you don’t want your tax payer money to be spent on bilingual eductaion because I think it is a good idea and so do others, not everyone gets what they want all of the time.

  13. atlantaman says:

    I don’t want my money going to Africa either, so we are on the same page on that issue.

    No tax money went to Sonny Perdue, which is a big problem with you liberals – you think all of the money we earn is the government’s and any money it let’s us keep is the equivalent of the government giving it to us.

    “So sorry if you don’t want your tax payer money to be spent on bilingual eductaion because I think it is a good idea and so do others, not everyone gets what they want all of the time.”

    You are right and that is what elections are for. I’ve got a feeling the majority of Georgians don’t want to waste their taxmoney on teaching future, hoepfully productive workforce members in any language other then English (which is far different then teaching a language class on Spanish, French or German). Now you might disagree and believe there are a substantial number of Georgians who want some classes taught in Spanish, but until I see the Big Guy campaiging on it I’ll stick with my gut reaction. As a Republican I’d enjoy nothing more then to watch Mark Taylor campaign on teaching Latino children in their native language – talk about a death wish.

    I wouldn’t expect the Mexican Government to teach American students in English or the French Government to teach Arab students in Arabic. It’s really quite arrogant for one immigrant group and its supporters to think we should mold our taxpayer funded academic curriculum to them when we haven’t done it for other past and current immigrant groups. This country has had a long history of assimilating legal immigrants and I don’t see why we should treat the current legal flock any differently.

    Melb-

    There was a great article by Thomas Sowell in the AJC today regarding your feeling that Jews, Koreans, etc have been exploiting black people with their stores and how it relates to supply and demand.

  14. BulldawgGirl says:

    I like the idea of a school where the children are learning to be bi-lingual. You never really realize how important the knowledge of other languages is until you travel, study or work abroad. I do however agree that taxpayer money should not be used to finance this sort of education. Atl Man, I agree with you when you say that you don’t expect a school in Mexico to be taught in English, but many other countries place a higher priority on the knowledge of other languages, than we do here in the US.

  15. Melb says:

    Atlman, I don’t think that all Jews, Koreans, Arabs, etc exploit all blacks. I was just saying that everyone shouldn’t ignore the fact that black communities are exploited sometimes.

  16. nfire says:

    Allow me to chime in: teaching Spanish or French in regular schools is the waste of time and money. How much Spanish do you remember from high school? However, being immersed in a foreign language is very beneficial and will lead to bilingualism. I know that it Europe many schools do, indeed, teach classes in languages which are not the native language. I believe this is one of the main reasons why schools in Europe are better than the schools here.

    I think it’s unwise to assert that offering classes in Spanish are more of an appeasement to illegals than a great educational opportunity for the smartest American students.

  17. atlantaman says:

    “in English, but many other countries place a higher priority on the knowledge of other languages, than we do here in the US.”

    I couldn’t agree more, I think once the Spanish students learn the native language (as any country would consider a priority in its own public schools) they can then branch out and learn French, German or another language.

    “I know that it Europe many schools do, indeed, teach classes in languages which are not the native language.”

    You are talking about children who are/will have no problem mastering their native language and are moving onto another language, it’s not even close to be a fair comparison. Somehow I doubt publicly funded schools in Europe are teaching math in Mandarin to Chinese students who only speak Mandarin.

    “I think it’s unwise to assert that offering classes in Spanish are more of an appeasement to illegals than a great educational opportunity for the smartest American students.”

    If a group of students, who already speak our native language fluently, wants to master another language then fine. I don’t think we should bastardize the issue into it being a wonderful educational opportunity for American children – unless you consider the Latino children props like a petting museum. This is about children who don’t speak our native language, who if they don’t get on the fast track to learning our native language will have a cap on their potential for the rest of their lives.

  18. atlantaman says:

    “I was just saying that everyone shouldn’t ignore the fact that black communities are exploited sometimes.”

    I think you should read that column today – it’s absurd to the think that a retail grocery store could exploit anyone with low quality food at high prices. The people are not being forced into the store to spend the money, they do so willingly.

  19. Melb says:

    That’s right Atlantaman, they go to these stores and buy subquality food at higher prices because they like to, in fact, they perfer it 2 to 1. No one is sticking a gun to their head, but some of these store owners are taking advantage of their customers lack of options.

  20. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Melb, except for cable TV (@&*#ing Charter!) and a few other services/utilities, nobody has “just one option” about what to buy or where to buy it. It’s a Free Market, and the choices are there. Just because people decide to take advantage of the convenience of convenience stores, which often have a lower quality (or at least a smaller selection) at a higher price, it does not mean that they are being “taken advantage of.” It just means that they put a lower priority on those items, or a higher priority on convenience, than on getting a better deal on a better product by shopping elsewhere.

    The options are out there in America, Melb, and you’ll have to go somewhere other than this country to convince folks that they aren’t.

  21. Melb says:

    Jeff, I am telling you – South Georgia is a different world. If you think that all people have the same options in America, then you need to get out more. If you are poor you have to take what is available to you. If you don’t have a car and MARTA doesn’t come to your area – least of all 200 miles away from its’ base – then you have to go to what is in walking distance. Sometimes small convenience stores are the only thing available for long distances.

    So Jeff that is the way you think. No one in our country could possibly be suffering, need help, or be in poverty? Since it is the anniversary of Katrina I will point to those that were in LA during the storm as evidence of that. If you think that people as poor as them aren’t living in Georgia then you need to get in your car and drive around. It will shock you. But I guess that’s the only way your argument can make sense, by ignoring poverty in this country. How do you do it? Reject the things you see and hear as lies? A biased media? You see the options you have and assume everyone has the same options? And before you jump down my throat, there is a lot of opportunity in America. Is it available to everyone and is there possiblity for people to fall through the cracks though? You cannot ignore these people or pretend they have the same lifestyle/opportunities becasue that doesn’t help the problem. You can block them out of your world, but that doesn’t mean they are not there.

  22. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Melb, I’ve been to the Katrina-hit areas, in both NO and Biloxi, and I’ve spent more time working and volunteering in a povertous community than I can count. I currently live in the fifth most povertous county in the nation, and do whatever I can to help it out.

    I have no desire to jump down your throat, Melb. You’re correct, “there is a lot of opportunity in America.” You’re also correct that some people may “fall through the cracks”; however, the best thing about America — and the opportunity that is more real here than anywhere else — is that people can pick themselves up, keep themselves from “falling through the cracks,” and can work their way up and out of povertous situations. However, in order to make that a more viable option, government has to reconsider the rewards it gives for persistent poverty, and especially has to reconsider the penalties imposed on those “benefits” when the person succeeds (i.e., public housing costs increasing as the occupant actually makes more money; disabled workers having to turn down promotions or pay increases because the larger check wouldn’t make up for the resulting loss of social security, etc.)

    I’m not saying America’s a utopia, Melb. However, I am saying that we’re the best nation on earth, especially in terms of opportunity, upward mobility, and free-market consumer and worker choice.

  23. Demonbeck says:

    Melb,

    There is no one size fits all, but is it really our government’s job to go around fitting everyone? Seriously, if these folks have a problem, the private sector is the best problem solver.

  24. atlantaman says:

    “Sometimes small convenience stores are the only thing available for long distances.”

    Once again Melb, there is a little more at play then just offering folks the best food at the cheapest prices possible. You’ve got overhead, security, customer volume, etc..

    if you sincerely believe there are convenience stores that are consipiring to rip black people off with rotten food and high prices, then you should open a conveinence store in the worst offending section of South Georgia you can think of. From your perspective it seems to be a guaranteed money-maker, I sense that this is the beginning of your road to riches. When I come to visit all that I ask is that you stock plenty of beef jerky.

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