Je Suis Tres Peturbed

Wonder me this… if I sent Sonny a podcast of my precious little APS rising second-grader speaking French with that fabulous tres authetic accent she now has, thanks to her brief stint of foreign language training with a real teacher, if he would consider returning funding for elementary school foreign language classes back to the budget? Precious Angel really did learn a ton of French last year, more than I ever did as a high schooler in the South Carolina public education system, I can safely say. (Yeah, yeah. I hear ya… “that’s not saying much!”)

I promise to make Sonny’s podcast more, uh, respectable than this one here I did recently. (WARNING: Do not click-on that podcast at work or around children. It contains “strong” (English) adult language, and also strong adult opinions.) It only comes in English because I, again, was a product of the public educational system, and I never did learn me up no foreign languages. But hey, at least I can blog.

23 comments

  1. Chris says:

    Normally I’d say it is the Legislature’s (specifically the House) job to decide if money should be spent on foreign language training in government schools. However with this Governor, he spends the money however he pleases. Give it a shot.

  2. EAVDad says:

    Whoa Spacey…that program was a “pilot” program for 24 schools. Pilot programs are supposed to be just that — “see how they work and then spread it around.” But after nearly a decade the program never grew. It just stayed with those 20-something schools. Quite frankly, as a taxpayer, I’m sick of little programs here and there that only benefit a tiny percentage of people. Either find a way to spread it around — or kill it. Plenty of vetoes to get on the Governor about. This isn’t one of them.

    Government Schools, Chris? Are you a little Boortz-in-Training? Christ! I suppose you think if every kid could go to private school it would be sooooooo much better. Update: Not every private school is like Lovett or Westminster. Most of them — yes MOST of them — are overpriced and suck. Public schools are the best bargain around.

  3. Know Nothing says:

    EAVDad,

    Public schools are the best bargain around? Let me guess, you’re a teacher in a public school, or a union official.

  4. EAVDad says:

    Know Nothing and Jeff — I am neither a teacher or a union person. I’m just someone who actually knows the truth. Don’t get me wrong: There are some great private schools. But, there are some crappy private schools too — in fact, there are quite a few.

    This idea that the “government schools” are “indoctrinating” our kids is just dittohead, black helicopter crap. Sounds great on the radio. Looks great on a bumper sticker. Hell, maybe you can even write a book. But it’s just not true. And if you think that all private schools are filled with excellent teachers and caring administrators who only want what’s best for your kids — well, it sounds like you’ve been indoctrinated. At least there is a code of ethics for public school teachers and consequences if they violate it. No such luck for private school teachers.

  5. Jeff Emanuel says:

    At least there is a code of ethics for public school teachers and consequences if they violate it.

    Not entirely accurate, EAVDad. In fact, hardly accurate at all.

    The fact that the public school teachers have the most powerful union in the country prevents a whole lot of “consequences.”

  6. SpaceyG says:

    Hey Jeff… how’d you get your typerwriter to do that little accent thingee on the tres? Cool! If I hadn’t gone to gub’mnt schools, I’d know what to call it.

  7. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Heh. It’s an “acute” accent, as opposed to one which tilts in the opposite direction (known as a “grave” — pronounced “GRAH-vay” — accent).

  8. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    What about killing GO FISH, for starters?

    Foreign languages in elementary school are important if your child is to ever have much hope of learning a foreign language. The younger the kid, the better his or her ability to pick up a second or even third language. There is also more opportunity in the earlier grades to integrate foreign language acquisition with other subjects, thus teaching the kids without them even knowing it.

    I’ve spent the past year teaching English to non-native English speakers ages 6-8. Not only do they pick up English more quickly than their older counterparts, but they also seem to think it’s pretty fun. Contrast that to your middle school Spanish class when you made piñatas and looked up the curse words in your bilingual dictionary to murmur at the teacher behind her back.

    It’s not only about making kids worldly and cultured, which is good but not crucial. It’s also about the tangible benefits of learning another language, such as improved standardized test performance and having better job opportunities. It’s also about making Georgia a real hub for global business (and attracting new centers like the FTAA headquarters) rather than counting on our unusually large airport to do it for us.

    Screw the fishies…expand the program a bit further. And yes, the state does have bigger priorities, but that never seemed to matter to Gov. Perdue or anyone in the legislature before.

  9. EAVDad says:

    Well Jeff, not entirely accurate on your part.

    In fact, the Professional Standards Commission can — AND DOES — revoke someone’s ability to teach in a public school if they have an ethical violation. Hey, but guess where they go teach after they’ve lose their certification? You got it — PRIVATE SCHOOLS! Because they don’t require certification…

    I don’t want to sound anti-private school: I attended one for part of my school years. They are fine and in some cases — for some kids — can do a better job of educating.

    But someone has to challenge this ridiculous notion that public schools are somehow a tool of the government to keep America down. It’s a fallacy and punchline. There are many great public schools that would educate our children as well — if not better — than the best private schools.

  10. Doug Deal says:

    Spacey.

    If you want to make an accent, hold down the atl key (if you have a pc), then type the numbers 0233 on the numberpad and then release the alt key. You should see é.

  11. EAVDad says:

    O.F. — I agree with you. Expand the program….or, get rid of it. The question comes to this: What is the role of the state in education? My suggestion is that the state provides the money and resources for the basics, the foundation! English and Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies. Then, the state can HELP with the other subjects. But to just have a pilot program that serves less than .01 percent of our kids for a decade seems silly. If Spacey’s school wants an elementary foreign language program, petition the local BOE and get them to provide it. Believe me — Atlanta Public Schools HAS THE MONEY!

  12. Overincorporated Fulton says:

    alt 130 will also give you é

    And yes, EAV, I agree that local districts could do more. I’d love to see foreign language instruction in elementary schools across the state but, since I’m a realist, I acknowledge that there is a greater chance of this happening in Atlanta and its immediate surroundings than in Dodge County.

  13. EAVDad says:

    O.F. – You are probably right, but you might be surprised how many of the smaller systems offer extras to their students.

    é – yep, alt 130 works too.
    â – and that’s alt 131.

    I could do this all night!

  14. SpaceyG says:

    Awww heck… I’ve been up all night tryin’ to figure this thang out. Alt key won’t do right. Darn gub’mnt schools…

  15. Doug Deal says:

    Spacey,

    Are you on a laptop? If ony a desk top, are you using the number pad (not the numbers at the top) with the numlock key engaged?

    Also are you releasing he alt key after you type the last character?

  16. Jeff Emanuel says:

    But someone has to challenge this ridiculous notion that public schools are somehow a tool of the government to keep America down.

    Nobody’s suggesting that they’re “a tool of the government to keep America down.” Public/government schools (you cannot argue with the technical accuracy of either name) are simply what is provided by tax dollars for the general public. Given that they are operated sans competition, there will be a natural underachieving (as there would be in any field); likewise, given the fact that all curricula must go through the same clearing house (in this case, government), it is natural that some things — be they subjects, details, foci, or points of view — will be favored over others across the board.

  17. Nicki says:

    Um, hey, got to be my difficult self here, with my damned expensive private school french.

    The acute is also an ague (“eh-gyue”). But the grave is pronounced “grahv.” No accent, and the e is silent.

    And in my opinion the public schools will always be underachieving in comparison to private schools because they can’t select their students, demand proper home lives for them, or even demand that they be allowed to stay in the same public school for a reasonable duration. But a public school can be worse, as good, or better than a private school. Depends in all cases upon the parents, the administrators, and the employees.

  18. Jeff Emanuel says:

    Nicki, here’s the difference: I learned my accentuation in the context of Attic Greek, and the word was given a…well, you might say Greek pronunciation 🙂

    With the rest of your comment, I am in complete agreement.

  19. Holly says:

    Nicki and Jeff: this point is pretty much proven in the case of magnet schools. Richmond County is a great example. It has the best high school in the state – Davidson – and also some of the worst. The difference at Davidson is selection and the requirement of parents and students to sign and honor a contract (lest they be sent back to their districted schools.)

  20. jsm says:

    EAV, I’ve been around private schools all my life–accredited ones with certified teachers. In fact, my sister is one of those certified teachers who teaches in private schools (for lower pay) by choice. She’d rather teach where she can make a difference in a child’s life and have some discipline and structure in the classroom.

    I’d like to see some proof of your assertion that “there are some crappy private schools too — in fact, there are quite a few” and that “[t]here are many great public schools that would educate our children as well — if not better — than the best private schools.” I don’t buy it.

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