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Thursday, October 25, 2012

English...it's the American way!

While the new school day that CPS has created is definitely l-o-n-g-e-r, it certainly is not getting any better.   For years now, where I work, every written communication has been sent home in English and Spanish.  The next thing was that parents got to choose if they wanted to receive their child's report card in English or Spanish.  Then as we sit at assemblies all the talking, explanations, and introductions are always translated.  Seriously, when someone says Mrs. Smith...does it really have to be translated to Senora Smith. Please!  So, this year it's happening more and more.  There was a Hispanic Heritage assembly recently  and everything was translated into Spanish.  But, were there translations done for all the songs that were sung in Spanish...NO! Why should the majority of the people in the school, who speak English, understand what's being sung?  Why don't those of us who speak English receive the same courtesy? 

When my grandparents came here from Italy, they learned English, while still keeping their Italian language among family and friends.  When my father was born, he grew up for the first 5 years, speaking Italian. Then when school began, guess what?  He HAD to learn English.  No one catered to him or the millions of other immigrants who came here, and no one expected to be catered to.

From an educational standpoint, the school system is doing these kids a total injustice.  For anyone who ever took a foreign language in high school, you could get by and pass the classes by memorizing and doing strict translations, but if you are to fully understand a language you have to learn "to think in that language".    From firsthand experience, I wanted to be a German major and studied German for 5 years.  The problem was I only spoke German at school. No one in my family spoke the language.  I was unable to study abroad, and so was basically on my own.  The fact was, I did not get the practical experience of having to think and write and live "in German".  I ended up changing my major.  

The students today need to learn to think and write and live in "English".  When those standardized tests are given, they are given in English only. These are the same standardized tests whose scores are now going to be part of the evaluation system for teachers. 

Is the goal of public education to set us all up to fail?  I'll let you be the judge.


2 comments:

  1. Great post Lisa! Sorry, I've been absent lately, but my computer was in the shop all last week and so far this week I have been sick from the anesthesia used in my shoulder surgery. Keep up the good work, I love your posts.

    Paul R. Hewlett

    ReplyDelete