The source isn't exaclty unbiased, but if the story is true it is absolutely absurd...
Bilingual Education Horror Story in Wisconsin Vietnamese Student Forced into Spanish Language Classes WASHINGTON, D.C. – Bilingual education has been dismantled by the voters in three states and studies show it is less effective at teaching English than the English immersion method. But in states where it has not come up for a vote, bilingual education is still alive and well.
This produces all sorts of nightmares, but a horror story from Madison, Wisconsin illustrates how destructive bilingual education can be to immigrant students. Kiet Tran, 15, came to the United States in April 2002 when his Vietnamese mother married John Gardner, an American man from Madison, Wisconsin. Kiet does not know English and Madison school officials placed him in a bilingual education class – for Spanish speakers.
Of course, Kiet does not understand Spanish, but for three hours each day he was forced into classes where the instruction was almost entirely in Spanish. Mr. Gardner pleaded with the Madison school system to take his son out of the bilingual classes but to no avail. Kiet’s education was harmed as he was not learning English or any of his other subjects taught in Spanish. Mr. Gardner said his son began to suffer emotional problems due to his frustration at school. Unable to get any cooperation from the Madison public school establishment, the family had to move out of the district.
The good news is that Kiet recently completed a four week “English for College” program at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. The program uses an English immersion method to help immigrant students learn the language and prepare them for college-level courses. Kiet won the award for “most improved English” and now looks forward to starting school in September.
Still, Mr. Gardner worries about other immigrant students. “My son has an English speaking father who understands our system of government and is not afraid to speak out,” he said. “Many immigrant students do not have such an advantage and are often at the mercy of the education establishment.” With that in mind, Mr. Gardner is filing a lawsuit against the Madison school system on the grounds that his son’s civil rights were violated and for non-compliance with the Educational Opportunity Act of 1974.
Mr. Gardner has promised his state and federal representatives that he is going to make their stands on bilingual education an issue in the next election. He is also working hard to educate parents on the realities of bilingual education. “Most people assume that all students are given an equal chance to learn English. I was amazed to find out that this is not true. In Kiet’s class, students wrote their answers in Spanish, used Spanish textbooks and conversed with the teachers and tutors in Spanish. Non-Spanish speakers were shut out of the learning process.”
U.S.ENGLISH is the nation's oldest and largest citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States (website: www.us-english.org). Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S.ENGLISH now has more than 1.7 million members nationwide.
(edited by Grimis on 6.8.03 1345) Father: “You see, son, we live in a liberal democratic society. The Democrats created sexual harassment law, which tells us what we can and cannot say in the workplace, and what we can and cannot do in the workplace.”
Kyle: “But isn’t that fascism?
Father: “No, because we don’t call it fascism.” - South Park
My old town! I'm going to have to look up how true that story is. There's a pretty big Hmong population in Madison, and I know they have bi-lingual programs for them. I'd be more inclined to believe the story if this kid had been put there.
My views on English only - if you can make it here without speaking English, hey, this is America and God Bless (and this is possible at least here in New York). If it ends up people who want to do business with don't speak English, either learn their language or don't do business with them. Again, this is America. if you want to make it, you do what you have to do, you don't sit back and bitch someone else isn't doing what you think they should do.
As far as public schools go, I'm 100% for immediate English immersion. Although I have to point out two things.
1) while immigrants won't always learn English, children of immigrants do almost uniformily. The non-English speaking problem among immigrants dissapears in one generation, and isn't really such a cause for alarm.
2) the problem is no different than it was during the last wave of immigration. If anything it used to be worse. It's not like immigrants or children of immigrants used to learn English in 2 weeks, and now they never do (like some groups like to imply). I got a lady on the phone at work last week who (I shit you not) had been in this country for almost 50 years and only spoke Yiddish and Russian. And there's a LOT of those folks here in New York.
"I'm sorry, I didn't think I was going to talk about 'man on dog' with a United States Senator. It's sort of freaking me out."
Associated Press interview with Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), 04-07-2003.