Penny Kotterman, who has written a letter in support of bilingual education (Observer, 9/20/00), has demonstrated most clearly the type of argument the bi-ed bureaucrats will make to keep their programs at any cost. She claims that over 30,000 public school employees back her support for these programs, but that is an obviously exaggerated claim that says more about teacher unions and the expectation they will command of any member's political views.
We have spoken with many dozens of teachers and administrators from around the state, many of them union members, and many of them from bilingual ed schools, who have decried the worthlessness of bilingual education at making children academically proficient.
Many of them, again from around the state, have asserted that bilingual education does not teach English and is mired in native language instruction. Kotterman is either ignorant or disingenuous when she writes, "Denying students (a methodology that teaches them in their native language) relegates them to a second tier of achievement as they fall behind." What is keeping her and all her supporters from seeing that that is precisely the case now with the current methods of bilingual ed? If the Arizona public sees it, why can't they? Nothing has compromised Mexican-American children more seriously than bilingual education which has ghettoized these children's academics and their hopes. Not only has it become native language instruction, it has become a political weapon wielded by militant nationalistic groups and liberals who have convinced the public that they have cornered the market on sensitivity.
It's also ironic that Kotterman should say that parents, not the state, should be responsible for making academic decisions for children; after all, in the case of bilingual education, parents have certainly been as far from making any choice as possible while the bi-ed bureaucracy has been solely responsible for deciding who will be placed in bi-ed and who will be allowed to drop if parents should so decide. The Arizona public is well aware, we have found, about the hypocrisy of claiming that parents, until now, have had ANY kind of choice. Proposition 203, on the other hand will finally give parents the only real choice they have been summarily denied for thirty-two years—the choice to have their children educated in English.
As for the accusation that teachers run any risk in instructing the child in Spanish, I urge the public to read the initiative and see the truth for themselves so they can see the type of argument these people make to scare everyone. Under 203, any teacher will be able to use a student's native language to convey a concept the student might be having difficulty with.
This will not violate the law that states that the language of instruction should be English. As for teachers landing in jail for using Spanish at any time, it's obvious that this woman hasn't even come near our proposition, which states that the only ones who might be held legally liable for violating the law are board members, elected officials or administrators who willfully and repeatedly violate the law.
Bilingugal education has seriously lost its focus and now, every person who considers himself in charge, will do with it what he wants, except teach English. We must abolish it if we expect every child in Arizona to succeed. It is no secret that language minority children are the ones with the lowest graduation rates and the highest dropout rates. And this after thirty-two years of bilingual education. What success could these people possibly be talking about?
Kotterman's letter excellently illustrates the degree to which bilingual ed bureaucrats will lie and deceive to scare the public. They are making it quite plain that the children in their world have taken a distant back seat and they are now only concerned with retaining a program. If the undecided public objects to these people, and their ill-meaning tactics, we urge them to join 74% of the Arizona public and vote in favor of Proposition 203.
English for the Children
Thank you S.J. Wilson for a great editorial on the just too much of the Just Too Much campaign. The lack of respect shown by its use of signs mirrors the way in which Tusayan has disdained so many for so long.
Tusayan business has too long overlooked the well-being of the Native people on whose ancestral lands they continue to gouge local and long-distance visitors to the Canyon. At least with CFV, Native people have some say and visitors will get their money’s worth. Is that too much to have asked for over the years? Apparently, for the just too much folks of Tusayan the answer is yes.