Monday, August 15

MULTICULTURALISM AND ITS EFFECTS ON PUBLIC EDUCATION

Betsy Newmark of "Betsy's Page" -- one of the most balanced, objective writers in the blogosphere and an educator, I should add -- wrote a well-thought post over the weekend on the effects of multiculturalism in our public education system and pointed to the critical importance of cultural assimilation in the immigrant community in this country, something that used to be a fact of life for people coming to our land, but is now eschewed, particularly (in my view) by Latinos. The "melting pot" appears no longer an apt description of the United States of America. Betsy underscores the importance for immigrants of learning the English language, if it is not their native tongue, just as I did in this recent post of mine.

Betsy observes:

I have always thought that it is so sad that we seem to have given up on the idea that immigrants to our country should assimilate to America rather than remaining separate, embraced in their own cultures. In previous eras, immigrants to America might not learn English, but their children sure would. And in a generation or two, those children would have a good chance of achieving some of the dreams that their parents or grandparents had had when they made the long journey to this country. Now, I see generations where the children never seem to learn English that well because they're stuck in bilingual classrooms that teach them will in neither English or their own languages. They are starting to regard themselves as hyphenated Americans rather than as full citizens.
And as I suggested:

President Bush's much ballyhooed "No Child Left Behind" public education iniative (signed into law in 2001) appears to be faltering in his home state, where he was governor before becoming a two-term president. According to a "Houston Chronicle" (registration required) story by Jason Spencer, "900 Texas schools, including 52 in HISD, have failed to meet federal improvement standards."

I would suggest that rigorous English-proficiency standards be incorporated into the Texas public education system. Hispanic parents are doing their school-age children a disservice by continuing to speak Spanish in their homes. This is not assimilation into America's culture. Only 51% of Hispanics ever earn a high school diploma in Texas. The language barrier has to be an integral element in this failure rate.

For a more hard-hitting piece on the impact on public education of mass illegal immigration in this country, you cannot do better than to read the incomparable Frosty Wooldridge -- a writer who doesn't pull any punches and who needs to be heard.

Writes Mr. Wooldridge:

Denver suffers over 25,000 illegal alien children who cannot and will not speak English. They arrived with parents who traveled illegally from other countries and crossed into the USA without legal status.

Those children become problematic because 40 languages are spoken among those 25,000 illegal alien children in the Denver school system. No, it’s not their fault, but it is a menacing problem for this country. Their parents are functionally illiterate in English, thus, cannot help their own children. Additionally, no amount of ESL classes can solve the problem with over 50 languages because no teacher can conduct classes in English with any hope of success.


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