Education policy in Kansas

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Thu May 29 16:11:16 UTC 2008

Education policy in Kansas

Yes... Kansas, famous for its ban on teaching evolution (in fairness
to the state, evolution has been reinstated), has a school doing
something questionable again. A parochial school has established an
English-only policy in the school. When I originally saw this, I
wasn't opposed. I know that most of the bilingual education programs
here in the US aren't very good -- the students end up never really
mastering either language. This education misses the point, anyway:
English is the language of economic opportunity. We need to guarantee
that our students have mastered it.*

Then I close read it, and I'm not sure it's legal. It's one thing to
enforce an English-only policy in the classroom, it's another to
expect it at recess or in the cafeteria. (and we're not going to get
into the whole "a teacher was concerned that students were talking
about her in Spanish other than to say that someone is insecure.) I
don't think that's enforceable. It may not be legal. (I don't know the
legal precedents they discuss in the article.) I'm going to watch this
to see how it turns out.

*Keep in mind that I am not saying that there shouldn't be bilingual
education programs or that local languages-- Cajun French, in
Louisiana, Spanish, Native American languages-- shouldn't be taught,
it's just that we need to rethink teaching practices.

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