Maybe it's time to tighten up that comment policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at
Tue Sep 16 17:23:39 UTC 2008

Maybe it's time to tighten up that comment policy

DH education reporter Jennifer Moody has a story on the website
dealing with dual-language education programs and the possible effects
of Measure 58, which would limit the amount of non-English instruction
for K-12 students to two years:
Jones will teach her second-graders in Spanish for half the school
day. In the afternoon, they'll move next door, speaking and hearing
only English, while Jones works in Spanish with the group who spent
the morning on the English side.

Dual-language immersion programs have been a popular option at
Corvallis schools for about nine years. But their future is uncertain
under an initiative on the November ballot, Measure 58, which would
limit the time children can spend in classes taught in languages other
than English. I would encourage you to read the story; it's got some
good information. The comments, however, are not as encouraging. There
were three when I checked (just scroll down to the bottom of the

steveo wrote on Sep 14, 2008 7:38 AM:

" Its a sad day when schools start getting sued for not providing dual
language classes, We have a common language to interact with each
other and where will this stop 7 or 8 languages more with all this
given to diffrent languages what will our children learn so they can
make it in the world. It seeems we are becoming a nation to cater and
I worry the basics will be lost and in the end more kids lossing the
fundementals which they will need but I guess if we can all talk we
can be more like our goverment talk,talk but get little done. "

I am tempted to make a comment about fundamentals and steveo's grasp
of the written word. Moving on:

btrflygirl67 wrote on Sep 14, 2008 6:20 PM:

" I agree with Sizemore !!! We should be focusing on English. If
Parents want their children to learn Spanish- Hire a tutor or HEY BUY
A BOOK AND TEACH IT AT HOME!! I worry that we will be voting soon
whether or not we have to choose if English or Spanish is our "first"
language- C'mon People wake up!!!! "

And, of course, the it's-so-cliche-you-mean-it's-not-parody comment:

gmham wrote on Sep 15, 2008 8:39 AM:

" this isn't mexico or any other country!!!!!!!! this is
america!!!!!!!!!!! if you don't like our language, which is english,
then get the heck out and go home!!!!!!!!! talk about discrimation,
why aren't there classes taught in chinese or russian??? i am sick of
my kid coming home complaining he didn't understand things in class
because it was taught in spanish..........i think it is about time to
sue the school district myself for discriminating against my child for
being american and speaking is a bunch of bull....."

I want to be clear about two things:

1) Dual-language programs have basically zero downsides. People who go
through them are more employable, more able to move about in different
cultures (and different countries), speak two languages, build
community with more diverse groups and at younger ages, etc. Yes, it's
a struggle to learn another language, but it's also much easier to do
at an early age. Have I failed at learning another langauge as a teen
and adult? Yes. Do I wish I'd had Spanish/English dual language when I
was in elementary school? Heck yes.

2) The comments made about the story are racist and ignorant of
history. I wish I could say I was surprised that the DH approved them,
but I'm not (sometimes the "let them hang themselves" thing is
outweighed by the harm that's done by posting the comments).
Furthermore, the comments have little, if anything, to do with the
actual story, but are instead reactions to a fear of a generalized
Other. One might also call it xenophobia.

Sigh. Between this and the imminent and massive financial meltdown
(and it's only Monday), I suppose it's time I retreat to my hideout in
the Cascades and start the guerrilla radio broadcasts calling for the
overthrow of the remnants of capitalism. I don't know how else I'm
going to survive the week.

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