[lg policy] New L.A. School Language Groupings Spark Debate Over Best Method Of Learning English

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Nov 7 15:23:34 UTC 2013

New Los Angeles School Language Groupings Spark Debate Over Best Method Of
Learning English

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By Will Hagle <http://www.opposingviews.com/users/whagle>, Tue, November
05, 2013

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s new policy of separating English
learners of different fluency levels has sparked both outrage and support
amongst parents of children enrolled in the city’s public schools. The
policy was implemented because, according to NBC
Superintendant John Deasy “believes that too many English learners are
learning ‘Spanglish’ from their fellow students, rather than proper
English.” If students are placed in separate classes according to their
abilities, Deasy reasons, they will all learn English in its proper form.

Many agree with Deasy’s beliefs, claiming that grouping students of similar
skill levels in language classes allows them to better learn the proper
language together, rather than being influenced by the slang and
potentially grammatically incorrect language used by other students.

Several upset parents argue, however, that students can more rapidly learn
English when surrounded by other native or more advanced English speakers
at schools.  These critics view the new grouping format as a method of
discrimination against the students.

Cindy Aranda-Lechuga, a mother of a kindergartner in LAUSD schools,
gathered 162 signatures of school participants seeking to end the policy.
Speaking at a recent L.A. Board of Education meeting, Aranda-Lechuga said
“Kids with little or no English are going to be segregated and told they’re
not good enough for the mainstream. Kids learn from their peers, and
they’re not going to be able to do that anymore.”

Although this policy is only now sparking a city-wide debate, it was
actually officially implemented in 2000, the L.A. Times
policy, however, has not been widely practiced until this year, as the L.A.
Board Of Education struggled to find ways to respond to complaints from the
U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which cited the
district’s failure to properly teach its students English.

The policy is just beginning to be implemented in schools throughout the
LAUSD, despite it already being three months into the current school year.

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