Monday, August 3, 2009 | Emily Alpert wrote an excellent article on July 26th — Proposed Schools Says Two Languages Better than One. She quoted me in her article. I am a bilingual substitute teacher with a BCLAD teaching credential and two masters degrees (one from SDSU and the other from Harvard School of Education). Unfortunately, due to the budget cuts teachers with pink slips or those who are bumped have priority over new teachers. There are many teachers who have BCLAD credentials but have not been teaching in bilingual classes because the bilingual programs have been greatly diminished.
In the early 2000’s Hamilton, Chavez and Rosa Parks Elementary had stronger bilingual programs. But now the amount of bilingual classes has greatly been reduced. Parents are not aware that they need to fill out a waiver every year that they want their child in the bilingual or dual program. One parent did not know that her daughters were not in a bilingual class. She thought that because they were with a teacher that used to be bilingual that they were getting bilingual instruction. They were only getting some support in Spanish but it was not a bilingual class. Bilingual books are stuck in closets getting dust, instead of being used by students or parents.
Parents need to know that being bilingual or multilingual is better than only knowing one language. If a person in placed in a French classroom and they don’t understand anything, then they will be in the silent stage trying to comprehend what is being taught. But if they are placed in a classroom that builds on their native language it will be easier to understand and to learn English.
On Tuesday August 4th, 2009 the San Diego Unified School Board will hear the proposed school board policy to support a bilingual or multilingual policy. I am the Secretary of the District English Learner Advisory Council and I was also participated in the drafting of the new policy. I strongly encourage the school board to be proactive and to vote in favor of the new policy. We need to make sure that are students are able to compete in the increasingly global society. They will be better prepared for jobs if they are fluently bilingual or multilingual.
On Tuesday, August 4th a bus will pick-up parents from City Heights at Rosa Parks Elementary to take them to the important school board meeting.
I will also join them in supporting the new bilingual/multilingual policy. “Una persona bilingue vale por dos”, A bilingual person has the value of two persons. The more languages you know and speak the better you can communicate with more people. Local community colleges need to teach Cambodian, Lao, Japanese, and Somalian. Lets encourage language learning not discourage it.