Saturday, August 22, 2009

California Appeals Court Stands for English Only

By Theosebes

english language

In 1914, President Theodore Roosevelt stated, "We have room for but one language in this country, and that is the English language, for we intend to see that the crucible turns our people out as Americans, of American nationality, and not as dwellers in a polyglot boarding house."

Last week, the First District Court of Appeals in San Francisco rejected arguments that English-only exams violate a federal requirement that limited-English-speaking students "shall be assessed in a valid and reliable manner." Nearly 1.6 million students in California have limited command of the language, according to a OneNewsNow article. The court of appeals, in a three-to-zero ruling, upheld a San Francisco judge’s decision that ruled against the bilingual-education group in his 2007 decision.

The lawyer for the school district, Marc Coleman stated that they are considering an appeal to the state Supreme Court. But Aloysius Hogan, a spokesman for English First, thinks that due to the solid three-to-zero ruling this would be a tough challenge.

Last week, I had the privilege of introducing a ten year old Ukrainian boy to a group of school children. This young man was adopted by a couple last December and knew absolutely no English when he arrived aside from “hello, yes, no, and mommy and papa.” The day of the assembly, he spoke in very good English to a group of children his age and fielded the questions that these children had for him about the orphanage he had lived in and about Ukraine. His native tongue is Russian and he had been learning to read Russian. Here in his new home, he had to learn a new alphabet and is now reading very well for only being here for eight months.

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Credit goes to his parents, I am sure, for their dedication in helping him learn the language so quickly. But this young man has had a much more difficult life than most children ever experience in the United States and is already putting the majority of bi-lingual children and adults to shame.

If an orphan child can come to a new land, learn a new alphabet, learn to read and speak in English, in eight months, then why can’t a high school or any elementary school child do the same? I would suggest that there is laziness and a lack of care. The examples these children have at home demonstrate arrogance for not adopting the language that defines America and its heritage. There is no reason other than laziness and pride that keeps individuals back from learning the language of the land. With effort, the lives of the adults and children who do not have a command of the language would improve by making it easier to live in a country with a single language, making it easier to be neighborly and do day to day tasks in the community.

I agree with the Court's decision and believe that pressure needs to be applied to the homes of non-English speakers, holding them responsible for getting their children ready for the world. It is not the government’s job, but rather the individual who chooses to live in the United States of America.


Josh Ray said...

This is so true. I spent 2 years living in Taiwan and I was fluent enough to test out of all but 2 classes to minor in Chinese when I came back to America. I was able to speak at very fluent levels and read/write at middle school levels because I wanted to learn the language. I meet people everyday that have lived in America for 10+ years that can barely speak English and it blows me away.

Carmen Grant said...

I completely agree with this. Both of my parents were immigrants from Mexico and Nicaragua and didn't speak English until I learned at school. I was never in Bi-lingual classes, and was just thrown with the sharks. I learned English when I was five, and speak and write fluently in English and Spanish. My cousins, who are ten to twenty years younger than me (there are 36 of us total), had the option to go to bilingual classes. Some had the option to go to just Spanish taught school in Los Angeles. They are at such a disadvantage it breaks my heart. Their English is sub par and their parents have no clue what is going on. My family used living in a large Hispanic community as a crutch to not learn English. They are stuck there forever, without the opportunity for advancement. I think its an embarrassment that a second generation Mexican-American can barely speak English.

Bi-lingual classes hurt the Hispanic community. People think its "nice" to help out the young students. They think a gradual introduction to English is the best way to get them speaking English. They are wrong. Throw them in with the sharks, let them fall behind a grade if they have to and learn English. It helps the community, and American society as a whole.

Anonymous said...

The "language of the land" you say? Isn't that... a Native American language, like Cherokee or Sioux?

We are so arrogant to think our everyone should only speak our language. If everyone had the same opinion, no one would ever learn any one else's language. This is how languages die. Like Gaelic in Ireland.
And what kind of English? Queen's English, Australia English, Kiwi English, Jamaican English, American English, American English with a Boston or New York or Jersey dialect?

It's ridiculous we can't even learn one simple other language, when others around the world may learn as many as five.

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JeremyR said...

If I remember correctly, when the lear nin your own language stuffstarted, the biggest opponents were legal immigrant parents who were demending that their kids be taught english only.
They wanttheir kids to have the same success story Carmen has.
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