Thursday, August 23, 2007

Am I in Quebec?

Maybe I’ve been dreaming about the summit going on in Quebec with Bush, Calderon, and Harper. (I always get nervous when those three countries get together. I worry that Bush will give away the store.) Maybe that summit has got me imagining things.

But it seems to me that there have been all sorts of stories about the native tongue in the USA. Here’s a recent sample:

Salt Lake City, July 14th: “Five women have sued the makers of the popular Fi-Bar and Tiger's Milk energy bars, claiming they were singled out for racist abuse and fired for not speaking English. “

DeKalb, Illinois August 15th: “A $1.5 million federal grant recently was handed over to Northern Illinois University in DeKalb to further enhance the education of non-native English-speaking pupils across the state.

"Children of these immigrants are learning English at a faster rate and losing their native tongues at a faster rate. There's no reason to force them into an English-only world," said Orem.

"The more foundation students get in literacy skills in their own language, the more successful they'll be in transitioning into mainstream programs," Orem continued, reflecting on research he's studied. “

Waukegan, Illinois, August 17th: “Valerie Goranson has twice lost her teaching assignment in Waukegan because she doesn't speak Spanish.”

Elgin Illinois, August 20th “Speak Out”: “I have a child who goes to School District U46 and they have an automated system telling of events where they call the home. So far, the school hasn't even started and I have received two phone calls, all in Spanish. Unfortunately, U46, you are not starting the year off well. I would like to know what is going on with my child's education, but in a language that I can understand.”

There was an example in the bible about confounding languages. As I recall, things didn’t work out so well.

Maybe these “English Only” initiatives really do address valid concerns. It seems like a common language is vital to our civilization. Of course, I don’t have any real-life examples to make my point.

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