Thursday, July 10, 2008

Obama: Learn Spanish

Barack Obama was dissing the English-only crowd at a town hall meeting in Georgia the other day. He said Americans were arrogant and ought to learn additional languages like the rest of the world.

But let’s get down to brass tacks here. In our school district (U46) we are dumping millions into bilingual education for immigrant children. If all goes well, they will have preserved complete fluency in their native tongue (Spanish) and speak English with native ability.

But if you happen to be an immigrant from some other country (like Korea or the Czech Republic) we don’t have a program for you. It is sink or swim.

Perhaps more to Obama’s point, school districts don’t have the money to offer French in Middle School. The best we can do here is a 9-week survey course which is nearly worthless.

And lest Barack forgets, studies show that first generation immigrants have a pathetic record when it comes to learning English.

They do much better in the second generation BUT WE ARE PAYING FOR THE LESSONS.

If Obama is serious about this issue, he’ll get behind a plan to change bilingual programs into one or two year courses and shift the cost savings into foreign language classes for our own children. But you’ll never hear those words out of his mouth.

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