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The Bilingual Education Act

October 06, 1985

Re your bilingual education article (Sept. 27):

As a result of the Bilingual Education Act students are hearing much less English spoken during school in Santa Ana.

To comply with state law, teachers on waiver must take Spanish classes one or two afternoons a week. Teachers, being good students, practice their lessons as often as possible, i.e., on their students.

They give all the routine directions (formerly spoken in English) in Spanish. The students hear "Formense!" instead of "line up!" "Tomen aqua" instead of "Get a drink" and "Manos a lado" instead of "hands at your sides."

Since these children rarely hear English outside of school, I think the extreme use of Spanish during school lengthens the transition period.

The bilingual act has many merits, however. Regardless of statistics, experienced elementary teachers have seen Spanish-speaking children entering kindergarten learn to read more readily in their native language while concurrently receiving ESL instructions.

DIANE ROSENTRETER

Corona del Mar

Rosentreter is an elementary physical education teacher in the Santa Ana Unified School District.

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