Gloria Tuchman, a board member of Tustin Unified School District and a supporter of English-immersion classes to teach the language, has been named to the National Advisory Council for Bilingual Education by Education Secretary William Bennett.
Tuchman was notified of her appointment this week. She will be one of three Californians on the national board, which advises the Department of Education on ways to help non-English-speaking students learn the language.
Tuchman, who teaches in Santa Ana, said Thursday that she is pleased about being named to the national group "because I hope to seek reform of bilingual education." She noted that she has been a strong opponent of California's law that required native-language teaching of students whenever 10 or more students in a class are speak a language other than English. The law expired last June.
"I'm of Hispanic heritage myself, and I'm familiar with the problem that faces these Hispanic students," Tuchman said. "I'm not opposed to bilingual education. English immersion is one form of bilingual education. I think Hispanics have suffered in school because of the old form of bilingual education. Asian students have used English immersion and done very well. By contrast, Hispanic students have had classes where Spanish is the predominant language, and Hispanic students now have the highest dropout rate in the state."