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LAUSD Bilingual Program

September 12, 1993

In response to "L.A. Schools' Bilingual Program Failing, State Says," Sept. 3:

I teach mathematics and science in the Los Angeles Unified School District. This is my third year of teaching. I bring 18 years of industry experience to the classroom and have a California professional clear teaching credential. I am bilingual and am able to teach my classes in Spanish. Yet, after having interviewed at secondary schools all over the district there was only one school that was willing to hire me as a bilingual math and science teacher. There were five or six schools that offered positions in their math departments. The trouble was, they just didn't have a need for bilingual teachers. At least this is what the principals said.

Even after being hired as a bilingual teacher I had to literally beg the administration for bilingual classes. This was in spite of the fact that 94% of our student body are immigrants from Latin America and close to 70% of our students are classified as limited English proficient. These numbers indicate to me that my school would be an ideal place for a bilingual education program.

In my opinion, the problem with the bilingual education program in LAUSD is the same problem that the district has overall: less than adequate management.

CURTIS A. BELL, Lawndale

*

I wish to express my appreciation for the article regarding the state's review of bilingual education in schools in Los Angeles. In it, Hale was noted as a "bright spot" in the state's review of LAUSD's efforts to provide appropriate education for its students whose primary language is other than English. To say that the staff at Hale struggles against overwhelming odds is an understatement; 35 languages and cultures are represented here, and approximately 900 of our students ride buses from more than 160 "feeder" schools.

And yet our students achieve. Hale's test scores are among the highest in the district, and compare favorably with state scores. Our scores do not go down as our minority population grows. This cannot be done without a hard-working, dedicated, knowledgeable, motivated faculty and staff. Thank you for your mention of our successful efforts.

MARGARET PREUSS, Assistant Principal, Counseling Services, George Ellery Hale Middle School

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