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Education: Ethnic Immersion Program

March 10, 1994

Although Farragut Elementary School's Japanese immersion program is laudable for its goals and its unique enriching experience ("The Global Classroom," Feb. 27), there are some education issues which should be examined.

Firstly, with California's disgraceful school funding record, the disparity between resources allocated to non-immersion and immersion classrooms is obvious (e.g., lower student-teacher ratios and use of classroom aides). Secondly, and with perhaps more serious consequences for the future, immersion classrooms may encourage a trend toward segregating schoolchildren by ethnic group. (Families of Japanese descent naturally find the Japanese immersion program attractive.)

The Culver City Board of Education's recent decision to relocate both the Spanish and Japanese immersion programs to a separate facility will effectively isolate these kids. Why not Ukrainian, Hebrew and Korean immersion programs? Because, in the end, we will have negated one of public education's strongest assets--the sharing of common experience by our richly diverse community of children.

SANDY HACK Culver City

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