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Bilingual Programs Are Really for Latinos Only

January 12, 2003

Re "New Testing Adds Urgency to Bilingual Ed Battle," Jan. 4:

I left the profession after teaching English for 11 years in two Latino neighborhoods in Southern California, so I feel free to express my thoughts and observations without fear of retribution by the system.

Despite the passage of Proposition 227 in 1998, local school administrators with their own personal agendas continue to push unsuccessful Spanish-language teaching programs.

As an English teacher, I can tell you that these students make similar grammatical mistakes whether they are speaking English or Spanish and often have no desire to improve their skills in either language.

There are dozens of languages spoken in California, and the needs of those students have never been addressed. Students who do not speak English are thrust into English-speaking classes across California, and they learn the language.

Why is the education system seeking to address only the Spanish speakers? A true bilingual program would offer all students an opportunity to learn in their native language and English-speaking students would be afforded the same opportunity to learn another language.

Lois Caporale

Huntington Beach

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Your article discusses the same old pros and cons regarding bilingual education, but it doesn't mention the real issue. Why is it even called bilingual education? Why not be honest and call it "Bi-Latino" or "Bi-Spanish"?

I can't even imagine what my reaction would have been had my teachers offered me all the courses in Hungarian (my native language) while all the other nationalities had to learn English along with math and history. My likely conclusion would've been that this country must think Hungarians are inferior to all other nationalities.

George Martinovich

Costa Mesa

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