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Monday, November 14, 2005

Guard the Borders: ESL folly

"...while you bring all countries with you, you come with a purpose of leaving all other countries behind you - bringing what is best of their spirit, but not looking over your shoulders and seeking to perpetuate what you intended to leave in them."

Woodrow Wilson's words, given at a speech in Philadelphia before an audience of naturalized Americans (May 10, 1915) should be drummed into our national consciousness. That is the model of the American melting pot, true assimilation. To those who would legally immigrate: "Bring your best, leave the junk behind." To those who would steal across our borders: a swift boot in the rear and "Don't come back!" should be their only greeting.

Let me concentrate for a small space on how the principle voiced by Wilson above is being undercut in nearly every local community, whether it has legal/illegal immigrants or not via federal messing about in local school districts.

Imagine, if you will, a small town in the Ozarks with a relatively huge population of green card (and not-so-green card *cough*) workers from Mexico and Central America. Their children are all-legally here or not-welcome in the public schools and offered ESL classes and Spanish-language aides and tutors because, well, because the feebs say so.

Now, in spite of the fact that ESL classes and such crutches as usually implemented rarely work to aid children in becoming Americans (or maybe that's the point of ESL?), these positions MUST be filled and paid for, some with funds "laundered" through federal and state agencies (which all take their "cut" to pay for the "service") and others from local funds. And finding qualified people can mean an expensive bidding war in locales where Spanish isn't commonly spoken.

But how does this affect the majority of students? In many cases, the foreign-language students (and from personal experience in the particular Ozark school I'm thinking of, specifically Spanish-speaking students) are encouraged to maintain their private little language clique. Resources are taken up and classes are dumbed down. I'm not talking theory here, folks. It's what happens. Think about it. Your children getting less than they ought in part because their class must be taught at the level of the lowest level of understanding of the least-English-speaking child in the room.

OK, I'm heading into an edu-rant, here. "Social promotion" is the name of the game. And "mainstreaming" foreign language-speaking children in their age group instead of their skill/comprehension level, while at the same time spending vast amounts of resources in ESL and tutoring and placing "aides" (often merely "native speakers" with a high school diploma or G.E.D.* as translators), is stupid. "Social promotion"-of which this is but a variant-of all kinds is stupid.

And what of discipline? heh At least in the school I'm thinking of, someone *cough* had the perspicacity to make a list of all the vulgar, obscene and profane phrases in Spanish he knew and give it to the principal for the tachers and staff to have as a reference (a student sent to the office with "#5 Spanish list" on the note was in deep caca-heh). But how quickly, given some of the political indoctrination (some in the ESL "class" itself) were the students to pull the "discrimination" card when called on misbehavior?


(Of course, mainstreaming+social promotion is also being used with people with severe learning disabilities. Another way to drag down average and gifted students' education experience. Again-belongs in an edu-rant. :-)

Now, I know there are some ESL and mainstreaming programs that work. But they MUST be tightly focused on the principle outlined by Woodrow Wilson in his 1915 speech-with a small edit as an address to one people group:

"...while you bring [your country] with you, you come with a purpose of leaving [your country] behind you - bringing what is best of [its] spirit, but not looking over your shoulders and seeking to perpetuate what you intended to leave in [it]."

Build a wall, a fence, and make gates for folks to enter. Let those gates be these:

  • Enter with permission
  • Undergo a check for past criminal behavior and health
  • Learn English and American history
  • Become a citizen or leave after a designated time
  • Conform to American law and custom, retaining your customs as they will fit and forsaking the laws of the country you leave.

Lacking any of these, here's the door; it swings both ways. Don't let it hit ya where the Lord split ya.

Linked at Euphoric Reality, Don Surber, The Political Teen, Committees of Correspondence and The Uncooperative Blogger.

This has been a production of the Guard the Borders Blogburst. It was started by Euphoric Reality, and serves to keep immigration issues in the forefront of our minds as we're going about our daily lives and continuing to fight the war on terror. If you are concerned with the trend of illegal immigration facing our country, join our blogburst! Just send an email with your blog name and url to kit.jarrell at gmail dot com.

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