Originally created 09/24/05

Don't kowtow to bilingualism

Reference the Sept. 13 editorial "Teach parents English":

I went to a small elementary school in Pennsylvania from 1927 to 1933. Eight grades in four rooms. Four teachers, one of whom was the principal. About a fourth of the pupils (25-30) were from The Hollow, a little coal-company village about a quarter-mile away. The majority of these were first-generation Americans whose parents came from Eastern Europe - Poles, Hungarians, Russians, etc. Their parents spoke little or no English.

At the time I never gave it a thought, but in spite of their background, these kids spoke English just as well as the rest of us! Why? Because they had to, to get along. We had no preschool or kindergarten in those days. How the teacher of grades one and two coped with this problem, I have no idea. However, I started there in the third grade, and graduated from eighth with all but one of the same kids with whom I had started. ... We had no SATs then. But, if you didn't pass the final exams, you didn't get promoted. It was that simple.

What was the difference in those days? I believe it was that those parents really wanted their kids to be Americans! They had come here to get away from the conditions in their native lands, and to take advantage of what America offered. They weren't trying to change America to their former way of life; they were 100-percent for America. (I don't recall ever seeing a roll of toilet paper in those days with labels in Russian or Hungarian!)

As you said, the Dallas school board has it backward. The people who need to learn another language are the immigrants - not the school principals! ...

Also, we don't need to teach these kids Spanish; they learn that at home. Hasta la vista!

William C. Scholly, Evans


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