Friday, March 2, 2012

McElrath: Teachers should speak Spanish

Schools that serve large numbers of Spanish-speaking students should have Spanish-speaking teachers,   Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board member Richard McElrath said this week.

His comments came Tuesday night, after teachers talked about their efforts to craft ways to evaluate and encourage better work.  One group studied "hard to staff" schools, and Sue Varga, a Quail Hollow Middle School teacher on temporary assignment with the CMS talent effectiveness project,  said one thing that can make a school challenging is when many students haven't mastered English.

"We shouldn't have schools where most teachers don't speak the language of many of the students,"  said McElrath,  a former teacher.  He insisted that teachers are not effective if they can't speak their students' language.

Interim Superintendent Hugh Hattabaugh said CMS students come from homes where many languages are spoken, not just Spanish. He said teachers use a technique designed to communicate with all of them without having to speak their languages:  "The concept here is we're teaching children English."

McElrath said Thursday that he still believes students deserve to be taught by a teacher who speaks their language,  but he has not made a proposal for CMS to require or recruit such teachers.

View the discussion here, in the Feb. 28 video.

100 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a perfect scenario for home schooling by the population affected.

Anonymous said...

In America, we speak English. Learn it or leave.

Anonymous said...

¡Yo soy maestro, hablo español y puedo enseñar en español también pero estoy de acuerdo con Sr. Hattabaugh. Si vayamos con el plan de Sr. McElrath tendremos que evaluar en ese idioma también!

I´m a teacher, speak Spanish and can even teach in Spanish but I agree with Mr. Hattabaugh. If we go with Mr. McElwrath´s plan then we will need to assess in that language also. But what about my students who speak Russian, Korean, Arabic, Tigrinya, Hmong, Romanian, Farsi, Portuguese, …

We are not doing them a service to
use their native language for teaching. There are English as a Second Language (ESL) programs for very limited English proficient (LEP) students and programs to help teachers in the main classroom to connect with these same students.

Anonymous said...

Let us use pesos as currency as well.

Anonymous said...

I have lived lived in many countries of the world and went to school there also. we were taught in and learned in the language of the country!

Anonymous said...

No Anon 6:24 a.m., in America we speak English, French, Portuguese and Spanish plus many many indigenous languages.

If you mean in the USA our official language is English, then I'll agree with you on that.

Anonymous said...

And white flight proudly marches on on the insane stewardship of the likes of this liberal.

Anonymous said...

What about Ebonics?

Anonymous said...

McElrath shows that he should not be on the B o E. What kind of thinking is this? Absurd.

DistrictSix said...

When we travel around the World, we notice that almost all the people we deal with wanting to make money from us, speak English.

Perhaps, this might be a great idea for those students in CMS?

If learning the English Language has been so great for them, especially in China and Japan, then learning English here would be helpful for their futures.

Of course now would be the best time for all our Children to learn Chinese or another of the languages of countries who are financing us.

Anonymous said...

If you are in America speak English. If in Mexico or other Spanish speaking countries speak Spanish. The students need to learn English if they plan on becoming American citizens!

Anonymous said...

As someone who has taught English in China I find it somewhat humorous (though not surprising) that people in China are willing to pay extra to learn English while people in the US try their hardest to avoid it.

At the rate our schools are performing, maybe we should require Mandarin in the classrooms.

Larry said...

This is a load of crap. Make English the national language and force immigrants to learn our language if they want to live here, learn here or work here.

Christine Mast said...

When I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to travel to Germany and work for several months, I brushed up on my German language skills. And even though my colleagues were GRACIOUS enough to supply a translator during my time there, I continued to insist that my colleagues speak to me in German.

How arrogant would I have been to demand and expect that everyone in Germany spoke to me in English? (Never mind that they all knew English as well as they spoke German, because they were taught more than one language in school... but that's a story for another day).

Anonymous said...

Careful, Anon 7:29.

Or "someone" will try to remind you that "America" has been hijacked by everyone in the Western Hemisphere as "their" name, so you need to refer to our country as the "US", and not "America" to distinguish it from Chile.

Even though the United States of America is the only country with "America" in it's official name.

Mexico, for example, is the United States of Mexico, so we call it "Mexico".

The USA is called "America" for the same reason.

But don't try telling "them" that.

They all want to SAY they are "Americans" just to irritate the real "Americans".

Anonymous said...

How about we shouldn't have entire populations of kids who don't speak our language? Learning it won't hurt them. Coddling them with their own language will. Sorry, but they moved here - learn the language.

Wiley Coyote said...

Mr. McElrath...

Perhaps you shuld take a look at the test scores released last year that show Hispanics outperform Blacks and have a more narrow "achievement gap" to Whites than Blacks.

Anonymous said...

McElrath is an IDIOT. Vote his sorry @ss off the board. Last time I checked, we're in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. We speak English here. You should too.

Get rid of McElrath. I used to teach in a school where there were over 26 different languages spoken. Those kids learned to speak ENGLISH.

This is the stupidest idea I've read today in the Observer. The day is young. I'm sure I'll come across others.

Anonymous said...

Bienevendos Estados Unidos! Habla Ingles.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, let's take this a bit further...should the Project LIFT schools, in primarily minority areas, have primarily minority teachers? Is that a focus of Ms. Watts? I am very curious to see which teachers were asked to leave the project LIFT schools, and if theire is more to their leaving than just their "teaching ability."

FWIW, the USA does not have an official language.

Anonymous said...

Mr. McElrath did not speak Spanish to his Spanish-speaking students when he taught in middle school.

Anonymous said...

Mr. McELRATH is going after the LATINO vote. He just lost my support.

Karen Elizabeth said...

CMS has already found a great way to improve the success of spanish-speaking ESL students. Expand the bilingual immersion rpogram offered at Collinswood Language Academy to better serve students in other parts of the county. It is not a special program for spanish-speakers, it is a program that benefits BOTH english learners and spanish learners - and students are very successful. End of year test scores for the "high poverty" school are similar to middle class suburban schools.School is very diverse, with excellent results.

Anonymous said...

We should all learn to speak something other than our native tongue.

Facility in English is required in the US to be a full member of society.

Place the immigrant students in English immersion programs.

Insist on your kids being able to learn another language starting in kindergarten.

Preferably Spanish or Mandarin.

Anonymous said...

mcelrath you are an idiot

Anonymous said...

As they found in California when budget cuts restricted the spread of Spanish speaking teachers, students started doing better on the end of year tests when they were forced to learn English.

Anonymous said...

They need to get burrito's for lunch as well.

blackspeak said...

Let the firestorm begin...This is the United States of America. It should be an ENGLISH SPEAKING-ONLY country, when it comes to schools and conducting business with the general public...

BolynMcClung said...

I SEE RICHARD’S POINT BUT NOT HIS SOLUTION

My generous comment:
Mr. McElrath’s point is these children will probably end-up spending their whole lives here and it is the responsibility of the school system to prepare everyone to contribute to the work force.

My blunt comment:
The tradition in America is that the immigrant community has the responsibility of preparing its population for entry into the greater community. It should stay that way.

Charlotte has been a great entry point for immigrants. The local video of the arrival of the Greeks in Mecklenburg records that. In the 1960’s it was the Cubans. In the 1970s SouthEast Asian cultures and now the Central and South Americans. Heck, even those Yankees and IBM folks that arrived around 1980 were welcomed.

Pretty soon there will be another nationality. It doesn’t make any kind of sense to have our teaching core chase that.

Bolyn McClung
Pineville

Archiguy said...

I don't normally support conservative viewpoints because they're usually a product of flawed logic, religious dogma and an agenda designed to transfer wealth from the producing class to the investing class. But in this case, the conservative viewpoint is the right one. These kids will assimilate into society more easily if they master English at an early age. Keeping them in a Spanish speaking ghetto does them no good.

Kids learn languages easily because up until about age 8 or 9 their brains are optimized for it. That said, having a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish can help a teacher get some points across. Just don't conduct the entire class in Spanish. That won't help them long term.

Wiley Coyote said...

Archie,

Thank you for your typical biased comment based on the sheeple mentality.

It makes you look no different than the conservatives you constantly vilify. Liberalism can be just as fraught with flawed logic. Obama is a prime example.

This issue has no roots in conservatism or liberalism.

It's common sense.

Perhaps it would be good to have Ann Coulter teach you a few conservative words, you know, not to spend time completely educating you. Just enough so you can have a rudamentary knowledge of conservatives.

This coming from a proud Independent who wouldn't be caught dead subscribing to any party platform.

Anonymous said...

Somehow my Dad and Mom and all of several generations came here or were even born here and spoke no English at all until they got to school - where they promptly learned it. Most of these kids can speak some English and we're simply doing them a disservice by letting them off the hook.

Time to stop making excuses for everyone, look where it's got us!

Anonymous said...

This is America!!! Learn the language or leave!!!

Anonymous said...

Kick out all the illegals and we won't have to worry about it.

Anonymous said...

Nothing wrong with learning to speak Spanish in schools as long as its done for educational purposes as a foreign language requirement to English student citizens.

Same for French or Hebrew or any other foreign language. ESL is another matter.

Anonymous said...

First thing that needs to happen is policies need to be changed so that we verify citizenship...most of the children in our schools that cannot speak english are ILLEGAL and need to be deported along with their parents. THEY HAVE BROKEN OUR LAWS BY COMING HERE ILLEGALLY! They have no legal right to be here and need to go back to where they came from and apply for citizenship by going through the procedures that are currently in place, just they way that my wife and her family did. Far too many of our resources are spent on those that have no right to be here.

Then, for those that come here LEGALLY and do not speak english, learn our language.

Anonymous said...

Teachers should have some understanding of the *process* of learning another language so they can know what to expect of students who speak more than one language. They can also ask for support from the ESL teacher(s) at their school. It would be helpful if teachers knew enough Spanish to make Spanish-speaking students feel more comfortable in class. However, there are more than 100 different languages spoken by CMS students. It would not be fair to students who speak langauges other than Spanish for teachers to have to learn Spanish and have to use it often in the classroom. A more effective strategy would be to encourage Spanish-speaking families to help their children learn to read in Spanish, if that is the child's first language. Literacy in the first language can be an enormous benefit to becoming literate in another language.

Archiguy said...

Wiley - not to derail this comment thread but I assure you, 30 years of political observation and engagement have taught me plenty about conservative philosophy and tactics. The Republicans have veered so far to the right by this point they are in danger of falling off the edge of the earth so many of them seem to think is still flat.

And Ann Colter, of all people, is a pretty poor role model for any intellectually engaged, not to mention morally decent human being. The fact that you consider someone like her a conservative icon says much about you. Too much, frankly. I'd keep that one under wraps if I were you.

Anonymous said...

This is America. My grandparents come over, went to US schools and had to learn english. McElrath shows that he should not be on the B o E. What kind of absurd thinking is this? People of Charlotte, wake up and stop voting in these idiots.

Anonymous said...

Richard,
You were elected to lead and we all know that the best way to lead is by example. Therefore, the BoE should learn to speak Spanish and let the requirement filter down from the top. OR we could just have the students be required to learn English like the rest of us!

What a clown the English speaking voters have elected.

David E Stevens III said...

Good blog, thanks for writing this. I wrote an article last year that you may enjoy:

http://bolderlanguages.blogspot.com/2011/11/impact-immigration-has-on-education-in.html

Hiring Spanish speaking teachers would have a great impact on the students, even if they don't necessarily teach in Spanish. It will help them connect with the students in a more profound way by eliminating cultural barriers, and if there is ever a doubt with the English language they can hep explain it.

We absolutely must look for ways to improve our education system, and having teachers that understand their students should be a requirement.

Anonymous said...

A lot of English speaking Americans can't read or write in English. I think forcing everyone to learn French will solve the problem before reinstating cross town busing and implementing a Franco-Afro-centric curriculum.

Anonymous said...

Students in CMS speak over 75 languages. I think the system can handle one more lawsuit by a Russian speaking parent who's here legally. Im for "all the little children".

Anonymous said...

Great idea! 8:13. I think every school board meeting should be held in Spanish so every illegal Spanish speaking immigrant receiving a free education for their kids, free school breakfast and lunch, and free school supplies can feel more at home and connected. I'm assuming speaking Spanish will be a requirement of the next school superintendent.

Anonymous said...

Most of this Spanish speaking mantra is just smoke anyway. You would not believe how much most of these already understand. They just use this excuse to keep from being held acountable for abiding by our laws, etc. They know the history of America with blacks and understand how much the majority will be force to bow to a minority.

Anonymous said...

So is McElrath supporting a "separate but equal" educational system for brown kids? Will a Spanish speaking kid in Ballantyne receive free transportation to a Spanish speaking school in some other part of town? Will white English speaking kids get to have only white English speaking teachers so they can better relate to their culture? What about Jewish kids. Maybe they can have their own school with teachers who speak Hebrew? I think CMS should recruit Amish teachers. We need at least one Amish school to stay globally competitive.

Anonymous said...

Richard they are not going to vote for you , but good try. We already bus hundreds of Latino students to schools that speak their language and coddle them. And yes they do out perform the African American students in all areas except basketball. CMS already spends millions of dollars busing the latino kids around town you IDIOT !

Anonymous said...

OMG!!!! I just solved CMS's 98% "projected" graduation rate! Some days I just want to pinch myself.

OK. Like Amish kids only have to attend school through 8th grade while learning a trade. If CMS opens an Amish school, more kids will be projected to graduate AND have useful skills they can use in the workforce. CMS can just bump that graduation rate up to a 100% and Project LIFT can be declared a success before takeoff!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what is the connection between between MCelrath and these guys http://www.vifprogram.com/ who, by the way, are making a fortune bringing foreign teachers to the U.S.

And nobody has taken a look at the cost for CMS and other school systems.

Anonymous said...

They should learn english like the Italians, Polish, Czechs, Germans, French, etc. etc. etc. I will learn Spanish when I go there to live.

Anonymous said...

I did not look up who this teacher was and their reputation but I will draw this conclusion solely based on the report of the presentation. This teacher typifies what is wrong with the public education system. They tout the need to "cow-tow", to spoon feed, etc. to the student as if opening the top of their head and dishing in facts does in fact "educate" the student. That is not the case. The student must work and strive and search to be "eucated". Otherwise, they will just spew empty facts and notions not understanding if they realy apply to the situation.

I have lost my faith in TEP.

If the student's grasp of English is so bad as to not be able to fucntion in an English speaking class, then they need to spun out to an English immersion class for a year or more to get them up to speed.

Once again, not knowing, or understanding English is a ploy by many of these, especially the parents, to get society to "bow down" to them and not be held accountable for following our rules and laws.

Anonymous said...

Amish schools. Why isn't Bill Gates throwing millions of dollars at Amish schools to find out what's working There? The answers just might be in our own back pastures. Rural education just might be the cutting edge retro-wave of the future. We need to start a fund drive to get those schools some IPads.

Anonymous said...

We speak English here...that's why we have a communication problemm....We make it too easy for them not to learn english...

Anonymous said...

Why don't the illegals learn to speak English, is that to much to ask?

My favorite quote:

Every night I go to bed thinking this world can not get any more insane, and every morning proves me wrong.

CMS Parent said...

Consider it English language immersion. We could make it a magnet school.

Anonymous said...

Richard, watch out your racism is beginning to show. Next you know you will be advocating for only black teachers teaching black children.

Anonymous said...

I believe from the comments I am in the majority of those who agree this is AMERICA - the offical language is ENGLISH. Learn it, speak it, or return to your native country!
We cannot continue the expense of very thing having to be printed in a bunch of different languagaes...it is english - GET OVER IT.
To think we should have Spanish teachers for spanish students is the most INSANE suggestion I have ever heard!
We are a melting pot of cultures who come here for a better life. First thing to do is learn the LANGUAGE of this Country!

Anonymous said...

Please keep in mind that English is NOT the official language of the USA. We have no official language here. While I agree that any immigrant should learn English because it is the prevalent language, please understand that ignorance of our "American" culture and government detracts from your point.

Anonymous said...

I'm fom NY. I want my kids to have a teacher who knows how to speak Brooklyn.

Anonymous said...

An Amish magnet school?

Now that's funny.

Are the Amish even allowed to use magnets?

Maybe only permanent ones...

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't have schools where many of the students don't speak the language of most of the teachers. THAT is the real problem.

Anonymous said...

What's getting missed in all of this discussion is that Mr. McElrath hijacked a presentation given by teachers who care enough about their students to take extra, UNPAID time out of their days to try and create a system-wide method for continually improving teacher performance; he hijacked it so that he could take a stand on an issue with which no one agrees. The point of this presentation was to update the Board of Education on the progress of the Talent Effectiveness Project's teacher working teams, of which Hard-to-Staff Schools & Subjects is only one. Mr. McElrath - who has demonstrated a pure lack of understanding of any Board business, whether or not it is related to teachers speaking one language over another - fixed on one thing that Ms. Hines said, misinterpreted it and then used it as a platform for political pandering. If you actually want to know what happened, you can view the full video here: http://cms-k12-nc.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?clip_id=1019

Anonymous said...

McElrath said Thursday that he still believes students deserve to be taught by a teacher who speaks their language,

So why does McElrath not believe that parents who have children should have to raise them/support them. It's not my job to raise/support your kid that you chose to have. I have my own to raise. Why is it ALWAYS somebody else job to do for the kids in Mr McElrath's eyes?
This is America we speak English in this country.

Anonymous said...

Can I request my child be taught in Afrikaans? If you're going to cater to one segment of society, you're going to have to do it for everyone.

Anonymous said...

1:32,

That quote is priceless.

My wife continues to be amazed that I am not amazed at what you quote about.

I tell her when you have low expectations of the general public, you are never amazed at how low it will degrade.

Ann Doss Helms said...

4:34, thanks for the better link. CMS' Sliverlight video system is killing me; I have very little luck getting it to download and play at work or at home.

Anonymous said...

The thing is, the Amish can build their own magnet school bypassing the need to pass an expensive bond referendum.

Anonymous said...

I am pretty sure I tinkled a little because I laughed so hard at McElrath's idiocy... Get that man a big flower to wear at the next BOE meeting, folks!

Anonymous said...

It's time for us to regain our common culture that was established when our founding father's formed our country based on the vision that we would be one nation, under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. We have lost sight of this common principle and unique trait that we were (are) a melting pot of many cultures and nationalities that as individuals, in becoming citizens, we all succumbed to the common belief that we would become "Americans" with one common national language.

Anonymous said...

Amish Schools
It may surprise some people to learn that most Amish children attended public schools before 1950. Indeed, some Amish fathers served as directors of rural public schools. The Amish were comfortable with small rural schools that were controlled by local parents. After World War II, some public schools required attendance until age sixteen. About the same time, many small schools closed and consolidated into large districts. Some Amish parents protested these developments because they were losing control over the nurture of their children. Moreover, they considered formal study beyond the eighth grade unnecessary for farming.
In Pennsylvania and in other states some Amish parents sat in prison for refusing to send their children to large public schools in the 1950s. Finally, in 1972, the United States Supreme Court, in a case known as Wisconsin vs. Yoder, ruled that Amish children could end their formal schooling at the age of fourteen. The court concluded that “a way of life that is odd or even erratic but interferes with no rights or interests of others is not to be condemned because it is different.”

Today a few Amish children in some states still attend rural public schools, but the vast majority goes to one- or two-room schools operated by Amish parents. Indeed, about 35,000 Amish youth attend some 1,300 private schools that end with eighth grade. INSTRUCTION IS IN ENGLISH. For some "scholars," as Amish students are called, IT IS THEIR FIRST EXPOSURE TO ENGLISH. The teachers are typically Amish women who have not gone to high school but are graduates of Amish schools themselves. Nurtured through periodic Teachers' Meetings and by reading the Blackboard Bulletin, an Amish teacher's magazine, the teachers are largely self-trained. They are selected for their teaching ability and their embrace of Amish values.

Anonymous said...

(cont.)

The Lancaster settlement where Nickel Mines is located has nearly 200 Amish one-room schools with about thirty to thirty-five scholars attend each one. Scripture reading and recitation of the Lord’s Prayer opens each day, but religion is not formally taught in the school. The curriculum includes reading, arithmetic, spelling, grammar, penmanship, history, and some geography. Science and sex education are missing, as are the other typical trappings of public schools—sports, dances, cafeterias, clubs, bands, choruses, computers, television, teacher strikes, guidance counselors, principals, and college recruiters.

A local board of three to five fathers organizes the school, hires a teacher, approves the curriculum, oversees the budget, and supervises maintenance. Amish teachers, trained in Amish schools, are not required to be certified in Pennsylvania. They are the brightest and best of Amish scholars who return to the classroom to teach, often in their late teens and early twenties. Amish school directors select them for their ability to teach, their commitment to Amish values, and their availability. Amish teachers are frequently single women who terminate their teaching when they marry. Without the benefit of high school or college diplomas or any formal training, they manage nearly thirty pupils across eight grades. Periodic meetings with other teachers, a monthly teachers’ magazine, and ample common sense prepare them for the task.

With three or four pupils per grade, teachers often instruct two grades at a time. Classrooms exhibit a distinct sense of order amidst a beehive of activity. Hands raise to ask permission to use the outhouse, get a library book, or clarify instructions as the teacher moves from grade to grade every ten or fifteen minutes.

The ethos of the classroom accents cooperative activity, obedience, respect, diligence, kindness, and the natural world. Little attention is given to independent thinking and critical analysis, the esteemed values of public education. Despite the emphasis on order, playful pranks and giggles are commonplace. Schoolyard play in daily recesses often involves softball or other homespun games.
Students receive a remarkable amount of personal attention despite the teacher’s responsibility for eight grades. Teachers know parents personally as well as the special circumstances surrounding each child. Children, in some cases, have the same teacher for all eight grades. Indeed, all the children from a family may have the same teacher.
The quality of instruction varies considerably across the different Amish settlements. In some communities AMISH CHILDREN SCORE VERY WELL ON STANDARDIZED ACHIEVEMENT TESTS. However, the real test of Amish schools is not how they compare with high-tech suburban schools, but how well they prepare Amish youth for success in Amish culture. Using that standard, Amish schools appear to perform quite well. Amish schools promote practical skills to prepare their graduates for success in Amish society. In any event, the schools play an important role in passing on Amish values, developing friendships, limiting exposure to the outside world, and preserving Amish culture across the generations.

Moo!

Anonymous said...

In Pennsylvania and in other states some Amish parents sat in prison for refusing to send their children to large public schools.

- How moo cool.

Anonymous said...

2:09 PM - your idea doesnt bother me, they can have their own school too and pay for it with their own ta ... wait, who will pay for that?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, everyone, for the entertainment, most fun and laughs I have had in a long time reading these types of online articles.

Now here is reality, please listen Mr. McE. My kid asked his Spanish teacher - who does not speak English well at all after living in the US many years and teaching her native language in CMS a long time - for a college recommendation letter. He applied to my alma mater, which I have contact with at the alumni level, and word from admissions was that the letter was not well received by the committee due to its limited proper language usage and grammar. Thank goodness there was the chance to submit another recommendation by a fully English literate teacher. Fun is fun, until it is a detriment.

Anonymous said...

McElrath makes a worthless comment in order to distract the public. Meanwhile he and his Democratic cronies form a coalition to hire a new super who will put a stop to pay for performance. Long live tenure!

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:34. Thanks for bringing that up. I was starting to think that the unprofessional behavior of Mr. McElrath was normal for school board meeting since not one person commented on it. I'm new here, and I hoped this was not normal behavior.

Anonymous said...

10:18. are you in for a treat! We have had some good shows before with BOE's but this one is starting off like a 3 stooges marathon.

It will only get better as these board members posture for the next superintendent.

Anonymous said...

CMS is a PRISON

Anonymous said...

Dear Richard, we are enabling an entire generation of Spanish speakers by telling them we will accomodate them and they don't have to do anything! In order to be successful they will eventually have to learn English, hands down. I think it is good for teachers to learn Spanish but only in so far as it helps students adopt to our country and become citizens with good "ENGLISH" speaking skills. USE YOUR BRAIN RICH!!!!

Anonymous said...

You cant pay to find quality teachers as it is. How are you going to hire teachers that now require more skills and training.Oh,just throw more money at it.Kickbacks from the private sector?

After the failed trend to teach Ebonics, I have only one word for why he would make this foolish statement.

CRACK

Anonymous said...

Ask McElwrath why he left his last school abruptly. Amazing he is on the board.

Anonymous said...

Amazing Richard is on the board? Think about who was District 2's last elected board rep (now their county commission rep). None other than Vilma Leake. So you're surprised they've now elected Richard?
The unfortunate thing is that these 2 help set policy for the whole county.

Anonymous said...

In the U.S. we speak English. Attempt to learn it and I will help you. As a sales person I will help those that try to speak the language, those who Expect me to speak spanish for them will not get my help!

Anonymous said...

We don't have to be as snotty as the French, but seriously, if a person wants to successfully assimilate into American culture a good way to start is by learning the predominate language.

Anonymous said...

McElrath needs to spend an entire year teaching before he decides to speak on policy. I am so tired of "drive by educators" thinking they know what is best for our students. If we don't immerse these students AND their families in OUR NATIVE language we become enablers. Where does the language expectations end? In my classroom I have students that speak Spanish, French, and Russian. Do I as a teacher need to spend time learning those languages as well? What effect will time being taken away from planning have on our English speaking learners? Like most teachers I work more than 70 hours a week doing "my job." I don't have time to incorporate something else into my life unless I give up my family or sleep.

Anonymous said...

My son was accepted into several "highly selective" colleges based in his ACT scores, AP classes and high school GPA despite his worst subject being required foreign language. My son will be taking his 3rd year of required Spanish 1 at the college he currently attends where it's likely he'll receive a "C" - again. His English skills are what mattered and will continue to matter as far as his future career choices. My brother graduated from Yale with a degree in physics and had to take Spanish 1 twice in college after failing the subject despite taking 3 years of Spanish in high school. My question? How critical is it really for most Americans to be able to speak Spanish while the rest of the world is trying to learn English?

Anonymous said...

Having tutored ESL (ELL) students in CMS, I've concluded that many Spanish speaking students can't read and write in their own language. How does the state of NC plan to evaluate Spanish teachers on a pay-for-performance scale? Will a Spanish teacher's effectiveness be primarily based on Spanish speaking skills or Spanish reading and writing skills? Will a Spanish teacher at a predominately Spanish speaking school have an edge? Will an English teacher at a predominately Spanish speaking school be at a disadvantage?

Anonymous said...

Amish children learn English in school

Pennsylvania German is the language of the home. It is the first language an Amish child learns. Most Amish children have limited exposure to English before entering first grade. In Amish schools, instruction is in English, along with some classes in High German. Some Amish children become quite proficient at English at a young age. This phenomenon has become more common with the rise of Amish business and greater exposure to the non-Amish world.

Anonymous said...

Proud to be half Mennonite!

- Moo

Anonymous said...

I'm fluent in Pig Latin, self taught actually, but none of my teachers ever spoke to me in my language. They just used English.

Anonymous said...

I most every country around the world, if you were to move there and join their education system you would be immersed in the predominant language of that nation for instruction and need to seek outside tutoring for help in learning the language---period. So far in CMS, I have had to attend SIOP training (basically strategies to teach so peoples without English can learn, etc.) A previous poster is correct, many students can't read or write well in their native language further complicating learning English. State exams are in English and these students are required to take them in English--So, when the schools with large ELL and ESL populations go to take these State EOG and EOC tests--if these kids haven't learned English well enough--they bomb them--thus the scores of the school go down--I guess Mr. McElrath is OK with condemning certain schools to declining scores and if PFP or Value Add ever goes into play--he's OK with those teachers getting lowered pay as a result that their kids did poorly--but...at least the kids would get the warm fuzzies that their teachers could speak their language!! Finally, how uninformed are you, Mr. McElrath, about your own citizenry and school population to assume that speaking Spanish will help kids who come from other countries learn? I am sure the young man I have from Russia will learn much better when I engage him in Spanish! CMS is a diverse population from a diverse community---I wonder if McElrath even realizes that he is stereotyping and limiting populations the same way he talks about how African Americans were marginalized, etc. during his generation.

Anonymous said...

Unbelievable. If they want to speak Spanish, they should return to their home countries.

The real problem is that people with brains are out getting jobs that pay well, leaving only these morons to fill the school board seats.

Really, really just stunning.

Anonymous said...

I am proud to say that I am illiterate in at least 7 European, at least 200 African and more than half a dozen Asian languages....

Us polyunglots are a rare breed.

John said...

"The concept here is we're teaching children English."

No S--t, Sherlock!

Maybe we should also have teachers who can't add 2+2 to teach those who are struggling with math?

I adopted a child from Russia and she came here knowing not a single word of English but we enroller her in school and she quickly learned English. We have good programs to teach English... we need to focus on meeting the other, more pressing needs of our students.

Geez, and we wonder what is wrong with CMS???

Better get this moron (McElrath) off the school board ASAP!

Anonymous said...

Wow. So much hate and stereotyping from a simple column. It only makes sense that in high Spanish speaking population schools, you want to staff with teachers who are bilingual. They should TEACH in English, but be able to EXPLAIN in Spanish when counseling or tutoring students. Yes, we want students to learn English, but we don't want them to lose a year of academic progress while they do that. Is that so hard to understand? The same people yelling English, English, will be the people complaining about bad test scores and lack of academic skills if the students aren't learning. Language acquisition takes five years to get to the academic English level encompassing listening, reading, speaking and writing at both concrete and abstract levels. You can't afford to lose five years of education just to say you did it all in English.

Wiley Coyote said...

Anon 10:45..

Just out of curiosity, what is your take on the fact Hispanics outperform Blacks in CMS, many of whom speak very little English?

John said...

Anon 10:45 AM
"we don't want them to lose a year of academic progress while they do that..."

Actually, full immersion language training is the most effective and fastest way to teach a language.

"Language acquisition takes five years to get to the academic English level encompassing listening, reading, speaking and writing at both concrete and abstract levels."

Says who? I adopted a 6 year old from Russia with zero English and she was fluent in a fraction of that time.

Bilingual education provides nothing but a crutch that will DELAY fluency in English.

Time to wake up to the REAL WORLD folks! We can't afford everything we are trying to do in public education today. We have to set priorities and this isn't one of them!

You open this door, you can't stop at Spanish, we have lots of Korean, Viet Namese, Cambodians etc... in the local area. If you do it for one, you have to do it for all. We simply can't.

John said...

Archiguy,

You simply repeat the great lie that Liberals love to tell about Conservatives... that we don't care about others. We do, we just disagree on who the burden should be placed on and what the Government should be allowed to dictate.

As Americans we are promised three fundamental rights, the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Liberals, currently seek to deny the first right "Life" by supporting Abortion and Euthanasia, the massive load of Governmental control, regulations, taxes and mandates restricts Liberty and both are based upon the mis-assumption that government is responsible for "happiness"!

We are NOT promised happiness... we are only promised the freedom to pursue that happiness. The current housing/economic crisis largely rested upon the myth that things like home ownership were "rights" and even now, we see the Obama administration trying to perpetuate that myth with their mandated "reform" regulations.

Before federal regulation of banks, I got 5.25% interest, compounded daily on my savings account... now, the government has done such a wonderful job protecting me that putting money in a savings account is like burning it since interest rates are just a fraction of inflation!

That's government help we can do without!

Anonymous said...

John -

I am sorry but your anecdotal story is just that, an anecdote. Try adopting 12 and 14 year olds, which I have done. Immersion is wonderful for acquiring English language verbal and listening skills, although in the absence of quality ESL (not bilingual, I assume you know the difference)actual writing and reading comprehension skills will not be quickly acquired.

If you are dealing with older kids, the kind that fill high schools and consistently test well below other groups, you will realize that during this time of immersion, actual learning (knowledge acquisition) is lost. Why are you against kids learning the subject matter as they learn English?

If you bothered to read my post, you will see I did not advocate bilingual education. But if you don't know the difference between ESL and bilingual, you really aren't qualified to post on this matter, notwithstanding having adopted a very young child.

Anonymous said...

From dboz555
I disagree. What I think teachers should do is report kids they believe are illegal or parents are illegal to the authorities. If a teacher suspected a child was growing up in a meth house or being abused hey would report it; likewise if you suspect someone who is sucking up the resources of hard working tax paying Americans a teacher should report it. I just can’t figure out why teachers think they have the authority to up hold some laws and not others. Serve your country by participating in the war on illegal immigration. Having immigration in this country is crucial, but it has to be done in a way that we do not destroy the country in the process.