Parents, Students Protest Bilingual Education Program

LOS ANGELES—A group of parents kept about 100 children out of a downtown Los Angeles elementary school today, to protest its bilingual
education programs.

Alice Callaghan, who helped organize the boycott, said parents are upset because they believe the bilingual education programs at the Ninth Street
Elementary School are not meeting the needs of some children.

At no place in the day are they learning to read and write in English,” Callaghan said. If they don’t learn to read and write in
English, they will never learn enough to take college entrance exams.”

Callaghan runs the non-profit Las Familias del Pueblo community center, where many of the children are in after-school programs.

She said Ninth Street school officials have refused to discuss any changes or explain what options parents have for their childrens’

Pleas for Los Angeles Unified School District board members to intervene have gone unanswered, she said. Unless school and district officials agree
to meet with parents tomorrow, she said, the boycott will continue.

Board President Mark Slavkin was unavailable for immediate comment.

Ninth Street Principal Vargas Page said she has been rebuffed in her attempts to speak to parents about their choices in bilingual education.

Page said the district already gives parents a say in their kids’ education.

She said moms and dads may choose between bilingual education classes for their children, with instruction in the student’s primary language, or
English language development classes that offer oral instruction.

Page said there are misconceptions” about the bilingual program and the process of changing programs.

Our goal is to give every parent the opportunity to understand clearly what both programs offer,” she said.

Page would not commit to attending the parents’ meeting tomorrow, but said the school’s monthly meeting with parents is set for Thursday.

I feel that giving them accurate information about requesting a program change … is meeting their needs,” she said.

About 65 percent of the children in bilingual education programs at the school successfully made the transition into English reading programs last
year, she said.

Comments are closed.