It is great to teach children foreign languages — any foreign languages. Youngsters tend to pick up languages rather easily. But it is quite a different thing to force American children to attend school that is taught in any foreign language.

The Wall Street Journal reports that such a thing has happened in California.

It noted that, George Louis, an African-American single father who has an artificial leg and is plagued with infections, has a son who was assigned to an Oakland kindergarten in which the teacher spoke Cantonese, a dialect common to South China but which even many other Chinese cannot understand. That may have seemed OK to most of the students, for they were of Asian background. But for Mr. Louie’s son, Travell, it was a serious problem since the school had no all-English kindergarten class.

“Travell should be able to learn in English at my neighborhood school,” his father argued. A state judge ruled, however, that giving Travell free bus tickets to a school a mile away was good enough. Mr. Louie insisted, however, that his kindergarten son was too young to ride the bus without him, and his physical disability made it impossible for him to go along.

But didn’t California voters decide in a statewide referendum that they wanted Proposition 227 to end required “bilingual” education, calling for “nearly all” instruction to be in English?

California has groups of people speaking scores of different languages. What opportunities will they have when they complete school if they haven’t been taught in English? What opportunity will a little African-American California boy have if he has to go to school with a teacher speaking Cantonese?

Common sense — for the good of all children and for the good of having a unified nation — simply calls for English to be taught to everyone.

Lee Anderson, Editor & Publisher, Chattanooga Free Press

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