Looking at the yawning gap between white and Hispanic test scores, Clark County Superintendent Carlos Garcia has an idea: Give exams in Spanish.
We could have seen this coming. As a longtime proponent of bilingualism,
Garcia seeks solutions through multiculturalism. Like other corporate and civic deconstructionists, he never fails to ‘celebrate diversity.’
In actuality, the school chief is declaring defeat. In effect, he’s acknowledging bilingual education’s poor record in producing fluent English speakers. Officials say pupils in bilingual classes here may be able to do 40 percent of their work in English after a year. Maybe. Often it’s less and longer.
Fed-up California voters, including tens of thousands of Hispanics, threw out bilingual education in 1998. The early results of immersion instruction have been impressive, with English scores soaring.
But Garcia wants to keep kids on crutches. By advocating tests in Spanish he retards these youngsters’ development and their assimilation into society.
Interestingly, he has not proposed exams in every other foreign language found in the district. This suggests an agenda that dovetails with Latino political activists around the Southwest.
Monetarily speaking, bilingual education is a drain. Schools in Los Angeles,
whose Mexican population is second only to Mexico City’s, have spent nearly twice California’s per-pupil average, partly because of intensive Spanish-bilingual instruction. Clark County is following suit. More than 25,000 Spanish-speaking students here know little or no English _ and their ranks are growing by almost 20 percent a year.
Garcia admits that he doesn’t have the funds to do everything he’d like to do. Thank goodness for that! Yet politicians apparently desire to hear more Spanish. Pandering to Hispanic groups, Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Shelley Berkley and others want a general amnesty for millions of illegal aliens. While politicians are pushing such ‘reform,’ an estimated 7,000 Mexicans and Central Americans sneak into this country each month.
The word ‘illegal’ seems to have lost all meaning when it comes to immigration policy and national sovereignty. Democrats are particularly slippery. As they pontificate about ‘tolerance’ and ‘humanity,’ these limousine liberals enroll their children in private academies and oppose vouchers that would help others claw their way out of dysfunctional public schools. It is supremely ironic that African-Americans, among the most loyal Democratic voting blocs, have been viciously abused by this con job.
Fact is, Big Business and Big Government work with the Hispanic lobby to keep the illegals coming. For business, it means cheaper labor and more customers; for bureaucrats, it brings new and bigger social programs, along with a dependent class. Unions are complicit, too, padding their rolls with migrants.
The problem _ as discovered in California _ is that taxpayers eventually learn they’re stuck with the bill. From law enforcement to hospitals to schools, the price of ‘diversity’ rises with illegal immigration. The National Research Council calculates that Mexican migrants receive on average $ 3,400 more in benefits than they pay in taxes.
These are some of the reasons why so many second- and third-generation legal immigrants resent the rising tide of undocumented workers.
Still, folks such as Garcia seek to turn the world inside out. Planting the seeds of bilingualism, they seek to bury the concept of one unifying language. Ultimately, this splinters society and rips the social contract.
Previous generations of immigrants somehow managed to pursue the American dream without government programs that perpetuate native tongues. In truth,
they succeeded precisely because there were no such programs.
Spanish-language exams, by definition, will extend Spanish instruction and entrench the culture. And that may really be the objective here. As former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo stated back in 1997: ‘I have proudly proclaimed that the Mexican nation extends beyond the territory enclosed by its borders and that Mexican migrants are an important, a very important part of it.’
I have yet to hear a Nevada politician dispute that.
Ken Ward (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a free-lance writer who covers education.
His column appears Wednesday.