MILFORD—The School Committee voted unanimously last night to oppose any legislation that would limit transitional bilingual education to one year.
Milford currently offers three years of bilingual classes and a transitional year for students needing help with the English language. State Sen. Guy W. Glodis D-Worcester, has sponsored a bill to limit bilingual education to one year.
More than 30 people of Latino and Portuguese descent and three Milford foreign language teachers told the School Committee they want to keep the four-year bilingual program.
Maria Valencia said the bilingual students need help and they would feel rejected if there was a change. It would affect their lives,” she said.
Judith Katz, who teaches English as a Second Language at Stacy Middle School, said it is not possible to learn English in one year.
It takes five to seven years to attain English at an academic level. You’re taking away a foundation that they need to learn English, and their heritage,” she said.
A parent with a child in the bilingual program said he strongly disagrees with the legislation. Latinos have the highest dropout rate and this would add to it,” he said.
Denise Myra Farley, a language teacher at Stacy Middle School, said students come with low skills, and some are at the first and second grade level.
School Superintendent Robert J. Berardi said he strongly supports the bilingual program and that the School Department will work to make it better.
Committee member John V. Fernandes agreed with Mr. Berardi.
School committee member Carl A. Romagnoli praised the crowd for having the guts to fight to keep your cultural background.”
Mr. Berardi said he will write to Mr. Glodis, state Sen. Richard T. Moore D-Uxbridge, and state Rep. Marie J. Parente, D-Milford, and advise them of the committee’s opposition to any changes in bilingual education.