SF Parents Polled About Bilingual Classes

Thousands of San Francisco elementary school students brought home a survey yesterday that asks parents to decide whether their children should be in a bilingual program next year — and many teachers are angry.

The one-page questionnaire describes three options, each in three sentences or less. Parents are asked to return it by Friday.

”These are very weighty decisions, and I don’t think the letter gives parents any kind of sensible information,” said Joan-Marie Shelley, teachers’ union president.

”The letter is just a farce,” said a teacher who would not give her name. ”Parents think, ‘Gee, my child’s going to learn two languages.’ It’s silly.”

The survey is the school district’s latest attempt to remedy its practice of putting English-speaking students in bilingual programs without parents’ consent. The district vowed to stop last week after allegations surfaced that it was ”dumping” low-achieving black students into the special classes.

Ligaya Avenida, director of district bilingual services, said 11 meetings are scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday for parents to learn more about the three options. For details, call 241-6310.

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