ASSIGNMENT OF large numbers of black, English-speaking students to bilingual classes in San Francisco’s public schools, presumably to act as role models for the children of foreign-born parents, constitutes a serious flaw in the system — one that unfairly penalizes pupils with learning problems.
Critics of the process claim that under-achieving black students are disproportionately placed in bilingual classes to round out an ethnic mix and to separate them from the normal progression of mainstream classes.
Every child in the school district is entitled to enrollment in the class that provides him (or her) with the greatest educational opportunities. The whole point of education, after all, is to improve the lot of everyone in the community.
The current practice actually hinders the advancement of a student who has fallen behind the averages of his peers. It is the kind of thing that would surely prompt parents to try to move away from an area that supports such a retrograde procedure.
SUPERINTENDENT Ramon Cortines is well aware of the problem and is taking appropriate steps to alleviate it. When school begins in September, he will insist that parents of English-speaking students and limited and non-English speaking students clearly understand that they must give their consent before their children are placed in bilingual classes.