For months, parents on a Los Angeles Unified School District advisory council have disagreed over whether their meetings should be conducted in Spanish or English. Such arguments became so abusive that district officials canceled meetings for two months and brought in dispute-resolution specialists and mental-health counselors.
They offer advice on — and oversight of — the expenditure of $385 million on federally funded programs for students from poor families.
What is wrong with this picture?
First of all, the public meetings of an organization bankrolled at taxpayers’ expense, are being held in the United States. While the USA has no official language, the language of goverment, the language in which all the laws are written and all the documents on which our nation was founded, is English.
As the article states, the Council is managing federal funds. While there are a lot of people in the USA and undoubtedly many people in the LA School District who speak Spanish, we live in an English-speaking country.
The Los Angeles Unified School District evidently has a large number of Spanish-speaking immigrants:
Some meetings consist entirely of Spanish-speakers in a district where more than 266,000 students (and probably many more parents) are English-learners out of a student population of about 694,000.
First of all, they are English-learners; in practical terms, every immigrant family I have come across has the situation where the children have learned English even if the parents do not. And, second, even with their large numbers, they are still a minority. I expect that there are areas in Los Angeles and other cities in California where Vietnamese, or Mandarin, or Russian, is the prevailing language. California is a state of immigrants.
But the real issue is not immigration; the real issue is integration.
By demanding that the meetings be held in Spanish, a large number of attendees have demonstrated that they have no intention of integrating into mainstream America.
According to the article,
The goings-on raise another round of questions about parent participation in the nation’s second-largest school system, which has been repeatedly criticized by auditors for inconsistent and ineffective parent involvement and outreach. Critics say the district rarely seeks true parental input and instead uses parents to rubber-stamp budgets and programs. District officials insist they are determined to change this perception and are making progress.
The English-speaking parents who are involved have every reason to expect that the meetings be held in English. It behooves the Spanish-speaking parents to learn the language. That is the best way they can participate in the political process.
I know so from experience.
As I have asserted time and time again, acculturation is not simply being bilingual; however, by denying themselves the opportunity to learn English, the Spanish-speaking parents are denying themselves all the opportunities this country has to offer them.
In the long term, they are also denying their children those opportunities.
Earlier this year I posted about the deleterious effect that bilingual education has on children’s learning. Take a look at the world’s best-paid professions; look at how India’s becoming an economic powerhouse because its people speak fluent English.
The LA Times article says that a woman
considers it racist when parents are told that, in America, they have to speak English.
This is hardly surprising; after all, the best-known Hispanic activist group, La Raza, features race in its name. Additionally, pulling a race card has been used repeatedly by those who would rather not be inconvenienced into learning a language, and there’s also an industry of victimhood willing to support them.
As Tony Blankley has said when talking about bilingual ed,
It is hateful of ideological “civil rights” activists to try to intimidate any politician who would dare to liberate kids from the linguistic ghetto that serves the political power of these “civil rights” activists. Once these kids have mastered English and fully entered American life, they will no longer be vote fodder for the “civil rights” activists’ political ambitions.
The special interest ethnic activists prefer to have a new generation of clients, rather than a new generation of fully integrated American citizens. And what they fear is an honest and open debate on the bilingual teaching method.
Allow me to point out, again, that “Hispanic” is not a race. In the two-dozen Spanish-speaking countries in the world you can find people of every race and ethnic background.
As we watch the problems Europe has with millions of immigrants who the Europeans never integrated into their societies, it is time we insist on every immigrant’s duty to learn the language and the customs of our country.