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Passions in Poetry

Still think the Republican led AZ legislature isn't racist?

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Local Rebel
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0 posted 05-01-2010 10:06 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

PHOENIXóAs the academic year winds down, Creighton School Principal Rosemary Agneessens faces a wrenching decision: what to do with veteran teachers whom the state education department says don't speak English well enough.

The Arizona Department of Education recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English.

State education officials say the move is intended to ensure that students with limited English have teachers who speak the language flawlessly. But some school principals and administrators say the department is imposing arbitrary fluency standards that could undermine students by thinning the ranks of experienced educators.

The teacher controversy comes amid an increasingly tense debate over immigration. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer this month signed the nation's toughest law to crack down on illegal immigrants. Critics charge that the broader political climate has emboldened state education officials to target immigrant teachers at a time when a budget crisis has forced layoffs.

"This is just one more indication of the incredible anti-immigrant sentiment in the state," said Bruce Merrill, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University who conducts public-opinion research.

....

After evaluation and despite completing an accent-reduction course, some teachers at Creighton were ruled still unsuited to teaching English-language learners.

That poses a dilemma for Ms. Agneessens, the principal. In kindergarten, three of four classes are for English-language learners. Two of those three classes are taught by immigrants whose English didn't pass muster.

Ms. Agneessens said she was trying to find a way to retain those two teachers by shifting them into classrooms not designated for English-language learners, even if that meant teaching a different grade. Both teachers declined to comment for this article.

Recently, she informed one experienced kindergarten teacher that she would have to be reassigned to a mainstream class in a higher grade in the fall, if she wished to remain at the school.

"We both cried," she said.
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703572504575213883276427528.html




Denise
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1 posted 05-01-2010 08:00 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Why is it racist to want only teachers who are fluent in English to teach classes designated for English Language Learners? The goal of the designated classes is to learn the proper use of English, isn't it?
Local Rebel
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2 posted 05-01-2010 08:33 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

In the late eighteenth century, reformers starting with Washington and Knox,[57]  supported educating native children, in efforts to "civilize" or otherwise assimilate Native Americans to the larger society (as opposed to relegating them to reservations). The Civilization Fund Act  of 1819 promoted this civilization policy by providing funding to societies (mostly religious) who worked on Native American improvement.

After the American Civil War and Indian wars in the late 19th century, Native American boarding schools were established, which were often run primarily by or affiliated with Christian missionaries.[58] At this time American society thought that Native American children needed to be acculturated to the general society. The boarding school experience often proved traumatic to Native American children, who were forbidden to speak their native languages, taught Christianity and denied the right to practice their native religions, and in numerous other ways forced to abandon their Native American identities[59] and adopt European-American culture.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Native_Americans_in_the_United_States



The current attempt Denise -- is one of acculturation -- not teaching English.

quote:

PHOENIX - State senators approved legislation aimed at the curbing the ethnic-studies program in Tucson Unified School District.

HB 2281 would make it illegal for a school district to have any courses or classes that promote the overthrow of the U.S. government, are designed primarily for students of a particular ethnic group or advocate ethnic solidarity "instead of the treatment of pupils as individuals."

It also would ban classes that "promote resentment toward a race or class of people."

Sen. Linda Lopez, D-Tucson, said the legislation is little more than a thinly disguised effort to quash a program TUSD officials have said was proven academically successful.

According to TUSD officials, the program in the district's Mexican-American studies department simply provides historical information, which conflicts with state School Superintendent Tom Horne's assessment the program is promoting racial hatred and "ethnic chauvinism."

District officials insisted earlier this year nothing in the program would violate the legislation, if it were to become law.

But Lopez said teachers in the program have told her the measure would affect how they can teach history. Beyond that, she said this level of legislative intervention into how subjects can be taught is academically a bad idea.

To make her point, she proposed schools be prohibited from teaching about the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor because that would promote hatred of people of Japanese ancestry. The proposal was rejected.

She had no better luck with a measure precluding teaching about the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Lopez said the 700 incidents targeting Arab-Americans in the nine weeks after the incident prove that teaching about the event promotes resentment toward a class of people.

Lopez said she doesn't really think students shouldn't be taught about those events. She was just trying to make a point.
http://azstarnet.com/news/local/education/precollegiate/article_c1f53 405-acab-5f21-a580-a199a68ff76c.html



And if you read the source article you would have noticed this:

quote:

Nearly half the teachers at Creighton, a K-8 school in a Hispanic neighborhood of Phoenix, are native Spanish speakers. State auditors have reported to the district that some teachers pronounce words such as violet as "biolet," think as "tink" and swallow the ending sounds of words, as they sometimes do in Spanish.

These teachers "are very good educators who understand the culture" of their students," said Ms. Agneessens, Creighton's principal. "Teachers should speak grammatically correct English," she acknowledged, but added, "I object to the nuance of punishment for accent." http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703572504575213883276427528.html



Ya'll unnerstan' naow?
Denise
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3 posted 05-01-2010 09:12 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

It's the old Melting Pot vs. Salad Bowl argument.
Local Rebel
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4 posted 05-01-2010 10:36 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

No it's the death rattle of racism in America as it continues motion towards becoming a minority-majority nation.

Got bleach?
Balladeer
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5 posted 05-01-2010 11:12 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Ah, the old death rattle of racism...so many death rattles going on at one time.

We're "becoming" a minority-majority nation? Which means you don't think we have been up to now?

Personally I'm glad I didn't learn Spanish from a gringo, otherwise I could be speaking it as an American instead of a latin.  If replacing teachers of English who can't speak English grammatically correct of with a thick accent is your idea of racism, then I can't imagine what wouldn't be. I sense a little desperation here...
Local Rebel
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6 posted 05-02-2010 09:10 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Alas Balladeer, thou hast opened mine eyes.  Twas a most grievous error indeed that we shouldst subject English-learning children unto the tutelage of those that speaketh not the proper King's English.

Twould be fortuitous that we enlist the aid of friend Grinch unto the task of selecting the proper geographical region of the United Kingdom that we may teach the proper elocution.

I wonder what it wouldst be deemed?  That of Wales?  London? Lancaster? Manchester? That of the Scots?  The Irish?   From whence shalt we recruit our school masters?
Grinch
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Oddly LR Iím sort of inclined towards Mikeís position on this one, it seems perfectly reasonable to expect anyone teaching English to have a fair grasp of the language Ė whatever particular flavour.

Donít get me wrong  itís unclear in the article exactly how high the bar is being set, having a pronounced accent sounds a little too far to go if you ask me, standard grammatical usage? I can see the importance of that.

When I was thinking about it I applied the same rules to other areas of education Ė is it right to expect a chemistry teacher to understand chemistry or a history teacher to have a understanding of historical events?

While I was thinking about that something struck me Ė donít American teachers need to hold some official qualification or license to teach? If so which bozo is responsible for letting these, supposedly, unfit teachers loose on your kids in the first place?

.
Essorant
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8 posted 05-02-2010 02:42 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I would need to measure how serious the "problem" is and if or how much it interferes with teaching.  Pronouncing "Tink" for "think" and "biolet" instead of "violet" because of one's accent aren't what I consider good enough reasons for firing someone from being an English teacher.  There needs to be something much more serious than that.
  
Local Rebel
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9 posted 05-02-2010 03:09 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

When I was thinking about it I applied the same rules to other areas of education Ė is it right to expect a chemistry teacher to understand chemistry or a history teacher to have a understanding of historical events?



quote:

Pronouncing "Tink" for "think" and "biolet" instead of "violet" because of one's accent aren't what I consider good enough reasons for firing someone from being an English teacher.



Let's clarify something here.  These aren't "English" teachers.  These are teacher teachers.  Lower level grade teachers.  Preschool, kindergarten, first grade kind of teachers who are teaching everything from finger-painting to arithmetic.  They were brought here prior to 2000 to teach students who didn't speak English -- in Spanish.  In 2000 Arizona passed legislation banning any teaching in public schools in any other language than English -- so these teachers had to begin instructing in English.  Now Arizona doesn't like their accents.

This is about acculturation.  Plain and simple.  And it is racist.
Grinch
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10 posted 05-02-2010 03:39 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


Under the circumstance you describe LR I understand how this could be described as racism. I was trying to work out whether those running the education system hadnít somehow set the teachers up to fail, your explanation seems to suggest that they did.

Now I have a dilemma, I can see that a group of teachers are clearly being discriminated against because of their ethnicity but I can also see that thereís a logical reason for the discrimination Ė to ensure that the American education system produces kids who can function and prosper within mainstream American society.

Is that acculturation?

Certainly, but isnít that what the immigrants came for in the first place? To integrate and be a part of a system they saw as preferable to the system they came from?

Is it racism?

To a degree Iíd have to say yes, it meets all the criteria, but somehow the intent seems reasonable.

Iíll need to sleep on that one.

.
Local Rebel
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11 posted 05-02-2010 03:46 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

Now I have a dilemma, I can see that a group of teachers are clearly being discriminated against because of their ethnicity but I can also see that thereís a logical reason for the discrimination Ė to ensure that the American education system produces kids who can function and prosper within mainstream American society.



What is mainstream American society Grinch?  That's the question you have to ask.  Is it Southeastern, predominantly white protestant culture -- spoken with a pronounced accent?

Is it Boston? A predominantly white Catholic culture spoken with a pronounced accent?

Is it New York?  Chicago?  

The southwest is a culture unto itself too, marked by Native American culture, white Mormons, Catholic Hispanics....   LEARNING should be the goal of our educational system -- particularly in the first years of one's education -- if accents are a barrier to success -- how do you explain Arnold Schwartzenegger?  
Bob K
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12 posted 05-02-2010 03:50 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




     I had an Oxford trained instructor in English in College who could reliably pronounce the words Mary, Merry and Marry differently and distinctly within the same sentence.  I couldn't.  Not then and, after years of practice, not now.  She claimed that the spelling in English was perfectly logical, and thaty each word was pronounced exactly the way it was spelled, and was prepared to prove it.  Don't look at me that way!  She made an exception for names, and I didn't agree with her.  She told me that there was no such word as Ghotti  in English.

     The point?

     As Sapir says, Language is culture.

      The teacher is not the only English speaker in the classroom.  If the class is a Kindergarden class in English, the kids will pick up the language from the teacher and the accent from each other and from other English speakers in the population, the same way your ancestors did when they came here.  There aren't a lot of second generation Americans running around with a heavy accent that I've seen unless they got here in their teens or later.  Even then, a lot of them lose it.  As the immigrant picks up the American culture through tv and the various other avenues available, the accent goes.

     In England, I found it disconcerting to hear guys from India speaking with a cockney accent, but you would hear that every now and then.  And in Scotland, you'd hear the occasional Chinese lady speaking in a Scot's burr.

     You folks going to tell me that George W. Bush was speaking Spanish with a Castillian lisp?  And that his grammar was great?  Any Republican Spanish-speakers were simply thrilled that he spoke any Spanish at all.  If he'd spoken Spanish enough to be fluent, they would have been so happy they would have had to go to the hospital to get the smiles chipped off their faces.  Any problem with accent would have been nothing to them.

     I wonder how those Arizonans would feel if the accent that they were having to cope with were a thick Georgia accent, a thick Italian accent, a thick upper class English accent with the various differences in language that the English English speakers feel correct.  What about a French accent or a Bulgarian accent?  A heavy Boston Irish accent?  An accent with clear Black roots?

     Any one of these speakers can speak a fluent English, as can a person with a Mexican accent.

     Any one of these folks can sometimes speak more fluent English, and sometimes better English than "native Arizonans."  Their grammar may sometimes be better.  Their vocabulary may sometimes be better and their sentence structure may sometimes be better.  So what is this "fluency" being tested against?  And how?

     Racist?  Not Racist?

     Who's doing the testing, what are they being tested against, and how do they compare to the population at large?  How about some objectivity to start out with before we start firing people and before we start hurling charges around.

     It does sound racist to me, personally, by the way.

     But it would be hard to say without knowing about what tests were used, how they were applied, and who took them, who scored them and a lot of other data.  Where might this data be found?  
Balladeer
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13 posted 05-02-2010 04:05 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Certainly, but isnít that what the immigrants came for in the first place? To integrate and be a part of a system they saw as preferable to the system they came from?

That is a very excellent point, grinch. The answer, in many cases, is no. You can come visit me and I'll prove it. We have thousands of Cubans and Haitians who have been here for many years who do not speak English and have shown no desire to integrate into the system at all, with the exception of finding jobs or working with relatives. They have their Spanish communities, Spanish, newspapers and magazines, Spanish  radio and television channels....and they stay within their own communities, with no desire to integrate or learn the language. They can live fine without it.

I read years ago a book about the fall of Rome (no, I can't remember the book) but the main gist of it was that Rome had incorporated so many foreigners into their society, through conquests or whatever, but the foreigners did not incorporate themselves into the system. They pledged allegiance to their own countries and when it came time for Romans to stand together to defend themselves, there were not that many willing to do so, which led to a weakening and, ultimately, the downfall of Rome. Whether that is completely accurate or not I don't know but I can envision it happening.
Local Rebel
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14 posted 05-02-2010 04:55 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

If only they could be more like white people?

quote:

We have thousands of Cubans and Haitians who have been here for many years who do not speak English and have shown no desire to integrate into the system at all, with the exception of finding jobs or working with relatives. They have their Spanish communities, Spanish, newspapers and magazines, Spanish  radio and television channels....and they stay within their own communities, with no desire to integrate or learn the language. They can live fine without it.



So how does that hurt you?
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15 posted 05-02-2010 05:33 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

another white people reference from you? LR, you have a real hangup about race. Is that the trump card you pull out as a last resort? When in doubt, scream race?

btw, show me where I said it hurt me? I simply responded to grinch's question.
Local Rebel
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16 posted 05-02-2010 05:49 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

another white people reference from you? LR, you have a real hangup about race. Is that the trump card you pull out as a last resort? When in doubt, scream race?



Yes, I admit, I've been holding it all along, that trump card -- in a thread about racism -- I've been waiting until now to bring it up.  

quote:

btw, show me where I said it hurt me? I simply responded to grinch's question.



I didn't say you did -- I'm just asking.

Great -- so you're fine with it -- and agree Spanish-speaking children in Arizona don't need to be acculturated in order to be thriving, functional, beneficial, United States citizens.
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17 posted 05-02-2010 05:54 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Give it up, LR. Your attempts to perpetuate arguments and tossing out bait to begin new ones are becoming transparent...and tiring....not to mention have nothing to do with  the main topic.

Have a good evening...
Grinch
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18 posted 05-02-2010 05:56 PM       View Profile for Grinch   Email Grinch   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Grinch


I donít think they have to be white people LR but I think they do have to integrate, thatís not to say they canít keep their ethnicity alive but they canít ignore or live in isolation of the society that theyíve chosen to be part of. If they do ultimately national identity is lost, as in Mikeís example, which risks weakening society as a whole.

Immigration is a topic that gets lots of cover during times of high unemployment and recession, as Bob has pointed out elsewhere. There are similar arguments raging in the UK with regard to Asian immigrants and the issue of integration is one of the hot topics, one side argues that not allowing immigrants to keep their previous national identity is discriminatory, but canít that argument be turned on its head? Couldnít allowing non-integration by ethnic groups be said to be detrimental to national identity?

.
Denise
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19 posted 05-02-2010 05:59 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

One way that not knowing or undertanding English sufficiently could hurt them is that they would have to trust others, particularly politicians, who tell them in their native language what someone else is saying in English. They may not necessarily have a way to source the information to determine whether something is legitimate or propaganda.
Local Rebel
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20 posted 05-02-2010 06:20 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

quote:

thatís not to say they canít keep their ethnicity alive but they canít ignore or live in isolation of the society that theyíve chosen to be part of


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amish

There is no homogeneous "American" culture Grinch -- or nationality.  We are a nation of immigrants -- who -- for the most part tend to form large communities of national/religious/ethnic heritage.

I can't tell you how many times I've been stuck behind one of those buggies and just wished it had a V8 powering it instead of 4 legs -- but -- hey -- c'est la vie.

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21 posted 05-02-2010 06:33 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K




     Considering that LR started the thread, I suspect he has a better grip on what the main topic is than you do, Mike, although you do make the wounded walrus sounds in a very appealing fashion.

     Lots of folks who came over here spoke other languages.  In New York and here in LA, you can still find folks who will only speak yiddish and whose newspapers are printed in Yiddish.  I can't read it, because the characters aren't in Roman letters, but Hebrew letters, even though the language is mostly a form of medieval German with an admixture of Polish, Russian and Hebrew.
You're going to force these folks to learn English?  Why?

     Why do you want to force the Cubans and the Haitians to learn English, either?  If all they want to know are other Haitians and Cubans, why are you upset with that?  

     I thought you were the guy who wanted minimal government intrusion into the life of our citizens.  Taxes, which citizens get to vote on, really bother you.  Telling people what they can do in their own communities and their own homes is apparently just fine.  You can't talk to each other in Spanish, is that it?  Or in some Creole?

     The American model is The Melting Pot.  It's the one I grew up hearing all sorts of wonderful things about.  When I lived in Canada, I heard talk about The Vertical Mosaic, where each culture remains distinct and fits into the overall design of the country to present a pleasing pattern.  Ask me today, and I think I like that Canadian model better, simply because it doesn't require that everybody has to become the same before they're accepted as "one of us."  That people can remain themselves and still be part of the overall pattern.  Very polite, those Canadian wild-men, but they have a good point every now and again.  And this are one of them.  Newfoundland Rum, there's another.  [i]Screech[i], I think they call it, and for good reason.  Yee-haw!

     Beg pardon.  They may also have named it after the hangover.  Not so Yee-Haw!

Bob K
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22 posted 05-02-2010 06:37 PM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



quote:

One way that not knowing or undertanding English sufficiently could hurt them is that they would have to trust others, particularly politicians, who tell them in their native language what someone else is saying in English. They may not necessarily have a way to source the information to determine whether something is legitimate or propaganda.



     I believe there are people who are supposedly fluent in English who have trouble with this.  Even people who are fluent in English are often naive about sources from time to time.  And everybody has been known to disagree about them occasionally. Yes?
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Ah, good friend Bob....you claim I put words in people's mouths and engage in mind reading???

You're going to force these folks to learn English?  Why?

     Why do you want to force the Cubans and the Haitians to learn English, either?  If all they want to know are other Haitians and Cubans, why are you upset with that?  


Please point out where...
(1) I said anything about forcing anyone to learn English
(2) where I said Cubans and Haitians should be forced to learn English
(3) Where I said I was upset with it.

I;m really interesting in seeing where you came up with these babies.
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24 posted 05-02-2010 07:06 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Isn't learning English a requirement for citizenship, or has that changed?
 
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