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English Doesn’t Always Have to be the Official Language to Get to the Head of the Class

LatinaLista — The more it looks like the Senate is making headway in crafting an immigration reform bill, the more small towns across America want to put their own individual stamp of authority on immigration reform — by trying to force an issue that was long ago recognized as a non-issue — making English the official language.

Case in point: Hampshire, Illinois.
It seems that though the town has a smaller Hispanic population than its neighbors, it passed a resolution last April 19 recognizing English as the official language EXCEPT for health, safety and legal situations.
The town recognizes that in these cases it’s important that the person receiving the instructions understand them for their own good.
So, why insist that English be the official language?
Unless, it is nothing more than an attempt by the city council members of Hampshire to criminalize a certain group of people by targeting their native language.
A lot of these people who propose that English be declared the official language don’t get the fact that they can’t eradicate Spanish with a simple resolution or ordinance.
Nor do these same people understand that speaking more than one language is the way of the world we live in today.
They should take a look at a school in Texas where Anglo, English-speaking families choose to enroll their children in a program that not just teaches the students simple Spanish vocabulary — but how to simply be fluent.
At Bedford Heights Elementary, sixteen students, for the last six years, have been enrolled in the school’s Spanish immersion program.
Raising their hands in class, they called maestra (teacher) and counted uno, dos, tres and took lessons in ciencia y matematicas.
And now as these students enter junior high, they are well on their way to being bilingual and starting their next phase of Spanish instruction.
The plan is that the students will continue in the immersion program until they graduate from high school.
So far, it’s been an experience that has proven to be an asset to these young people.
The school knew it would be a hardsell to most families and so they’ve created an online video at their web site having the children explain, bilingually, what they’ve gotten out of the program.

Two 6th grade Spanish Immersion students explain in a video why they like speaking Spanish.
(Source: Pegasus News)
It’s obvious that these children feel a certain amount of pride and accomplishment when speaking Spanish.
It’s ironic that children born into Spanish-speaking families should be made to feel ashamed when speaking unless it is English.
What kind of message is that?

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  • tizoc
    June 8, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    same message for the last 500 years, give up native culture, identity, and names ‘cuz being ethnic is so second class

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