Thoughts on the APALC & ACLU Press Releases Regarding English Language Learners
Post date: Mar 23, 2013 6:20:37 AM
While I support the intentions of the possible lawsuit, let's bear in mind two things. First, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) is actually pretty good at talking about providing English Language Learners (ELL) resources. Many of our own local teachers and administrators played a major role in writing the new English Learner Master Plan. Further, I'd like to know if LAUSD's 2% cited by APALC and the ACLU desegregates public schools from privately managed charters, since we know the latter are far more prone to under-serve ELL students. Moreover, the suit seems to be more about other districts that have abdicated their ELL responsibilities altogether.
Second, we don't want ELL to be considered a means for dropping core courses taught in heritage languages. Members of the Nonprofit Industrial Complex (NPIC) were using phrases like "fast track to reclassification" when the new master plan was being crafted. This is wrongheaded. We want to provide resources for students to learn academic topics in their heritage languages concurrently while they are in the process of English language acquisition. While a novel concept, many are discussing this topic speak as if English is the only language in which subjects like mathematics can be learned. The rest of the world is proof positive that this isn't the case. There are those that would substitute ELL programs for highly successful dual language immersion and academic courses being taught in heritage languages, we want APALC and the ACLU to recognize and discourage that practice by advocating for heritage and dual language programs as well as equal access to ELL.