Monday, May 03, 2010

Left-wingnuts try for right-wingnut imaginary conspiracy title

In Arizona, ESL teachers who don't speak English well are being re-assigned to non-ESL classrooms. ESL classrooms are meant to teach English to children who don't speak English as their native language. The Every Child Left Behind Act says that ESL classrooms must be taught by people "fluent" in English. The official in Arizona who is responsible for ESL NCLB compliance, Adela Santa Cruz, interprets this to mean that if the teacher does not speak English grammatically or consistently does not pronounce words correctly (saying "bery" rather than "very", for example), this teacher does not meet the requirements to teach ESL.

Is this a racist attack on Hispanic teachers? Uhm, somehow I doubt "Santa Cruz" is an Anglo name :-). I'm willing to suspend disbelief long enough to accept the AzDoE's explanation that the intent is that people just learning English should have someone to model their speech after who, well, actually speaks English. In other words, I don't buy the left-wing conspiracy theory that this is an attack upon Hispanic teachers, because it's targeted only at a specific subset of teachers rather than at all teachers, and it's based upon an interpretation of federal law, not upon some racist nonsense coming out of the Arizona legislature.

Now, there's clearly racist bullshit coming out of the Arizona legislature, and Arizona's top education official is clearly a racist Republican nutcase, as his bill to ban ethnic studies in Arizona proves. But let's not read racism into every action taken by any official in Arizona. That way leads to the sort of right-wingnut conspiracy theory bullshit that I regularly make fun of here, where Preznit Obama deliberately took time out of his day to call in a dozen awkward Keystone Kops to march out of time and scare little children and grannies by, err, looking their way. The right wing regularly invents freakouts of that nature to scare their supporters into being even more right-wing. We don't need to emulate that behavior on the left too.

-- Badtux the Non-conspiratorial Penguin


  1. Yes and No. If the ESL teachers who speak English properly have ALSO mastered the milk language of the stdents (Spanish mostly in AZ) then this is a valid educational move. Otherwise, the students were bettter off with a bilingual teacher with imperfect English skills. The key point is what gets the kids up to speed in English, not the politics.

  2. Yes to Badtux, no to TampaDoug. If the goal is to learn English, the best choice is a teacher with the best English language skills. Would you buy a Spanish learning tape that gave you less than perfect Spanish?

  3. Back to the keystone cops: I couldn't tell -- did those ruffians say, "Ni!" to the old ladies?



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