At last check, the United States Constitution was written in English — not Spanish, or Russian, or Urdu, or Chinese, or any other blarney the balled-up Department of Education wants to foist on taxpayers in its bilingual program options.
English has helped generations of immigrants aspire and acclimate to the American way of life, but schools chancellor Carmen Farina and her new chief for “English-language learners,” Milady Baez, want to ditch those triumphs to promote a wholesale agenda at odds with individual advancement and success.
Their wonky plan to constipate the public school beadledom with more bloat — including “strategically using English-language learner density enrollment data,” “collaborating with a broad range of partners,” and “strengthening the specialized skill sets necessary to effectively address the academic and linguistic needs of the diverse English-language learner population” — say what? — is costly drivel engineered to mask their own inadequacies as educators. Otherwise they would have no problem equipping all their students with the skills they need to grasp the world’s most widely used language and enjoy the vast opportunities that its fluency brings.
Bilingual and English-as-a-Second-Language programs first appeared here in the mid-1970s, after a lawsuit against the city claimed it failed Puerto Rican youngsters who spoke limited English because they were unable to participate in classes. Long-term bilingual education has become the norm since then, with negligible success.
International watchdogs at Humanity in Action say the Big Apple’s English-language learners perform lower than their mainstream peers. A 2009 Los Angeles study confirmed our worst suspicions — that long-term bilingual education programs block students from the mainstream and contribute to drop-out rates. An astonishing 30 percent of students placed in English language learning classes in primary grades were still in the same programs in high school, the study found.
The Department of Education — a wealthy, lazy agency, whose annual budget of $25.9 billion is more than the state budget of Louisiana — deserves a dunce cap for trying to glom even more riches off the backs of its foreign-language speakers, with additional grants earned for each enrollee. Its gross riches should have financed a better method of mainstreaming English-language learners more efficiently, instead of dooming them to a life of disadvantage and dependency with a new take on old policies that spell failure in any language.