Teaching English Is Key

Re "New Testing Adds Urgency to Bilingual Ed Battle," Jan. 4: There is no more insidious threat to the education of Latino children than bilingual education. It is destructive to their future. University studies are conducted in English, and English is a basic requirement for finding work and having a successful career. Latino children are not incapable of learning English, and Latino parents must be held accountable for ensuring that they do so.

English immersion is the key. Children are sponges and will soak up knowledge, so parents need to make sure the TV is set to an English-speaking station. Buy books in English; insist that your children learn English.

I was 2 when I came to the U.S., and I remember learning English by watching "Sesame Street" and "The Electric Company." Thank God that I learned English because instead of becoming an Ivy League university graduate, I might have been a janitor at an Ivy League school whose name I could not even spell.

Juan E. Alva

Los Angeles


Proposition 227 was passed by the voters of this state to replace the long-standing but failed methods of teaching English with a preference for English immersion in our public schools. Nativo Lopez reportedly believes that Proposition 227 is a "classic case of the majority oppressing minorities" by imposing English. This is democracy, not "oppression."

The statistics quoted in the article strongly suggest that close to one-quarter of the public school pupils in the state and close to one-half of the public school pupils in Los Angeles are not English-proficient. In other words, using English proficiency as a proxy for immigration status, a substantial portion of the costs of public education borne by state and city taxpayers (25% and 50%) is directly related to educating the children of immigrants.

By all accounts (upon which we must rely, due to the universal "don't ask, don't tell" rule with respect to illegal immigration), a substantial proportion of those are in this country illegally.

Many new schools must be built as our population grows out of control. The county health system approaches collapse as our population grows out of control. Traffic comes to a standstill and our open space disappears as our population grows out of control -- all despite existing laws specifically limiting immigration. When is someone going to address this type of oppression?

Margaret Manning

Los Angeles

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