I read this morning in this article, that the Oregon Department of Education cut title III funding for Portland Public Schools because of a lack of compliance with regulations and previous warnings about the nature of instruction for ELL's within the district.
Although I did not work for this particular district, this really hits home for me because my district was also visited by ODE which infused stress in many teachers due to the fear that something like this would happen.
As I read through the comments following this article, I became both fascinated and shocked at the attitudes of some people regarding the education and instruction of English for students whose native language is not English. People expressed that bilingual education should be cut, students should only speak English at school and at home, that students should learn that if they want to survive in OUR country, they need to learn to speak English. It was obvious to me that many of these comments came from individuals who are not educators and are also not familiar with research on language acquisition or multicultural education. For that matter, they may not even be aware that many of the original inhabitants of our country were not English speakers. ::gasp!::
Check out some of these comments that made me cringe just a bit:
I'll bet that if multilingual information was eliminated, they would all learn English. My family did back in the 1920s. It would also help if the people in school learning English were using English in the home.
Then there were some comments that I was happy to see:
Immersed? So a beginner, new to the country, speaks no English at all, comes to the USA as a middle or high school student, should be thrown into classes like English Lit, political science, Biology, etc? How much do you think the average student (or, you for that matter) would get from this sort of immersion? How much do you know about the theories of language acquisition? Perhaps you'd like to do a bit of research? Try this site. http://www.sdkrashen.com/index.php?cat=0
Obviously this issue, like many others, is politically charged and elicits strong opinions from different people that can be polar opposites. I think you can tell where I stand however, regardless of what side I agree with, I truly do not see how ODE ripping funds away from PPS is a viable solution. How can they be expected to improve if funding is lost? I understand that there were recommendations made regarding what types of programs/instruction should be taking place for ELL's and that they improved for a bit, but then started to slide again, but I can't help but think that more education, support, or direction would be better than removing funding.