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6 February 2008 at 1:22:14 PM
When I was a child in elementary school at Bunker Hill Elementary in Houston, we were taught Spanish. At the time, there was a comic strip in the paper called "Buenos Dias" that, as I recall, had a talking burro. And we were all given spanish names that somewhat corresponded with our birth names. I don't recall anyone griping about efforts to be bilingual in Texas then. (In fact, in other countries, it's considered a mark of being highly educated to know more than one language.) I can't say too much in Spanish, ended up taking French in high school and college, but I am happy that I had that exposure to at least the structure and some common words and phrases.
When I read about this woman pulling her kid out of class, she sounds, frankly, racist. and misguided.
"Ashleigh feels the course would be a waste of her time since she has no aspirations in the future to have a career requiring bilingual talents," Allison wrote to the principal, "nor does she feel compelled to accommodate those who live in our country who refuse to learn the primary and current native tongue of English."
I'm with this guy.
Rudy Rodriguez, retired director of the bilingual education program at the University of North Texas, said exposure to foreign languages at an early age helps children become more comfortable interacting with people from other countries and cultures.
He also said that there are benefits to the "bilingual brain" and that learning a second language actually improves a child's brain function.
"It is a wonderful, enriching experience for children to have the opportunity to learn a language other than English," he said. "We're moving very rapidly into a global economy where boundaries between countries are becoming less distinct."
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