The Texas middle school principal in Hempstead, TX, was fired after stating she wanted English spoken in the classes. This statement was the result of teachers reporting to her that they had experienced instances in which students had been asked to stop talking during instructions and they responded that it was their right to speak Spanish – ignoring the fact that they should not have been speaking (in any language) during class without permission. Amy Lacy was put on administrative leave last Fall and her contract was not renewed. Here is another bad job by the school board when they fired this dedicated school person by trying to be politically correct (in my system it is called a political coward) instead of trying to put discipline back in the school system. Please refer to my blog entitled, “Political Correctness – Not in the Czech Republic,” dated August 6, 2014.
Let’s take a look at this from both sides. First from the principal’s side. For the last two decades our school system has failed our children. If not from the discipline side but also from the educational side. All of this failure strictly from all sides not backing the teachers – the system has failed the parents, schools, and governmental rules. Not one child can learn anything if discipline is not adhered to in the classroom so that the curriculum can be taught. And social promotion has to stop. At the present time, the bulk of college graduates have been given diplomas without the knowledge that goes with it. That is a sad state of affairs.
As a person who did not speak a word of English but Czech when entering the first grade, I know the frustration of “being a foreigner in the land of English.” But these young people should understand unless they try to speak English instead of returning to Spanish they will continue to lag behind. And being disruptive does not help either by talking instead of listening. These young people are very lucky to just being in the U.S. with all of the advantages that any child in the world would happily change places with them. So my advice to these young people who are frustrated is listen to your instructors and hang in there.
Two instances of language funnies which happened in my life were – we visit Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, twice a year and have become friends with the workers at our condo. Initially, we tried to use our broken Spanish in our requests. Their reply was – please speak English to us because the more and better English we speak the more we can advance in our job – this is in Mexico. The other funny was that we go to a salon in our hometown and we had a mixture of English and Spanish women working in the salon. In most of our appointments the Spanish ladies would speak in Spanish to each other during our appointment time. In one of our visits to the salon, one of my friends, who also spoke Czech, had an appointment at the same time. So as the two Spanish ladies were giving us a pedicure we started speaking Czech to each other. The two Spanish ladies laughed and said “now we know how you all feel when we speak Spanish and you all do not understand what we are saying.” That ended the Spanish and Czech dual language in the salon.
Also from a safety standpoint at work – only English could be spoken so that everyone was on the same page. So, all of these people who keep hanging on to “their rights” have to understand in order to progress, “English is in vogue.” No one wants them to stop speaking Spanish – but there is a time and place for everything. Etiquette should be used in all situations.
We continued to speak Czech in our home with my mother who spoke English and Czech fluently. But we always left the Czech at home when we went out in public. But at family reunions and weddings – the Czech language was on the table. My mom, bless her soul, loved this country and its language because of the many, many advantages and freedoms. Her remark was “don’t abuse Lady Liberty, love her instead.”
It is very important to resolve the problems in our public schools so that all of the children will have the same advantage to advance and at the same time learning English but retaining their cultured language. The only way this will happen is to have children tested in their aptitude and then place them in classes built for these young people and only then will this frustration be eradicated. Treat them just as you treat “special needs” children. You cannot dump young people in a classroom without the knowledge of the English language and expect them to be successful. It is not fair to the other students who you are holding hostage. Because, the Spanish language children will be lost and fall behind. Do not waste the taxpayer’s money – use it wisely. Sure it is going to cost more money. But our children are worth it.