- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Welcome to Espana

A horror story has surfaced in the liberal bastion of Madison, Wis., that illustrates how destructive bilingual education can be at least for one immigrant student.

Our story centers on 15-year-old Kiet Tran, who moved to the United States last year after his Vietnamese mother married John Gardner of Madison. The teenager didn’t understand English, so Madison public school officials placed him in a bilingual education class — for Spanish speakers.

“Of course, Kiet does not understand Spanish, but for three hours each day he was forced into classes where the instruction was almost entirely in Spanish,” reveals Washington-based U.S. ENGLISH, a group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. “Mr. Gardner pleaded with the Madison school system to take his son out of the bilingual classes, but to no avail. Kiet’s education was harmed, as he was not learning English or any of his other subjects taught in Spanish.”

Due to his frustration at school, Kiet obviously began to suffer emotional problems. With no remedy from Madison’s education officials, the family finally moved to another school district.

“My son has an English-speaking father who understands our system of government and is not afraid to speak out,” Mr. Gardner observes. “Many immigrant students do not have such an advantage and are often at the mercy of the education establishment.”

The good news, says U.S. ENGLISH, is that Kiet recently completed a four-week “English for College” immersion program at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point.

“Kiet won the award for ‘Most Improved English’ and now looks forward to starting school in September,” the group adds.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gardner is filing a lawsuit against the Madison school system on the grounds that his stepson’s civil rights were violated and for noncompliance with the Educational Opportunity Act of 1974.

Bilingual education has been dismantled by voters in three states amid studies that show it is less effective at teaching English than English immersion classes.

Go figure

Thom Golab, a vice president at the nonpartisan Competitive Enterprise Institute, observes: “In defending the Democrats’ unconstitutional legislative redistricting map, the New Jersey Supreme Court issued a bizarre statement in their opinion: ‘Literalism must be avoided because there is no surer way to misread any document than to read it literally.’”

Keep your spam

Nobody seems to be able to block pornographic “spam” on the Internet, but an innocuous newspaper article about bishop-elect Canon V. Gene Robinson’s controversial Web site has been bounced back to America by the British.

“I sent an e-mail to Lord John Taylor in the [British] House of Lords and the Houses of Parliament blocked it, sending the note below,” says Nina May, president of the Renaissance Women Network:

“This is to advise you that your e-mail has been blocked and will be deleted by the Houses of Parliament in due course since we believe it has inappropriate content. The intended recipient has not received the e-mail.”

The newspaper article sent via e-mail to the British lord, a friend of Mrs. May’s, reported that the New Hampshire cleric was behind the creation of “Outright,” an Internet site with the following mission statement: “Outright’s mission is to create safe, positive, and affirming environments for young gay, lesbian, bisexual, trans, and questioning people ages 22 and under.”

Flirting with disaster

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides more than $600,000 annually in federal funds to the Stop AIDS Project of San Franscisco to pay for HIV “prevention” workshops — including “flirting classes” set for Aug. 13:

“Want to flirt with greater finesse and date with more confidence? Who doesn’t. Share your expertise and hear how others are successful in meeting guys and staying safe today.”

Car surgeons

“So Senator [Patty] Murray is proposing a new federal spending law to stem the tide of students dropping out of school or performing poorly,” writes Steve A. Brown, a high school physics teacher in Fairfax County, who’d read our item about the Washington Democrat introducing legislation to spend millions of dollars on “literacy coaches” for public schools.

“A simple partial solution is to give students the option to pursue academics or learning a skill,” suggests Mr. Brown. “The only issue is at what age students should be given that option. But it appears that many in the education establishment is repulsed by the idea that some students may want to learn how to repair cars over seeking a Ph.D in astrophysics.

“As long as that mindset continues, so will high drop-out rates and poor performance. Better to finish school knowing how to fix a car rather than leaving early and knowing nothing at all.”

John McCaslin, a nationally syndicated columnist, can be reached at 202/636-3284 or jmccaslin@washingtontimes.com.

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