Very difficult situation. I live in Vancouver Canada and we have similar issues. We have a huge ESL community and we often take in foreign students. Our schools need students and we charge for ESL students. The language barrier is a problem. Very complicated and very hot political issue here in Canada. No simple solutions.
Looking back, I am glad that yet another attempt to SizemOregon was defeated. I do think that people need to be able to function in the dominant local language, whether that is English here in the U.S., French in Quebec, or Spanish in Mexico, but I also think that limiting language acquisition education in school to an arbitrary duration is wrong. I remember learning in U.S. History (way back in 8th grade) that when our immigrant ancestors came here in the 18th and 19th centuries, many of them spoke little or no English, but learned it of necessity through immersion despite living in ethnic enclaves in the cities (Little Italy, Chinatown, etc.). They still had to be able to communicate with the merchants for their meat, bread, fish, and so on. This necessitated learning English, so they did. These immigrants became bi-lingual out of need, raised their children with both languages (mostly English, however), and by the grand-children's generation, the old language was nearly forgotten. How many of us today can speak the native tongue of our immigrant ancestors? I, for one, know that I can't speak Irish.
Language acquisition takes time. Anyone who has some reasonable degree of language fluency in a language other than one's primary language knows this. Measure 58 would limit English acquisition time to 2 years. Generally, speaking, adult second language acquisition theory suggests it takes adults 2-7 years to go from survival to academic fluency. These are people with a well-developed first langauge foundation in place. Many factors contribute to this: age, motivation, contact with the target language, attitude toward the language, use of the langauge in real communicative contexts, home language use, formal study, formal study in one's country of origin, etc. Similar measures have been suggested, and some tried, in Oregon's neighbor to the south. Of course the two differ tremendously; however, one consideration is this: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 12.1% of Oregon's population age 5 and above speak a language other than English at home. On the contrary, this same number skyrockets to just under 40% in California. Think about elementary, middle school, and high school learners trying to learn content at the same time as they attempt to learn a second language - while not having achieved the standard in the first! This is why time limits simply do not work. Immersion is good, so why not try dual-immersion where our English-only sons and daughters can develop second and third language fluency in order that we cease falling behind counterparts in other nations, lagging in the ability to react to global realities and a larger world view. Two years? It will work for some, but many will undoubtedly fall between the proverbial cracks that ever widen. Perhaps politicians should leave teaching to professionals.
My family immigrated to the US from Ukraine in the summer of 1994. I just finished high school and literally knew only a couple of phrases in English (mostly from the MC Hammer and Madonna songs). I was in college two months later. I did take three ESL classes in 1994/1995 year. I wish I didn't. I did not learn much from the ESL classes; I also think that the formal learning is not a way to assimilate a different culture and language. I don't think that anyone can transition into English by spending an hour or two a day in a formal environment.
I found people, work, and regular classes much more helpful in absorbing new language and culture. I believe that I would benefit much more by receiving a more informal help instead of a lecture or assignment based education. I think that more real life situations are much more effective in accelerating the transition to English and to the American culture.
I have employees in my company from OSU, UO, WSU, and UW. I consistently notice the feedback "I have learned more working with you than during the last four years in school". I believe that more realistic interactions are more effective primarily due to the importance of reality vs artificial environment and the very interactive nature of the practice. My point is that doing it is much different from studying it.
I think that foreign immigrants and visitors are definitely in a fix trying to jump the culture gap. In my opinion the formal learning environment is not the best tool to assist such people. After all many of the people here did not learn their basics in a formal setting - think of kindergarten, preschool, family interactions, and friends.
I appreciate your comments, particularly considering your language experience and acculturation to this country. I think they apply very well to adult language learners. My comments about formal study relate to the many who don't take classes and don't connect with English in their jobs and day-to-day relationships as is true for thousands, if not tens of thousands, in California. Of course the issue here as related to Measure 58 concerns much younger students and the time it takes for them to proceed to English language fluency and academic success. IN states with large second language student populations, gaps exist and these populations consistently lag behind their native English speaking counterparts. 2 years could work if support mechanisms are in place to help these learners bridge the gaps in their langauge and their content studies.
I was 16, when I took the ESL courses. If that was the only option available to me, I would have a very hard time making across the language and the culture barrier. The idea in those courses was to sit in a class room and learn how to read a newspaper in America, how to write a letter in America, how to communicate in America. My point is that we and they and you are in America, go and read a newspaper, write a letter, or communicate.
I have more observations. In 1994 my sister went to high school, and I enrolled in college. She had much harder time crossing the language and the culture barrier, than I did. I believe that the source of her difficulties were based on the artificial and academic approach, when I had many more real opportunities. She is two years younger than me, and she always did better with language and school in general.
ESL classes are good. I think that there are better and faster methods for foreigners to come on board. How can you grasp the culture and the language through a book or a lecture? Active involvement may just be a better approach than a passive learning environment.
I think classes and "real" language contact serve different, but symbiotic, purposes. Your comment about "passive" or "artificial" learning is at the core of students' varying experiences. One of the best things that ever happened in one of my classes was when 5 ladies from the class met outside class, developed social connections, made lunch for each other once a week, and practices their Englsih in the process. They were from Mexico, El Salvador, Peru, Korea, and Japan. It was a learning experience that would be difficult, if not impossible, to recreate in the classroom and did wonders for their English language fluency.. Still, ESL classes that are well-done give students the exposure to the standard English and the typically lesser-developed skills of reading and writing that can open doors to employment opportunities. I just hope the state of Oregon, and proponents of Measure 58, understand that there is a lot of student support necessary for learners to develop fluency in a 2 year period. It's no surprise that one of the big supporters of this measure is also stronglu connected to the immigration reform movement. Look southward to many mistakes that have already been made and sincere good luck to all.
It's great to see Think out Loud contributing the public conversation on ballot Measure 58. Healthy Democracy Oregon hosted Oregon's first Citizens' Initiative Review on Measure 58 two weeks ago.
Readers and listeners will want to read the Citizens' Statement (attached) which came from the randomly selected voters who participated in the Review. Good work!
When my family lived in Peru, we decided to send our children to one of the many schools which were bi-lingual, that is, their goal was to develop Peruvian students who were capable users of both English and Spanish. Some classes were taught in English, some in Spanish. There was no formal instruction in Spanish as a second language, as for most of the students English was the second language.
My children were in grades 1, 4, and 5. My first grade daughter had learned to read in English, and was able to transfer her first grade level of English reading to first grade reading in Spanish. We were able to encourage and support her learning of Spanish at home, and I think that made some difference.
It was a different story for the 4th and 5th graders. They both had a rudimentary knowledge of Spanish when they started at the school. They could go into a panaderia and buy rolls, or talk their way into a private swimming pool by identifying the tia who was a member. It was quite a different matter to attempt to study science, geography, and history at their grade level in Spanish. The school, naturally, taught the least academically demanding classes in English, but stuck to Spanish for the subjects which required more extensive and specialized vocabularies. There was no way they could acquire enough Spanish to hold their own in those classes.
We valued our children's opportunity to become part of the culture of Peru. Reluctantly we moved them to the Collegio Roosevelt, the school for English and American students, where all classes were in English. Their closest friends were among the Peruvians enrolled in this school. Peruvians who had capability in English as a result of several years of formal instruction in their second language.
Since then two of these children have become ESL teachers. Both are aware of the studies which have shown that students who learn to read in their most familiar language learn to read in the second language more readily than without this introduction to reading. Their experiences as teachers have borne this out. They also know that it takes at least 4 years for students to develop real facility in their second language, so they can comprehend hard subject matter taught exclusively in English.
I'm neither teacher nor immigrant, but an American who has studied several languages. My second language (though the fifth I started learning) is German. Stationed in Frankfurt am Main, I lived off-post and was immersed in the language whenever I wasn't on duty or hanging with other GIs.
I took "hoch Deutsch" and other college classes, and dealt with the neighbors in the local Hessisch dialect. Within a couple of years, I realized I was becoming fluent when I woke one morning from a dream in German. I was still glad that in night classes I could ask questions (and often get answers) in English if necessary.
How would Anglo-Oregonians feel if their kids, after taking Spanish for two years and not becoming fluent, were then required to take all of their courses in that language -- including textbooks, tests, and teachers who spoke no English? That would be unfair, of course, but so is the flip side of that coin -- Measure 58.
Immersion is an effective way to learn a language quickly, but it is also very challenging and not suitable for everyone. Different approaches may work better for different students.
In a conversational Russian class, when my teacher asked whether she should include some grammar I told her I'd find that helpful for constructing unrehearsed sentences. She asked me, "Why? Then you have to think before saying anything." I answered, "Well, I try to do that even in English."
People have different learning styles, and no one approach is best for all.
As an English Learner, and education professor, I agree we need to teach Oregon
students English. However, Measure 58 is yet another bad idea by Sizemore.
Under his plan, most students would only have one year before being placed in
English ?immersion? (sink or swim) programs. Is Sizemore not aware that
English-only classrooms are already the norm for the vast majority of Oregon?s
English learners? Some student may be able to learn enough English to ?get by?
on the playground or in the early grades in one or two years, but countless
studies have shown that the type of English required for more challenging
schoolwork such as chemistry takes on average 4-7 years to acquire. Parents and
teachers know that every child is different and some may need extra support such as strong ESL methods in order to catch up to their native English peers. Mr. Sizemore is probably also not aware that Oregon already has a set of rigorous English Language Proficiency Standards and numerous assessment measures which hold schools accountable for the progress of their English Learners. The Oregon Department of Education and the US
Department of Education monitor these students closely and requires schools to
make ?adequate yearly progress? in meeting their needs. Of course there is room
for improvement, but Measure 58 will only make things worse. Sizemore?s arbitrary one
or two year rule has nothing to do with research, and will only hurt students
and take away control from the teachers and districts who know their students
I am not an immigrant or a teacher but i think this measure steps over the line. This country was founded on liberty, and to bring the government into the lives of young people trying to earn an education is plain wrong. What happens if the student fails to learn English in the said amount of time, that kind of pressure can interfere with education in general.
I think this measure has the correct idea, we do need to effectively teach young people to understand the language our society is built around, but this is the incorrect approach. The measure should mandate ESL course improvement and allocate funds to do so. Look at the opportunity cost of passing this bill, we could improve the efficiency of ESL courses dramatically with less than 200 million. The government should not mandate time tables, but instead turn over the management of such things to the people directly involved with the students.
This is a reckless measure, please vote NO on this inconsiderate, non-cost effective measure.
I grew up in Sweden, so English is my second language (I now live in Portland, Oregon). When it comes to languages, for me the best way to learn a new one is total submersion. Like all other Swedes, I had english in school grades 4 - 12 as well as parents that spoke english at home (mother from Detroit) without really learning the language. I learned to speak english without an accent while spending one year of highschool in the US - total submersion. When I learned German, I made sure to take the language classes in Munich, Germany. The German did not work out too well because I had Swedish family there and could, thus, break away from the German language nightly.
I am an extreme case because I tend to not speak a language until I can do so without any major accent. This was a hindrance to me when I spent 4th grade in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I felt out of place because I could not speak the language as well as all my friends. The easiest words to pick up on were swearwords and taunts, since they are short bursts of words that do not necessarily need to be pronounced correctly. This made me somewhat secluded (even though the kids I went to school with were very friendly) and I think that if I would have had the option of being taught all or some of the classes in Swedish, I would have been worse off!
I enjoyed reading your story. For students like you, who alreay knew how to read and write in your home language, I agree that it makes sense to push them toward immersion. My concern is for the students who are trying to learn to read, write, AND speak in a 2nd or 3rd language without any academic background. Imagine trying to learn English--how to speak it, read it, AND write it--if you hadn't built those skills originally in Swedish.
Most people writing in are laboring under misinformation. My understanding is that this measure won't limit ELL education to two years. It will limit the amount of teaching ELL students receive in their HOME LANGUAGE. That being said, I am a Portland-area teacher with a high percentage of ELL students. The kids coming in who already know how to read and write in their home languages are at an incomparable advantage to those who do not. Reading and writing is extremely difficult business; I teach some students for whom Standard English is their home language, and in 8th grade they are still far from mastering it. We can give elementary students reading and writing skills in Spanish or Vietnamese and then they can transfer those developed skills to English literacy. This is all WHILE they are learning to speak English. Please don't take this tool out of a teacher's tool-box!
Okay, it's me again. I just went and actually read the measure, and I was wrong. This measure is farther-reaching than I thought, and it really does limit ELL classes, not just home-language-acquisition. This is a bad measure!
Why do we, as a state and as a nation, refuse to accept the fact that this country is bilingual? To put the question another way, why do we continue to speak of Spanish as a "foreign" language? I fail to see what is "foreign" about it, and I fail to see why every student should not be expected to learn both of the languages spoken in this country. I'm all in favor of teaching foreign languages to every student, too. But it flies in the face of the facts to include Spanish in the category of "foreign languages."
Needless to say, I think Measure 58 is nothing more than nativist hokum. My point is that Measure 58, and this discussion of it, is predicated on the assumption that English is and should be the sole national language of this country. Unless we challenge that assumption, then Bill Sizemore and the know-nothings will have won the debate, even if Measure 58 fails.
We can all agree that it is a good thing that every student should learn to read and write English well. But we should also recognize that English is not the only national language in the U.S., and that every student should also learn the "other" one -- Spanish -- if they don't know it already. I say: SSL for all who don't have Spanish as their "home language." AND a "foreign language" for everyone. If the Swiss can do it -- and they have FOUR national languages -- so can we.
I don't advocate for any language they are simply the tool of communication. We can't rush to the other side of things, by saying something more about language in general, then is inherently there. There is absolutely no need to learn another language then the one you speak. This view is so traditional. If you desire to do so, then great. But many intelligent people can get along just fine with one language. It is equally possibly to suggest that the time spent learning a language could be better spent studying physics, if we want to know how the world works. You can't advocate foreign (to you) language instruction. It is a fine thing for some, but don't turn it into something it isn't.
Bill Sizemore should be prevented from getting any more initiatives on the ballot until he serves hard time and pays his debt to society for racketeering and vote fraud. Can you explain to the listening audience why he is not behind bars? I honestly don't understand.
Be tough on crime! Jail people who engage in election fraud!
I work in an office where several young women are bilingual. They slip easily from English to Spanish in their personal conversation, which is amusing and reminiscent of a feature I heard last friday, on NPR's The World, about the Puerto Rican comic who talks about "Spanglish." Professionally, these successful English learners are a tremendous asset, as they can communicate clearly with clients who speak only English or Spanish, and give them useful information they can understand about important medical, financial and even personal questions vital to those clients.
My daughter is in a Spanish-English dual immersion program in Canby. We love it, she is learning so much; is on track with her English reading, math, and other subjects, and is developing a strong foundation in Spanish. The Spanish as first language children seem to excel as well, and my understanding is that a lot of research supports that MASTERING the first language (reading and speaking) makes it easier to learn a second.
My question - how will measure 58 effect these types of programs?
I'm currently enrolled in an ESOL endorsement program at a local University. I have seen many studies that show it takes two years to reach a fluency in a language where students are comfortable in a social setting (BICS-Basic Interpersonal Communication Skills) and then between 5-7 years to be comfortable in an academic setting (CALP-Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency.) With the numerous studies that support the idea that it takes a long time to become proficient in a second language, it makes sense to continue content teaching in a bi-lingual setting. It seems almost counter-intuitive that students learn English better by teaching them in their home language, but if we look closer at it, it does make sense. When one is familiar with grammar and syntax in their own language, they are able to understand rules in a second language. Studies point to "late-exit" bilingual programs as contributing to the highest academic scores across the board. I wish people could be aware of these facts because we really need to help all who come to America to not just survive, but thrive.
I can not disagree more with this measure. As a chemistry and physics teacher, many of my ESL students have serious difficulty with the terminology of science. How many hard science terms did anyone learn when taking a foriegn language? Not many I'll wager.
I recently served in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia (pre Russian invasion). Georgia has a non Latin alphabet, 7 verb tenses, and a word order that boggles the mind. Were it not for my language teachers teaching in BOTH Georgian and English, I would not have been able to get around or communicate.
Nothing is more frustrating that not being able to communicate and I always remember when I am teaching today, all the times I just nodded when I really didn't understand what was being said to me in Georgian.
Forcing kids to sink or swim will cause many of them to withdrawl to their native language and give up on English, thus regulating them to second class citizens.
Why don't we just ban all minorites from public schools outright? Wouldn't that simplify things?
How long has this region been speaking Engilsh? I'd say less than 150 years. The Native Americans spoke thier languages for thousands of years, yet the Sizemore's of the world think they can ipose thier will on a changing social environment.
It seems like this measure would decrease the demand for teachers, and increase class sizes. Which we all KNOW makes learning on an individual level (since we all learn differntly) more difficult. It makes the job harder on teachers, and in turn conflicts with Hill-Billy Sizemore's proposed measure that decides teacher salary should be based on classroom performance, and not based on their experience and education level.
Year after year Sizmore does not fail and proposing brainless measures. Good job Bill.
I haven't supported a single ballot measure proposed by Sizemore and definitely do not support this one. You can not pigeon-hole learners since everybody learns at their own pace and, additionally inconvenient for schools, in their own style or mode.
I at age 11, speaking only Latvian, I entered 6th grade and was totally immersed in the English language. I spoke it within 6 months and went from the slow reading group to the advanced within that time. At home we continued to speak Latvian, as my parents' English was very poor. If someone had taken me and tried to place me in an ESL class, my parents would have said "no thank you, I want my child to learn as fast as possible." This was the attitude of all of the people that arrived in the US at the time I did, after WWII. They had no special classes but learned very fast and well.
If you parents wanted you to be immersed in the language, I respect that. I think immersion, for many people, is the best way to learn. However, this measure would take away the possibility for that choice. Immersion is not the best choice for all students.
I tutor refugees from Myanmar. NO ONE speaks their language (karen). Aren't there ESL classes already immersion classes simply by virtue of no one speaking anything BUT english? What would the difference be between their experience now and the "new" immersion classes?
As the children of career military folks, my siblings and I were immersed in many cultures and languages. My folks were adamant that we live "on the economy". We were always encouraged to avoid the "American Ghettos". While total language immersion is hard work it is with out a doubt the fastest and most effective way to learn a new language.
As a result none of us is afraid of new languages or other cultures. We are much more open than many of our fellow Americans to foreign ideas.
-Jo Haemer Portland oregon
Another issue I have with this measure is the fact that it would contribute to taking away culture away from individuals whose first language is not English.
This is another measure brought to you by Conservative Republicans, the same people who brought us the current world financial crisis, how is that working out for you?
No to Rick Hickey, and the rest of the Sizemoreons; Loren Parks, Jeld-Wenn, and their ilk!
Down down down.... Republicans are going DOWN!
Does it occur to anyone how discriminatory this measure is? If a Spanish or Japanese or whatever-speaking child needs help with English after two years, this measure keeps these children from being educated in the ways they need because we will have decided as a state that we will not educate them. Many people may forget this, but the US does not have a national language. English is the most popular, but it is not our legal national language.
Legislating how teachers teach is always going to be a failer. Everyone learns diffrently. Helping people learn english should be a process decided in a converstaion between the students the parents and the teachers.
Bill Sizemore shouldn't be allowed to go anywhere near the Political process. He doesn't believe that people can make their own choices. Vote no on anything with his name on it.
When discussing ELL or ESL education, it's important to draw a distinction between children who are learning English but have prior education in their mother tongue (typically those from Westernized countries) vs children who have never been educated in their home country (typically those from refugee situtations or countries in poverty). These two groups have vastly different advantages in learning English and being successful students.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT TWO YEARS?
Even if you were to think and accept that immersion is the better solution, what is it about two years that makes this the right number? Or is this just some arbitrary figure that seems appropriate to the authors?
My children (native English speakers) attend a dual-immersion program at Vose Elementary in Beaverton. I love this program and find it a benefit to both English language learners and native speakers who will need to satisfy a second language requirement in high school and college. I am concerned Measure 58 will affect this wonderful and beneficial program.
My cousins moved here from Bosnia when they were in high school. They found that Since they didn't speak Spanish and were not able to get help in their native language, they were able to learn English much faster than the students who had the crutch of being able to talk to others in their native language (Spanish). I also felt the same way when I was learning Spanish and Bosnian.
I don't think we should teach subjects in any language other than English. I also think it would benefit students to not be allowed to speak their native language in school.
It is also inherently unfair to allow teaching subjects in Spanish or other languages when you can't provide that service to all students.
Personally, I just can't trust Bill Sizemore. Who believes that Bill Sizemore wrote this to help kids? The guy cares about himself and his money (sometimes not his money). I'm listening to Otto Schell and Rick Hickey argue about money right now and Mr. Schell is saying that it will cost a lot more money to get kids up to speed in the time alotted and Mr. Hickey is saying that it won't cost that much and I can guess why, because it won't be funded. If you shorten the time frame for ESL services, but don't bolster it, then yes it will "save" money, but at the expense of the kids. Sounds like Sizemore to me! I'm definitely voting "no."
People pay thousands of dollars for full immersion schooling in non-English speaking settings here in Portland (French, Chinese, Spanish-American schools). Does anyone know how those students are doing learning basic subjects in a foreign language? It would be interesting to see a comparative study on how successful learning is for these English-speaking students getting their schooling completely immersed in a foreign language environment.
Why does ESL need legislation? As a professional educator, I am consistently distressed and offended when non-professionals lacking experience in the field want to tell my colleagues and me how to do our jobs from day to day. We don't claim to tell doctors, lawyers, etc how to do their daily work. This is not a regulation issue. Let us use our professional judgement. Yes, every student has a different individual story.
Besides, Bill Sizemore is a brand name, at this point. His ballot measures are consistently harmful to Oregon. It is time for Bill to get a real job. If he wants to learn about our schools, maybe he could get a job at one, and do some real work for Oregonians. What are his initials?
As a Mexican immigrant I can personally speak to the challenges of learning to speak the English language. I guess I was lucky because my school district in California has a great ESL program and we had teachers who cares about us. Having a learning environment that is safe is the most important thing - no matter what. I remember how scared I was the first day - people who spoke English represented what I feared. I wonder if what's at stake with these forced "immersion" classes is that you prime the classroom to ignore the reality of the student. One size fits all education never works. Now that I have received both a BFA and and MFA and teach at the Pacific Northwest College of Art here in Portland - putting my students through the same hoop doesn't work. Having the opportunity to travel abroad lets me realize how anemic our relationship to language is. Not only are our ESL students at issue here but also the English only students - who are being left behind by students around the world who speak multiple language. I was a part of an immigrant culture from Mexico that knew that speaking in English was a means to express the kind of social oppression that a mono-culture can represent - the way we teach our students language primes our view about the true multi-ethnic profile of our country. I wonder how fluent English only speakers truly are. Measure 58 seems to lower the bar for all of us. Our our children, including immigrant children the undereducated "workers" of the future - with no need for comprehensive thoughts or are they the leaders and communicators in an increasingly complex world?
Why do you not have an ESL/Immersion teacher on the program? You leaving out people who are the closest to this issue.
As a professional ESL educator for many years and as a learner of five foreign languages, I advocate for Measure 58. Years ago I was a ESL consultant in Texas for a public school district. What I observed was that in general minimal English was used in classes and that the vast majority of ESL students in grades K through 12 were not being exposed to enough English to succeed in an academic environment after 2 years or even 5 years. As a result, most of the students were in ESL classes for several years and then they had to take special English classes just to upgrade the basic skills.
The key word in this bill is immersion. It works IF there is minimal use of the students' native language. A qualified ESL educator will know how to give student the English to succeed provided classes are small and there is sufficient academic content in the materials used.
Rick doesn't benefit his cause by being obnoxious, rude and sarcastic. Are these required characteristics for Sizemore cronies?
Rick Hickey of OFIR?
It's kind of scary that this is who is advocating for anything that has to do with immigrant children, as his organization has lots of ties to explicitly racist groups. The OFIR website was hosted by New Nation, a racist website. I have heard OFIR members use terms like "wetback" and "spic" at rallies. Additionally, OFIR is connected to national anti-immigration groups with ties to white supremacists.
It seems to me that Sizemore is just trying to ride the current anti-immigrant sentiment to further his attacks on public education.
I am a Spanish-English bilingual attorney that sees every day the vast need for bilingual professionals (lawyers, doctors) and support staff. For this reason, I am a huge proponent of bilingual education. This bill is motivated by discrimination, particularly because it has an exception that states that the time limitation does not apply to English-language speakers. Why? Because experience shows us that a language cannot be fully acquired in a limited period of time and basic education theory shows that not all students learn all subjects on the same timeline.
I have to disagree with the guest that is in favor of Measure 58. He mentioned that in bilingual programs, students only receive 1/2 hour of instruction in English each day. That is not true. I teach in a bilingual program in the Forest Grove district. Our program is a 50/50 program: 50% of academic instruction in English and 50% in Spanish. The goal is that all of our students, no matter their first language, will be bilingual and biliterate within 5-8 years (it does take time!).
My wife is an ELL teacher in Beaverton and has been in Wisconsin and Minnesota for the past 16+ years. She has never allowed Spanish to be spoken in her classroom. First because it is the policy of all of the districts she has taught in to teach english and to do so in a english immersion environment. Second because Spanish is not the only native language of her students. She teaches students from most of the former Russian Republics, African Countries and a number of other areas around the world. There may be some bilingual environments that teach in multiple languages but that is not the focus of ELL programs.
I have noticed that Mr. Hickey keeps mentioning Spanish as the language that is being spoken in the classroom is this an attempt to tie the teaching of english to legal immigrants to America to the "illegal immigration" problem and those darn illegal immigrants.
Rick Hickey complains about failing schools but he and his fellow Conservative Republicans keep cutting taxes so that schools are not properly funded. His policies are the reason that schools have problems. He causes the problem!
OFIR MEMBER RICK HICKEY... WHAT A JOKE!
Please stop trying to damage our families our children are not one size fits all and we will not stand to have our families and children targeted any longer ESL is our right not to mention it has been paid for by our tax money that we unfaily do recieve back like a full fledged american would so let our money go to help our children and as you mentioned it is a burden then just use our tax money for it and it wont be a burden longer
the DATA from educational research shows that ESL teaching works - KIDS LEARN BETTER!
Those who advocate removing it from the schools are living in a post-fact society. Decisions made with disregard for facts are scary, not to mention wrong. Vote to defeat measure 58.
It is clear, but unspoken, that folks behind this bill are backing it in hopes of 'leveling the playing field' between students most likely to grow up dual language (ell students) and native english speakers. In a global economy workers who are bilingual are more valued than otherwise. ELL students LIVE in English immersion, outside of academia. Of course immersion programs are effective, that's not the real issue behind mesure 58, it's the 2 year limit. Blanket measures towards education are NOT effective, ask any educator. This is an ethnocentric, racist-motivated bill and that guy ranting about immersion success and the immersion side of 58 is throughing euphemisms up left and right that scream 'fear of immigrants.' If the intent behind 58 is good, lets take some time to research how to do it right, not just throw something up in haste. NO on 58!!!
What are the other Bill Sizemore measures, and what is the name of the organization that gives the facts of every measure? Is is Stand For The Children? Does anyone know? I believe it is. Check that organization out, and read about all these measures before you vote. Please!! Down with the Republicans...UP WITH EDUCATION AND OUR FUTURE
I wasn't sure how I would vote on this measure but the woman whose first language is English and whose children go to ESL classes ( I can't believe this!) helped me to decide.
If families don't speak or try to speak English at home no am't of classes will help.
We criticize American who live in other countries and live in expat compounds, it works both ways!
My grandparents came from Poland, and tried and eventually spoke English as did all the seven kids.
I am sorry even as a "liberal democrat" I will vote for this measure!!!!!!!
You are an idiot
The following is from Stand For the Children Organization. (Stand.org)
Measure 58: Imposes a One-Size-Fits-All Mandate
For Students and Teachers
Prohibits teaching public school students in language other than English for more than two years.
Bill Sizemore, Alan Grosso, and Russ Walker. Signature
gathering funded largely by Nevada billionaire Loren Parks, who has spent $123,000 to date, making up 88% of total funds contributed.
What This Measure Does
Every child learns at a different pace and has unique needs. Measure 58 imposes
a one-size-fits all mandate to learning English for all students in all schools,
regardless of ability. This measure would take local control of education decisions away from teachers, parents, and school districts. It will also take a half billion
dollars out of classrooms every two years.
Why Stand for Children Opposes This Measure
This limits public school students? access to equitable education, regardless of English proficiency, which conflicts with state and federal law. It targets children of immigrants. Because it contradicts with proven educational methods for English language learners, it creates the risk of increased failure and drop-out rates. It removes
local control by creating a ?one size fits all? approach and does not allow for parental choice in choosing appropriate programs for their children. Because it does not define English immersion, it will create confusion and unforeseen costs when applied to the variety of immersion programs currently in use at Oregon schools.
This measure creates specific learning timetables, but provides no guidance for
educators about what they can do to help non-English speaking students learn English better.
If a non-English speaking student enters the public school system between:
? Kindergarten - 4th grade: the student is limited to one year of English
immersion instruction and must then be taught exclusively in English.
? 5th ? 8th grade: the student is limited to one-and-a-half years of English
immersion instruction and must then be taught exclusively in English.
? 9th ? 12th grade: the student is limited to two years of English immersion
instruction and must then be taught exclusively in English.
To the mother who boasts of having a beautiful daughter:
Why are you calling people who disagree with you "idiots"? Could it be that you yourself are one? (You know, it takes one to know one!)
You claim that Measure 58 would "limit students' access to equitable education". It seems you would rather stick to bilingual education is Spanish and English. What is equitable about that? There are at least two things wrong with that:
a) It treats kids from Spanish speaking countries different than those from all other countries.
b) It may not be all that great for the Spanish speaking kids either, because we basically let them hang on to Spanish for ever, .... thus robbing them of an opportunity to become truly fluent in English.
It seems that most immigrants from Europe, Africa and Asia come to the United States with the intent of blending in and adapting to their new country. But many people from Latin America arrive here with no desire to blend in. What is equitable about that?
There is something basically unfair about treating Latinos any different than people from other parts of the world.
If you support this measure, why are you so concerned about what other people are doing anyway, specifically people who speak languages other then English? All of a sudden we are concerned about the well-being of our fellow humans? Give me a break, if you think this is what motivates supporters of this measure. Give people health-care first if you are so worried about humanity and its prosperity. It is very possible that language instruction could be improved, but this isn't the way to do it, and these are not the people to do it---especially when the motivation is so clearly one of xenophobia.
My 7th grade, native English-speaking son has been in a Spanish/English dual language program since kindergarten. Approximately half the day and half the subject matter is taught in Spanish and half in English. The goal is for all participating students to be bilingual and biliterate. For the program to be most effective, the school tries to maintain a balance of half native English speakers and half native Spanish speakers. This also provides an opportunity for the English-speaking kids to understand first-hand what it is like to not understand the language being spoken. This measure would effectively do away with such dual language programs which benefit both English speakers and Spanish speakers.
I was appalled by some of Rick Hickey's false statements and was on hold for an hour during the show trying to get on to clarify some of the fallacies he's promoting!
First of all, he completely discredited the experiences of the two courageous students who told of their experiences in learning English while also learning rigorous academic content. There are those who have posted blogs who perhaps learned academic English faster, but why impose a time limit if we know that each child learns at a different rate and that language acquisition depends on a complex set of variables such as age of arrival, literacy in the first language, parents' schooling, and also of course QUALTIY OF ESL program?
Yes, there is room for improvement in ESL programs, so why don't we focus on improving those programs instead of completely pulling the rug out from under studetnts and offering NO support which is what Measure 58 would result in.
Hickey mentioned that parents from Portland Public Schools are mounting a civil rights case, but as usual he completely twisted the truth--these parents are requesting greater ESL support for their students so that in fact they can have a fair equal access to education (Supreme Court LAU v. Nichols, 1974).
Hickey also kept confusing his terms and calling all programs "bilingual' when in fact very few programs are bilingual in Oregon (and those that are are wildly popular with long waiting lists). He also kept describing ESL programs as "sink or swim" but he again was twisting facts, Actually, English immersion as proposed by Measure 58 would be the sink or swim method. ESL program on the contrary, are designed to help support students as they transition to mainstream classes. When a student transitions is dependent on a case by case basis. He also falsely claimed that districts keep students in "bilingual" programs (actually ESL programs) so they can keep money. This is totally false, in fact districts are pressured to move students out of ESL programs quickly because they are required to help students make "one years growth in one years time" in English and content areas as mandated by the Oregon Department of Education and the federal government.
Lastly, I have to coments on his false statements regarding his claim about "the failure of "bilingual education". He is basing this comment on ONE book written by Rosalie Porter called "Forked Tongue " which was published in 1997. This book is always promoted as "research" by the English Only/Anti-Immigarnt agenda, but it in fact it has no credibility outside of this group. Keith Baker, prior US Department of Education Secretary has said that Porter's claim of superiority of English-only programs adminsitered in Massachussets had not a "shred of evidence."
Hickey also mentioned that English only mandates had worked in the other three states that have passed similar measures (Masachussets, Califormia, Arizona). However, a recent report, again by the US Department of Education just released their preliminary finding on the effects of these three states, and it found that "there is no visual evidence that these three states are doing any better in educatin their ELLs."" (English Language Learners)
Moreover, the drop-out (push out?) rate for ELLs has increased since the passage of these measure in these stares.
But then again, that may be exactly what Hickey ad Sizemore want--to push out ELL students by letting them sink through their misguided and rigid proposal???
Alejandra you make some excellent points. However, I believe you have not effectively addressed the primary concerns. The concerns is about competition for resources. You cannot reasonably expect to win others to your point of view unless this is address during these difficult times. The fact is, these programs do take a great deal of resources. Citizens are upset they are forced to make sacrifics regarding the education of their children for the children of non-citizens. People are also upset regarding the failure of many in the Latino community to learn English even after being in the country for many, many, years. I hear this all of the time from a wide variety of otherwise socially progressive people. People want to understand. When people do not understand they feel frustrated and become negative or oppositional. It does not help the Latino community when the community label people as racist because they oppose ESL programs and/or react because resources are reduced for their children while hundreds of millions of dollars are used to support ESL and bilingual programs. I do know know a single person who has voiced support for Measure 58. But I know dozens of people who have voiced frustration for the reasons I have given.
Why is the focus almost exculsively on Spanish ? Is it because the other ethnic groups tend to isolate while the Latino community both isolates and interacts with the larger community ?
Every student is different. But we set timelines for each grade with the expectation that students will develop specific educational skills within the time limit set for that grade. Why is bilingual any different ? During these difficult economic times people are afraid and react negatively to what appears to them as a blank check for a group who are not generally citizens.
Personally, I would like to learn and hear more about what the larger Latino community is doing to promote English. Its now possible in many states for a native Spanish speaker to live their entire life in their community without ever needing to speak English. I also believe until the larger community views the overall Latino community as becoming fluent in English that community will always remain suspect as not wanting to become a part of this country and the suspicion will remain with resentment when resources are exclusively directed to this community.
In the United States today, there is an urgent need for the educational system to meet the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students. If The current trends in educational achievement continue there will be millions of mostly poor Hispanic, African, Native American, Asian, and American students who will not receive an education that will empower them to fully participate in society Without aggressive changes to address this inadiquisity in educational achievements the future generation of children it is likely that the social economic stability of the Unites States will be negatively effected. Measure 58 proposes to place a two year limit on providing ESL services to at-risk students. This is a one size fits all solution that has no place in the education system. Measure 58 hurts everyone it will block the educational systems ability to provide needs based education to students, furthermore it limits the teachers ability to teach their students and make educational decisions on their behave. Would we support Measure 58 if it put limits on a doctor?s ability to make medical decisions? Measure 58 is racial educational malpractice and if passed the social economic stability of the Unites States will be negatively affected.
Are we really discussing general ESL or bilingual education? Does the discussion include the needs of, among others, Russian, Bosnian, Somali, Arabic, Chinese, and Vietnamese children, or are we simply talking about Spanish language education? If the latter is the case, then there can be little justification for it. We require immersion in English language classes for the majority of other children; to assume a single immigrant group has special needs necessitates the start of a new discussion.
I automatically vote against any measure Bill Sizemore puts on the ballot - I'm making an exception for Measure 58. I'm voting yes because of my own experience moving across the ocean and suddenly being a student in a new culture with a new language. My siblings and I were not separated from our regular classmates - yes it was tough, we did not receive language help at home, and yes we became fluent. Prolonging separate classes (ESL) can be a not so subtle way of keeping recent immigrants contained instead of integrated, as well as contributing to a self image of "you're not really as smart...e". I work with immigrant families and am eager to find ways for them to achieve their dreams.
Succeeding in school requires more than just learning English. It also requires learning the content that goes with math, social studies, English literature and science.
Kids who are immersed in English-only classes with no extra support (which is what Measure 58 proposes) may learn the basics of English, but they lose 2-4 years of CONTENT instruction while they're figuring out the language. So, these kids are then far behind their peers.
Why not keep them up to speed in content (either through their native language, which happens rarely in Oregon anyway) or through extra support. Then when they're language skills are firmly in place, they're not behind their peers and they can perform at grade level.
Could you go to China and start learning a new subject in Chinese? Of course not. If you wanted to study physics in China, you'd have to first learn Chinese and then learn physics. Wouldn't it be more efficient to study physics in English AND learn Chinese at the same time so that you'd get the knowledge of physics and the knowledge of the language all at the same time? Then you could use your knowledge of physics to help you understand Chinese better.
I don't want kids to learn English at the expense of learning anything else. I want them to learn both English and subject content. That's why I oppose Measure 58.
Look, this ballot measure is RACIST. PERIOD. There are no provisions dealing with the age of the student upon entering a U.S. public school, nor any child with a learning disability. I listened to the program and it sounds to me like Mr Hickey has a personal problem that his own son's TAG program, he feels, is not being properly funded. The fact is that these kids WANT to learn english. Most of them exceed expectations anyway. But for a kid who might need extra time, I think it's a bad idea to cut them off after two years. I think a bilingual culture in the U.S. is fine. I do not like the mentality of this superior English-only imperial, nationalistic view. It's time to wake up and quit denying reality. We have more and more Spanish speakers moving here. Why does this threaten you?
I have a lot to learn about the benefits of ESL, English-only, and structured-English ... etc. I will take a look at the Collier and Thomas research mentioned, and google the topic.
BUT - I have a few reactions to the show.
1) Rick Hickey was so boorish that I suspect his opinions and facts.
Instead of waiting for his turn to speak and then stating any counter argument, qualification, clarification, ... he rudely interjected NO, NOPE, NOT TRUE, ... and you had to struggle to hear what the other guy was saying.
He frequently resorted to sarcasm, or mocking tone of voice, instead of sticking to rational argument. When he said "its not hard folks" in reference to gaining fluency in a 2nd language in freshman year, he not only generalizes from his experience (alleged) to everyone's ability, he mocks anyone who finds it difficult. Shame.
He rambled off into antidote, like some point about buying football helmets at some school that did not use all their ESL funds. We don't need this kind of red herring confusion in good policy debates.
2) I was astounded to hear that "research that begins with theory is suspect". The process of science is that theory generates hypotheses that get tested and then theory is revised if necessary. Researchers do need to be objective, and there is plenty of room to examine the objectivity of any particular researcher (as well as any denouncer of a research report) - BUT, BIG BUT, you do not do research with theory 1st. Mr. Hickey's research methods vocabulary and insight may be quite lacking.
3) We need to distinguish between what is best for society, what is best for the student-citizen, and what is best for the student-scholar. It is good for society to be united by language and kids that learn to speak English better will be able to participate more fully in the civil process - but this may come at not achieving all that can be achieved in some academic subjects. In other words, "speaking good enough", which has civil benefits, may not be the same as reading, writing, and comprehending as well. For a child learning math, or science, or any abstract concept, getting instruction in a primary language may increase scholastic results. So there is a tension between the civil benefit and the academic benefit. (... and someone else has raised the interesting issue of not every primary language can be served. But, if we have a lot of Spanish and Mandarin, do we deny them because we do not have a lot of Croatian?)
Surely, some limit to primary-language instruction is needed, but something other than 1 or 2 years fits all, is likely the best answer. I just doubt Mr. Hickey's motives and flexibility to work out the best solution instead of ramming through what seems to be his limited, and suspect, viewpoint.
I?m an international student from Japan. It?s been five years since I came to the states. Even after five years, I still have hard time to speak in English. The proponents of Ballot Measure 58 seriously believe that those who speak English as second language can learn English within two years? I?ve never taken ESL class in the states, but many of my friends are attending the class. Speaking the second language is pretty hard, especially if you are not fluent. I don?t know how much English can be learned through ESL class, but the thing is that the environment in which not-native speaker can interact with each other is IMPORTANT. No one can be a master without training, and the place where non-native speakers can have the training is the ESL class I believe.
Firt off, anything with Bill Sizemore's name on it illicits an automatic "NO!" from me. But Measure 58 does raise some questions to which I have never been able to find an answer.
1. When I was a child a Polish family moved into my neighborhood two homes downs. No one, as far as I could tell spoke English. The parents almost never spoke to anyone. The two boys (two daughters were never out alone) my age attended my middle school and were speaking English with some ease within 2-3 years. The two boys played with my group after a few months and we helped them.
2. I enrolled my 1st daughter in Spanish immersion in 3rd grade when the program began. When she entered high school she tested out of all of the Spanish classes and dual enrolled at the university where she continued. She has a Masters Degree in Bilingual Secondary Education before getting her PH.D and teaching at a major Eastern university.
3. I social work I have worked with the Spanish population who have lived in the U.S. 20-30 years who do not speak English and request a translator for meetings. Often, not always, teenagers in the family who participated in ESL in elementary and high school also request translators.
4. Some of my friends children who are native English speakers are enrolled in language immerson classes and are quickly speaking the language, especially the younger children.
5. I have new adult friends from Russia, Ukraine, & Croatia who took ESL classes at PCC and are fluent in speaking and writing English in less than two years and especially enjoy the comics. Minor mistakes in written grammar but always getting better.
I do not have any answers, only questions. Something is terribly wrong with ESL in elementary, middle, and high school. I do not know what or why. I do know its not always racism to question ESL.
We are ALL the products of total immersion. When we were born, our first experience was that of total immersion in a new language. And we all succeeded, even though we had no prior knowledge of reading or writing in that language!
Total immersion works, simply because a child's brain is wired to act like a sponge and absorb new languages. We should make use of that ability while we can, because - unfortunately - the ability gradually fades away, probably around the age of 10 or 11, as we grow into teenagers.
My sister and I are both perfect examples. We were both totally immersed in a foreign language, not once , but twice. Both times, it took only a year to absorb the new language. And neither one of us was in any way "special" or "gifted". We both were average students in school, getting by with lots of Bs and Cs.
1. CROATIAN is our mother tongue.
2. SPANISH was our second language. I was 7 and a half. My sister only 4.
3. ENGLISH was our third language. I was 8 and a half. My sister only 5.
Our family moved to Chile for a few years. The first year, we easily picked up Spanish, mainly playing with the kids in our neighborhood, and me also in first grade. Well, they actually promoted me to second grade immediately, because they found out I could already read, write, and count. But, my sister was only in kindergarten, with no reading or writing capabilities, and yet she picked up Spanish easily too. Informally, just playing, ... like a sponge!
The next year, I was placed in an English private school in Chile, where total immersion was the rule. There were lots of local Chileans in that school, but the rule was that we had to speak English all the time, while we were on school premises. All the classes were in English. This time, I was a bit older, and it was a bit more traumatic, but - again - within a year, I became fluent in English.
My sister also picked up English in her second year, but her school was not as strict about it as mine, so it wasn't English all the time. She still picked up the language, but I think it took her a bit longer than a year.
The point is, children will absorb whatever they are exposed to. IF they hear English all around them, and nothing but English, they will easily pick it up. If my mother had come to school with me to translate everything into CROATIAN for me, I would have never become proficient in English. If I had played only with other CROATIAN kids, I would have never absorbed SPANISH, the way I did playing with the local Chilean kids.
Kids from other countries who come to the United States get plenty of their own language and culture at home. If they are ever to learn to be fluent in English, they should be exposed to it 100% at least while they are in school. No special teachers are needed. Just put them in with other English-speaking kids. The more native English speaker around them, the quicker they will pick up the language.
Older kids, who arrive to the US as teenagers, might need some help transitioning into English, since they have already lost some of the ability to absorb a language automatically, and are also faced with having to deal with a much richer vocabulary in their daily classes.
I confess that I got a bit of extra help too, when learning my third language: ENGLISH. The one exception they made for me in that English private school was that I was exempt from having to learn LATIN. During Latin class, I was given an extra dose of ENGLISH language. Even more immersion!!!
TOTAL IMMERSION WORKS. It's the only thing that works. Just think of your own experience with a foreign language in which you were NOT totally immersed. Did you try to learn some French or some Spanish in high school? How fluently do you speak it as a result of that? How can you expect any more than that from kids from other countries who are given only a little bit of English instruction per day?
It's a pity that Bill Sizemore's name has been tied to this Measure, because of his bad reputation. I hate to agree with him. But, the fact is that TOTAL IMMERSION simply WORKS. We humans are wired for it!
English is my second language. I came to this country at the age 26, with an 18 months old son. We lived in an ethnic community for 5 years. In that time, while being involved in the community, and working, I have not been able to learn speaking English, as people around me spoke some curious mixture of old language with English "modifications". I have learned to read and write by reading publications written in English, and used written words to communicate outside of my community. When my son reached the age of five and began kindergarden, he did not know one word of English. Within a very short time (days and weeks) he was speaking English ( his classes were taught in English) and I was learning from him.
This experience confirms my academic knowledge (psychology of learning). We learn new language with a greatest ease before the age 5, and the older we are the more difficult the task becomes. This is due to the patterns of a brain development.
The measure 58 does not take this knowledge under consideration, therefore it might be appropriate for students beyond the first two or three education levels (maybe beyond 7-8 years of age). At the earlier age immersion in the new language is most effective. As foreign speaking students are older and in later grades, they will require longer exposure to the new (English) language, and the Measure will not serve them well either. As it is often observed, forming the question as either-or is not appropriate and will not lead to the best solution.
I consider this measure to be nothing more than bigotry and not even in disguise! That it is so poorly worded is no surprise. What I think is that we should pass a measure inviting Sizemore to BUTT OUT. Oregonians don't want to pay for anything and Oregon Legislators are too fearful to fund even the basics. It has been this way decades or longer. Education is a joke and we deserve every consequence of this failure to fully fund education. So even if this measure does pass how will it be paid for and how will schools demonstrate that these students are achieving?
I am a student teacher here in Oregon and I see a lot of ELL students who are struggling with the current programs. However, it seems that Measure 58 would stifle the abilities of students to feel like their cultures are accepted and appreciated. Even when students become proficient in English, they likely still feel that they can best express their ideas and emotions in their native language. Without ongoing ELL support, students may not have an opportunity to relate their deeper more complex ideas and feelings. One of the great parts of the ELL classes I have seen is simply that ELLs have a safe place where they feel accepted. Children need this foundation in order to learn and if we do not provide it, we cannot expect students to learn English or anything else we teach.
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