Polski3's View from Here

Quote of some personal revelence: "Is a dream a lie, that don't come true, or is it something worse?"

Saturday, July 29, 2006


I hear US Secretary of Education Mrs. M. Spellings (AKA: The Queen of All Testing or something like that....ask EdWonk) wants to address issues with the education of ESL students. On the surface, this sounds like a good idea. These children of immigrants may need more assistance in learning the English language skills they need to be educationally and economically successful in mainstream US society.

But, if the Feds grant funds for ESL education, what strings will be attached by the heavily lobbied Edcrats in Washington DC.? Being a federal thing and tied to educational funding, will this become a mandate to offer bilingual education to students in California, even though the majority of voters recently rejected Bilingual Education in California?

In my experience around ELL students, SO much of what happens with student advancement in English language skills depends on the student and the home they live in. In my observations and experiences, far too many lack the drive or desire to make the effort to learn the English language skills that can help propel them out of the lower socio-economic-educational muck that too many of them are living in. IMO, the teachers and schools cannot do it all. It does not matter what program is offered them at their schools, if the student and their family do not buy 110% into it, the students won't be very successful. From what I have seen over the years, those students who are from non-English speaking homes who do succeed do so because of a number of factors: it is expected of them by their parents, the expectation that they WILL go to college someday, their parents often have a good education themselves and expect their children to acquire a good or better education, their parents have taken the time to attend school conferences and learn how the US educational system works and parents who actively participate in their children's educational opportunities (monitoring homework, modeling reading and value for education, getting their children involved in healthy extra curricular things, etc.). Children without both parents, whose parent(s) cannot effectively conduct themselves in English and who are not even attempting to learn English, children who are taken out of school to babysit younger siblings or other relatives, children who miss school for weeks at a time due to returning to Mexico to visit family, children who have parent(s) who cannot or will not attend school conferences or educate themselves about how the system works here in the USA. Lets be honest here, the vast majority of these children are already doomed to stay in the lower socio-economic-educated level of society. They will forever work minimum wage jobs, have a low standard of living, and not be able to provide much for their children. So the cycle continues. Or, they join gangs and make this country a worse place to live and end up being a drain on tax dollars to pay their various expenses (emergency health services, prison, welfare....)

Here in California, I really believe there are an expanding group of people in power who rely on having a large, uneducated, functionally illiterate group of people to claim as their supporters. These "jefe's," as I shall call them, will occasionally toss their base supporters a bone or two. Many of these people are comfortable with this, because it is very much like how things worked in their homeland. Heaven forbid their supporters become educated and start thinking for themselves, they might start wanting the whole steak, not just an occasional steak bone. So, the 'jefe' group, wants bilingual education programs because these programs, along with the societal problems that go with the vast majority of children who would/are in bilingual programs, DO NOT WORK. Look at the record for California bilingual education for the past 25-30 years.....it is SAD.

So, IMO, throwing more money towards bilingual education, will not bring up test scores. To bring up test scores, you need the student, parents, schools, teachers and community to do the job. Schools and teachers cannot do it by themselves.

Thanks for reading my blog! I appreciate your comments!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Summer break, so far.....

As the few of you who pop in here on occasion have noticed, I haven't been blogging much. I really don't want to think too much right now.....But, here is a bit of what I have been up to, in no particular order.....

Taking my boys to the summer reading club activities at our local library.

playing games on line.....GO, Chess and Mah-Jong

Keeping an eye on my boys while they splash about in our seasonal backyard pool.

Staying indoors and trying to stay cool....today it is about 115 degrees.

Trying to find a hotel/motel room in San Diego at the last minute (my wife
and I are going over for a couple of days while the boys are at summer camp.)

Trying to find some new living room furniture. We are replacing "my" sofa.
I bought it Colorado in 1987 when I taught in Arizona.

Piddling around with some of my other hobbies and interest.....philately,
conflict simulation gaming and genealogy.

Reading. I have a huge pile of stuff to read.....Currently reading "The Last
Templar" by Raymond Khoury, previously read, "Darkness, take my Hand" by
Dennis Lehane, and I am not sure what is next to read. Also reading through
a big pile of magazines.....National Geographic, Archaeology, Armchair General,
Sunset and Linn's Stamp News to name a few. Just received today, Steven
Saylor's "A Gladiator only Dies Once," George McDonald Fraser's "Flashman on
the March" and Andrew Greeley's "Irish Cream" (that one is mostly for my wife,
but I'll read it too.)

Looking at the big pile of unorganized "stuff" in the study and thinking about
what to do with it/about it.

Starting to think and plan for where to take the family for our summer
vacation. I already have a room reserved AT Grand Canyon for one night,
but the question is, do we stay around Flagstaff or go on to southern Colorado
too ? It is mostly a question of money and car space. We bought a new car
shortly after son number one (of two) was born, and it just doesn't have the
room that it used to have. I'd like to take the boys to visit Mesa Verde and
my wife to the San Luis Valley of Colorado (her grandmother was born there....
one of the old Spanish families of NM/Colorado).

As little yard work as I can....

So, what are you doing this summer?

Thanks for reading my blog! I welcome your comments.