Thursday, October 11, 2012

Is it too much to ask for?

My girls are in a dual language program at their elementary school. They get half of their instruction in English and the other half in Spanish. The classes are divided equally between native English speakers and native Spanish speakers. The goal is for all of them to be fully bilingual by the time they get into high school.

It's not a bad idea. The population of Houston is about 1/3 Latino and that percentage is growing year by year. Being completely fluent in both English and Spanish will serve these kids well once they get out into the real world.

All is not rosy, however. One might think that a native English speaker would teach the English portion of the lesson and that a native Spanish speaker would teach the Spanish portion. Well, by the looks of the test sent home for my oldest daughter (she's been out of school for the last week), the wheels are coming off the bus.
What was the reason because of Louis Braille lose his sight, becoming blind person? 
What was the reason why Louis his second eye vision? 
The reader can infer that Louis Braille, what kind of person was him? 
Mention three different ways or systems have existed to help the blind people to read and write. 
Today, which tool are necessaries to be used by the blind people to help them to read and write? 
What was Louis job before he died, and his students feel for him?
 What are those passages, you ask? It reads like some of the spam comments I receive every night. It might even appear to be website copy prepared by a programmer in India who promised he could get you on the first page of Google.

Nope. Those are actual questions from my daughter's test.

Now I don't mean to pick on anyone but I would think that a basic requirement of an English teacher is to be able to communicate in (I don't know) English. If the person in the front of the classroom can't put together coherent sentences in English, I'm not so certain I want her teaching my daughter how to write.

I'm not in favor of making English the official language of the United States. Those that favor that proposition tend to be the ones who have forgotten that all of our forebears came from somewhere else and that English may or may not have been the language of choice back in the old country. But I do think that a teacher should be well-versed and knowledgeable in the field in which he or she teaches. I don't think that's asking too much.

I mean, if you're in law school you should expect that your professor in criminal procedure has some knowledge of the subject matter. If you're in medical school, it's not too much to ask that your instructor in orthopedics has a working knowledge of the material. Should we expect nothing less from our kids' elementary school teachers?

1 comment:

Sam Prater said...

This is just astonishing. Is this HISD? What are you doing about it? What is everyone else doing about it? Has the teacher been fired yet? If not, why not?

I got a good education in HISD but it was a long time ago. I just can't believe this. Why are public school teachers the only people in society who can't have their performance graded and can't be fired for incompetence? I don't get it.

BTW, I read your post in the Austin paper.