Thursday, September 15, 2011

Obama Administration Protecting Teachers Who Can’t Speak English

America has no official language, but predominantly we are an English-speaking nation. Thus, it makes sense that our teachers should speak English fluently for the sake of removing any barriers to our children grasping the instruction offered.

But the Obama administration doesn’t want teachers who can’t speak English fluently to be fired, arguing that it’s discriminatory to Hispanics and other non-English speakers. Which makes me wonder, what about the students who do speak English? They don’t matter?

Public school teachers with unacceptable English pronunciation and grammar are being protected by the Obama Administration, which has forced one state to eliminate a fluency monitoring program created to comply with a 2002 federal education law.

Singling out teachers who can’t speak proper English in American schools—funded by taxpayers, no less—discriminates against Hispanics and others who are not native English speakers, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). As a result it violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the teachers must remain in their current position.

Unbelievable as this may seem, it’s a true story reported this week by Arizona’s largest newspaper. Ironically, the state launched the fluency monitoring program to comply with the bipartisan-backed No Child Left Behind Act, which requires states to create standardized tests that show public school students are reaching proficiency in core subjects like English, math and science.

With only a small proportion of low-English proficiency students (reading between the lines they are referring to illegal immigrants) passing the state’s standardized reading test, Arizona education officials started to look at the teachers in those classrooms. They found a common thread in dozens of districts throughout the state; many instructors don’t speak proper English and, in fact, teach in Spanish, using Spanish-language materials. Some have “unacceptably heavy accents” that causes them to mispronounce words. Others use poor English grammar.

I’ve no particular love for No Child Left Behind. I’d argue that the one-size-fits-all federal policy is an affront to state’s rights. Education ought to be a local issue, governed by parents and school boards.

That said, one of the objectives of that policy is proficiency in the English language. How can we expect that students be proficient in English if their teachers aren’t proficient in English? The Obama administration is fighting, expending our tax dollars along the way, to saddle our kids with teachers who can’t speak properly.

Absurd, and exactly why we need school choice in this country.