Dozens of people from Sherman Heights turned out to a community meeting Thursday night where teachers and parents protested the recent reassignment of Edward Caballero from the soon-to-open Sherman Elementary School to Jerabek Elementary in Scripps Ranch.

They plan to flood the next San Diego Unified school board meeting to push Superintendent Terry Grier and the school board to reverse the decision.

Caballero’s reassignment followed a dust-up among school board members over the school’s planned dual language immersion program, in which students split the school day between English and Spanish. Administrators say the bilingual program is still planned, but Sherman Heights parents want Caballero back to lead it.

Readers have been calling and sending me tons of e-mail about bilingual education and their opinions. Like school board member Luis Acle, some fear that bilingual teaching could prevent Spanish-speaking students from learning English.

I got an interesting perspective last night from a high schooler who said she nearly lost her Spanish — and her ability to communicate with her mother — when she went to English-only schools. Isabel Perez is a Clairemont High School student whose mother speaks only Spanish. She picked up basic phrases but didn’t gain fluency in the language until she took a high school Spanish class. She wished that a bilingual school had existed for her.

“I knew a little, but not much” as a child, Perez said. Her Spanish-speaking mother was working multiple jobs and Perez was often with bilingual babysitters who only spoke English to her, believing it would ensure her success. “I’d cry because I couldn’t speak to my mom. Other bilingual kids had to help me.”

Caballero’s reassignment “offended” Perez.

“He worked really hard for someone else to take his place,” she said.

Thoughts on bilingual education? Don’t hesitate to e-mail me about it.


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