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Wednesday, July 9, 2008 | I would like to thank your newspaper for covering this important community concern. I am proud to say that community organizers were able to mobilize more than 150 parents, teachers, children and community members to the San Diego Unified board meeting on Tuesday July 8, 2008. We were able to make history by uniting different barrios and communities in support of Sherman Elementary parents and community members. The school board unanimously voted to reinstate Edward Caballero as the principal for Sherman Elementary. This school will have a dual immersion program that values both English and Spanish. It will be a model program that we will want for all our schools where we have a large English-learner population.
We need to provide a quality bilingual program for students south of Interstate 8. We need to demand quality programs for our children in our local schools. There is no reason why our children should have to leave local schools in search of better educational opportunities in charter schools or magnet schools. Those same programs need to be provided in our communities. Parents need to know that being bilingual is an asset and that their children do not have to lose their primary language.
In high school and in college it’s necessary to learn a second language. In today’s global society it’s important to communicate with others in more than one language. It’s important that parents know that they can request a waiver to place their children in a bilingual classroom. They need to know that they need to have 20 waivers per grade level in order to open a bilingual classroom. It is also crucial to know that there are bilingual educators with Bilingual Crosscultural Language in Academic Development credentials, myself included, who are more than willing to work in bilingual classrooms. Everyone who lives and works in California and in the southwestern United States should know English and Spanish, not just upper-middle class children.
I am the secretary for English Learner Advisory Committee, and I support the decision to reinstate Mr. Caballero at Sherman Elementary. Thank you for your attention to this important issue.