I found your article interesting and wanted to comment on it.

I am bilingual and started my school years as an ESL student, that is, up until the second grade, more or less. As a student, one of the things that bothered me the most, and something that to this day stays vividly in my mind, was the way ESL students were regarded. A student was automatically treated as being behind, and as such was was taught at a very different level than those non-ESL students around them. The subject matter was dumbed down or below grade level.

To me, even as a child this was apparent and insulting, and something I deeply resented it. I asked to be promoted to English-only. Lucky for me, I had parents who were active in my education and sought to make sure I was promoted to non-ESL learning. I should note that I already had reading skills when I started kindergarten and perhaps that made the difference.

I do believe that improving language skills will improve overall performance, and I applaud their attempts. However, it would also help students if teachers and educators in general had more faith in them and dod not treat students as a herd of cattle they need to push through the system. The very concept of “lifers” really indicates a lack of faith in the students and a failure of the system. Why strive when there is no challenge and no one expects anything of you?

And yet, I cannot blame schools with so many failing parents. My parents were involved and made sure that my siblings and I had ample access to books and magazines. They are educated and value education. I question how many of these “lifers” have parents with low education levels or no expectations of their children. Change that and you will see a change in scores. Schools, it’s sad to say, are teaching against the parents. They are encouraging learning against a backdrop of disinterest. Children are receiving mixed messages.

Thank you for the article.

Mayling Garrison (née Pacheco) lives in Tierrasanta.

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