L.A. district preparing to sort students by English proficiency

Oct 22, 2013 by

LOS ANGELES – America is already in danger of being separated into sub-sections by the lack of the one necessary element for a unified society – a common language.

Now the Los Angeles Unified School District has decided to take a further step backward by segregating classes by the level of English that students speak. In other words, those who speak fluent English will be grouped together, while those who struggle will be grouped together.

The change was apparently made due to a complaint from the federal Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which charged the district with failing to provide adequate services to English-learning students, the L.A. Times said.

Some experts reportedly argue that teachers can better focus instruction with students of similar English proficiency. They also claim that it’s easier to teach proper – or “academic” English – in segregated classes.

But many parents and educators are apparently angry over the new policy, arguing that English-learners catch on more quickly when grouped with children who speak fluent English. If the goal is to get everyone speaking a common language, so everyone can communicate and function in a single, cohesive society, their argument makes total sense.

If the goal is to separate groups of people with insurmountable language barriers, then LAUSD is heading in the right direction.

“Kids with little or no English are going to be segregated and told they’re not good enough for the mainstream,” one mother told the newspaper. “Kids learn from their peers, and they’re not going to be able to do that anymore.”

A group of 17 principals recently sent a letter to the district, arguing that “English speakers serve as classroom role models for less proficient peers and that segregating students creates a ‘chasm’ among them as well as ‘communities that are intolerant of those who are different.’”

One might expect school administrators to listen to the principals, since they have daily contact with teachers and students and understand what works and what doesn’t.

But that would be too logical for the top-heavy LAUSD central administration. The protesting principals were apparently told they would be disciplined if they didn’t follow the segregation order, the news report said.

So much for American the melting pot. Those who speak English will go to one corner and those who don’t will be sent to another. Pretty soon we’ll all be grouped into smaller communities that can’t communicate with each other. That breeds mistrust and hostility.

Good going, LAUSD. That’s all we need in our society are more reasons for fellow citizens to turn on each other. We certainly hope school officials know what they’re doing, but we find ourselves joining teachers and parents who think this may be a terrible mistake.

L.A. district preparing to sort students by English proficiency – EAGnews.org powered by Education Action Group Foundation, Inc..

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