Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger stood before an auditorium filled with Latino journalists about a month ago at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists annual conference, and was asked what could be done to improve the academic performance of Latino students.
Hmmm, let's see. He could have tackled any of an array of problems plaguing our school system: the lack of resources for teachers, high student-to-teacher ratios, the lack of academic counselors to guide students, or the dearth of advanced placement courses in schools that serve low-income and minority students.
No, instead our governor chose to wag his finger at Spanish-language television and newspapers.
"You've got to turn off the Spanish television set. It's that simple. You've got to learn English," Schwarzenegger told the audience. "I know that when I came to this country I did not or very rarely spoke German to anyone."
Of course, immigrants should learn to speak English. Who can argue with that? The problem I had with the governor's comment is that it didn't indicate any understanding of the realities facing immigrant parents.
In the eyes of Santa Ana resident Victoria Zaragoza, the governor was simply dodging the real issues, such as the need to teach immigrant parents to navigate the school system...
...One program that Zaragoza has found has made a tremendous difference in Santa Ana is the statewide and state-funded Community-Based English Tutoring, or CBET, program. The program offers free English classes and tutoring skills to adults with limited English proficiency so they can help their children succeed in school.