Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Newt and Tucker both need more schooling!

Newt not only doesn't know his history, he also isn't qualified to discuss matters of education. Neither is Tucker Carlson. He can't dance yet that didn't stop him either. At least he was a good sport on that effort and people knew he was just funning around. When this child of privilege is acting as a "journalist" some people might not see the parallels.

Here's a portion of what Tucker had to say, with some portions emphasized by yours truly, on Monday when he "interviewed" Peter Zamora, regional counsel for MALDEF (the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Education Fund) and also the co-chair of the Hispanic Education Coalition.

ZAMORA: Certainly. And there‘s really no dispute about the importance of learning English in this country.

CARLSON: There seems to be.

ZAMORA: There is really not. You know, a study by the Hispanic Center showed 92 percent of Latinos think that learning English is very important. And my, the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, we support the best methods for instructing students in English.
And certainly the English language learners who we are talking here desperately want to learn English, really are into being in the mainstream of American society. And really, bilingual education is the best method of incurring (ph) that that happens.

CARLSON: Well, I think that is indisputably wrong, actually. And let‘s just—before, I mean, I can pull out studies that show that in fact immersion does work better than bilingual education, I‘m sure you have seen them.

ZAMORA: Well, the majority of English language learners are actually native born U.S. citizens. And these are people ... who want to participate in the American society. And there is a clear understanding, and this is a recent study from the Pew Hispanic Center, a very reputable organization, saying that more Latinos than any other ethnic group believe English is essential.
And I think that Newt Gingrich, unfortunately, who is not an education expert, I am a former bilingual education teacher, credentialed in the State of California, that bilingual education is actually the best methodology by which you can teach students English. ...

CARLSON: No, actually, I think that is the wrong analogy. The analogy would be if you are going to learn a foreign language, say, French, you would go to France and speak only French with the people who live there because that is full immersion. That is how you learn a foreign language. If you went to France and hung around Americans you would learn French much less quickly, as you know.

ZAMORA: Certainly. But the education research is really quite clear. And there have been four major studies over the last two years that show that bilingual education is simply the best method if at all...

CARLSON: I categorically disagree. But let me just say. ..

ZAMORA: Are you an expert in education issues? Do you have a credential in education?

CARLSON: Yes, actually, I am an expert on this issue, having.

CARLSON: ...If you are so for teaching people English, and I‘m not sure I believe you, let‘s say you really are though, then why would you be against printing vital documents only in English, wouldn‘t that be the greatest possible incentive to learn English?

ZAMORA: Listen, I was an English teacher in California public schools for several years, that was my job, that was my calling, so it is really kind of inappropriate to challenge me personally on this. ... who are living in this country, who are desperate to participate and who are in schools that are not using the best methods. And part of that is because we have uninformed individuals who are trying to make decisions about education policy that is—Newt Gingrich did that, he is not an expert. ...

ZAMORA: I‘m more concerned of the substance of his comments, where he supports a method of teaching English which has been very clearly shown.

CARLSON: That is a total crock.

ZAMORA: I don‘t consider you to be an education expert.

CARLSON: I don‘t consider you to be one either if you disagree on that point, what I think is very clear.

ZAMORA: And what are you basing that upon, just your gut instinct?

CARLSON: No, not my—sorry, I‘m being told we have to go. ...

When the going gets tough, Tucker gets going. Reckon he has a signal? Mr. Zamora was great to ask if Tucker is merely operating from his gut instinct. That's conservatism isn't it? Just a "gut feeling" on so many principles. Evidence be damned. And if you need some there's usually some wingnut welfare to provide at least enough cover to justify pretty much any position.

I suppose I ought not to expect much from either Newt or Tucker. They are just smart enough where foolishness ought not to come so easy yet their arrogance trips them often. Their behaviors and attitudes are representative of so many on the right. They simply know it all. They are rarely interested in a discussion or even hearing anything beyond what fits in their views. They get to just claim the truth because they think it is the truth.

The bottom line is that immersion hinders the learning of the content until the language learning gets up to speed. Yes, Tucker, pure immersion might be great if it is just about learning the language yet even then it still has to be reciprocal for at least one person in the process. Ideally, we'd have some sort of a reciprocal or dual approach, while always learning the content, yet the resources in teachers and ... just aren't there. More importantly, there is no "one size fits all" approach to learning. I know the pols and pundits struggle with this yet step in a classroom for longer than a photo op and you'll understand quickly. There's also some social justice involved here. Do you just leave those folks not speaking English out of the learning and decision-making processes? Tucker and Newt might yet most Americans are prepared to give young people and new immigrants an opportunity to get up to speed. Peace ... or War!

No comments: