Monday, May 03, 2010

Arizona! Motto: It's Not What You Tink

OK let's get off of Arizona's back here folks. Sure they passed a law that means the Hispanicals have to prove they're related to George Washington to stay in the country. Well, more precisely George Washington's gardener, or one of his nannies. Lord knows we don't want no beaners tracing their heritage back to the father of our country. We mean, he's George Freakin' Washington for cripe's sake, not swinging Tommy Jefferson.

Where were we. Oh yeah, unlawful shades of melanin. What's the big deal here? So they have to carry a few extra papers. That can be done with a tasteful personal equipment accouterments such as a nice Hermes Birkin or Manolo Blahniks for the ladies, or an Eddie Bauer Guide Bag or Waterfield Cargo for the gentlemen. Stylish and practical. Sure to be the center of discussion when detained by an officer of the law for walking on the white man's sidewalk while being brown.

See, it's not so bad. It's not like the law orders them to sew little yellow sombreros on their clothes or anything. The Legislature could have done that you know, and it would have been perfectly within their responsibilities because of...umm...terrorism.

Anyway they didn't and it's because they really value their duskier residents. Want proof? Look what their doing to help the little illegal immigrants become real Americans. Well, as real as you can be when you have a permanent tan if you get our drift and we think you do.

In the 1990s, Arizona hired hundreds of teachers whose first language was Spanish as part of a broad bilingual-education program. Many were recruited from Latin America. "At first we thought they all spoke Latin," said Margaret Dugan, deputy superintendent of the state's schools, "Then Miguel, my gardener told me Spanish was the third most popular language in the world so I figured it had to be spoken someplace besides Mexico."

Then in 2000, voters passed a ballot measure stipulating that instruction be offered only in English. Bilingual teachers who had been instructing in Spanish switched to English becuase it's important to have someone only speaking one language in a bilingual classroom, particularly if it's the one the kids don't understand. It's called total immersion, like when you're drowning.

Arizona's enforcement of fluency standards is based on an interpretation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. That law states that for a school to receive federal funds, students learning English must be instructed by teachers fluent in the language. Defining fluency is left to each state, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education said. "That was our first mistake," he added.

The education department has dispatched evaluators to audit teachers across the state on things such as comprehensible pronunciation, correct grammar and good writing. "Grammars? We don' need no steenking grammars," said Dugan. "See. I made a little joke there because accents make things mean pedagogically unsound."

Yeah. And spoken English is real grammatical anyway.

Nearly half the teachers at Creighton, a K-8 school in a Hispanic neighborhood of Phoenix, are native Spanish speakers. State auditors have reported to the district that some teachers pronounce words such as violet as "biolet," think as "tink" and swallow the ending sounds of words, as they sometimes do in Spanish. "We tried hiring this teacher from Massachusetts," Dugan said, "But she kept pronouncing car as 'cahr' and yard as 'yahd.' Never could get her to say 'hey Y'all' right either. Had to let her go."

"It doesn't matter to me what the accent is; what matters is if my children are learning," said Luis Tavarez, the parent of sixth- and eighth-graders at Creighton. "An obviously misinformed parent who doesn't understand the goals of the school system here," Dugan said. "Probably says 'biolet' too."

State education officials deny any discrimination against teachers, saying they are acting in students' best interest. "The last thing these kids need is someone teaching them who understands their culture, heritage and learning needs," said one official who asked not to be named. "You want them saying 'I tink' for the rest of their lives?"

We tinks he doth protest too much.

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