Reeding: Ur doin it rong

I don’t think I’m a racist person. I really, really don’t. I chose to attend Cal State LA because I wanted to be in an environment with different people from many different cultures. When I’d walk to my car from the gym, even after dark, I would be wary of White, Black, and Hispanic men…regardless of race, they’re all bigger than I am. I mostly stay away from the immigration debate, because I think it is very easy to slip further into racism than I’m comfortable with, and because I can’t begin to think of a halfway decent solution. I certainly don’t think a giant wall or fence or whatever will work, nor do I feel comfortable with angry and armed citizens patrolling their own little bits of the border without any kind of government supervision.

Right now, the biggest bone I have to pick with the illegal immigration debacle is the way it’s affecting education. For grade school, I went to Skyblue Mesa Elementary, right up the hill from our ‘rival’, Cedercreek Elementary. Cedercreek was named as a California Distinguished School before I graduated to junior high. Five years ago, the student population was 80% Caucasian. Now, however, the demographic has changed to 20% Caucasian and almost 80% Hispanic, and Cedercreek has become the first school in the Saugus Union School District to be up on probation for not meeting the standards put in place by the No Child Left Behind Act.

Tell me that’s a coincidence.

A girl I babysit is in second grade at Cedercreek. Once a week, her teacher is taken out of the classroom so she can be taught Spanish. Many of her students don’t speak English. Six of the children in that class are only ready 20 to 30 words per minute, when they’re supposed to be reading at least 90 per minute.

I don’t have a problem with kids being given equal opportunities in terms of education. But when illgeal parents are sending their kids to school when they can’t read, can’t speak English, and can’t catch up with the other children in their classes, that takes away from the education of the children who are up to standard.

While it was originally my intention to focus only on children of illegal immigrants, this doesn’t just apply to them. Plenty of children who come from English speaking homes are falling behind, because the parents don’t take the time to teach their kids to read. Kids don’t generally just pick it up on their own. Teaching a child to read is HARD. It isn’t always fun. The child will get impatient, and frustrated, and distracted; more often than not, you’ll want to shake them like a box of Shake N Bake. But because you brought the small and helpless creature into the world, that means it is ultimately your responsibility to make sure it has the information it needs to survive. I was sounding words out when I was two-years-old, not because I’m some prodigy, but because my parents put the time and effort into teaching me.

On the other hand, because I started reading so early, I’m now a big English Major geek. So, if you don’t want a child who can’t imagine a better present than a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, or one who brags about translating Old English, maybe you should just give them another copy of Grand Theft Auto.

One Response to “Reeding: Ur doin it rong”

  1. Andrew Graves Says:

    Very well said!

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