Letters to the Editor

Letters: Costs and benefits of education, bilingual and otherwise

Talented teachers must be paid fairly

Re “How do we evaluate schooling?” (Dan Walters, Sept. 18): Dan Walters has a mantra that all things public school stink. Walters’ criticism is about the lack of accountability over state funds for “at risk” districts. Critics, he states, think the extra billions will be squandered on salary increases and other items that don’t directly benefit at-risk kids.

I ask critics who haven’t stuck their wing-tipped shoes into a classroom in 30 years: How do you attract quality educators to at-risk districts without salary increases?

How do you attract quality graduates into credential programs for the measly pay teachers make in relation to other graduate programs? How many schoolteachers do all of us know who put their own dollars to work in the classroom because we do not adequately support the education of our next generations?

Salary increases for teachers aren’t beneficial to education? Really?

David Kuchera, Sacramento

Bilingual education helps kids learn

Re “Do bilingual classes translate to success? Voters will decide” (Insight, Sept. 19): When children get quality education in their first language, they learn more subject matter. This knowledge helps make the English they hear more comprehensible, which results in more acquisition of English.

It is much faster to learn to read in a language the child understands. Once the child can read in the first language, this ability transfers rapidly to the second language.

Good bilingual programs teach subject matter and develop literacy in the first language. They start English-as-a-second-language classes immediately, and teach subject matter in English as soon as it can be made comprehensible. Research has shown that students in quality bilingual programs outperform students with similar backgrounds on tests of English reading.

Stephen Krashen, Los Angeles

Too many English learners fall behind

A tremendous amount of research literature strongly favors dual language and immersion programs for English learners and native speakers of English.

Programs that use two languages are more likely to achieve grade-level English proficiency and academic skills than regular English-only classes. Bilingual programs invariably provide English instruction in the amount and using the methodologies that are most effective with children from non-English backgrounds.

The amount of English instruction is increased congruent to the proficiency level of students. Current law has resulted in a situation where far too many immigrant children are falling behind in English and academic studies.

Proposition 58 will widen the possibilities for schools to offer high-quality programs, while requiring that parents be given adequate information to make informed choices. It is time for Californians to make a decision that will result in students who are better prepared for the language, social, cultural, and academic demands of living and working in American society.

David Dolson, Sacramento

Ceremonies waste school money

Re “Sleep Train Arena ends an era with circus matinee” (Page 3A, Sept. 19): Our high schools have built sports stadiums and performing arts centers. Yet every year, our high schools spend a fortune forsaking their own venues in favor of the prestige of Sleep Train Arena graduations.

Not only is school funding being wasted for these events while their own facilities sit fallow, but parents and friends of graduating students are on the hook for millions more in exorbitant arena parking fees.

I shudder to think what the Kings and Sacramento are going to charge to hold graduations and for parking at Golden 1 Center.

Forget scholarships for education. We’ll need subsidies for graduations. And yet we suffer through the perennial parade of propositions because schools don’t have enough money.

Bill Tubbs, Clay


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