i agree with this lady because when it comes to the law any thing said and written down can be review as wrong such as : that's not what i meaned.....
By Matt Coker
By R. Scott Moxley
By Charles Lam
By Nick Schou
By Gustavo Arellano
By Gustavo Arellano
By Steve Lowery
By R. Scott Moxley
DEAR MEXICAN: I'm a Spanish court interpreter in Santa Barbara, California; I've also worked in Los Angeles courts. I just read your column regarding the promotion of learning and practicing English by Latinos in the U.S. Generally, I agree with your view. But my question is, why can't we also promote the use and practice of PROPER SPANISH in this country? One only needs to take a stroll through the many Latino neighborhoods throughout California and witness the signage on businesses and nonprofits alike, with awful misspellings and grammatical errors—or flip through the pages of community periodicals, or view the commercials on U.S. Spanish television and see the same linguistic garbage!
But that is not the worst of it. What about the legions of '"bilingual'" service professionals who work in private and public agencies and speak and write substandard Spanish? Many of these "professionals" are just taken at their word when they assert they grew up speaking Spanish, their biliteracy never truly tested. Sadly, this is the case with most Chicanos, and even native Latinos who neglect their Spanish literacy in favor of awkwardly assimilating into a forced English. Their arguments for using improper Spanish are disingenuous: "Mexican immigrants won't get the big words," or "Sometimes, there aren't translations for big words or concepts." The fact is that these "professionals" project their own linguistic incompetence and intellectual indifference when they use Spanglish or other phonetic contrivances in dealing with the Spanish-speaking community. English is the only official language in the U.S. (something we are constantly reminded of), so our Spanish can only be based on something just as official. Why is Spanish not respected as an established foreign language? Why is it consistently dumbed down?
As a court interpreter, it's my duty to translate complicated legal terminology every day. It's unethical for me to lower the register and use words such as tíquete, corte, probación and felonía when the proper words are boleta de tránsito, tribunal, condena condicional and delito grave, respectively. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the public I work with understands and appreciates my formal usage. Such standards should apply to any field. I've come to realize that the human experience is universal: There is a veritable translation for everything! Moreover, it's actually impossible to direct a translation to a certain group or audience, as the only material that the translating agent has to work with is the source language, English. Walter Benjamin argues this point quite well in his essay, "The Task of the Translator." Apart from the academic shortcomings, this practice also promotes a negative stereotype: Those dumb Mexicans are too illiterate to understand.
Finally, I must ask: Do Latino immigrants really need to master English? Isn't it possible to create capital and business opportunities, to create communities, in a strictly Spanish-speaking context? Many major corporations already attempt to cater to our market, the largest ethnic group in the U.S. Other ethnicities do the same, don't they?
Hasta la Madre en Sta. Bárbara
DEAR WAB: Usually, I ask readers to chop down their preguntas as much as possible—we can't regulate our borders, but we can sure as hell protect against run-on sentences—but yours was an eloquent-enough rant to sneak in, and it raises many interesante points. As a court interpreter, you know the difference between legal and colloquial English, so I suggest you treat Spanish the same—I doubt you ask for prayer when demanding your breakfast bill. Besides, what kind of a boring world would we live in if proper language governed how we spoke? That's right: France. And of course Latinos should learn English—remember, it's the bilinguals who'll rule the world, and the monolinguals who'll get left behind. Just look at what's happening to gabachos in our global economy. . . .
i agree with this lady because when it comes to the law any thing said and written down can be review as wrong such as : that's not what i meaned.....
So many Mexican people try to defend why they shouldn't have to learn or speak proper Spanish. "it's not where I'm from", "I speak Castillian.", "Then my friends won't understand me on Facebook."
I used to be a "proper Spanish" snob having been raised in Mexico City and moved to the US young enough to learn good English. My perspective changed when two things happened. First, I read "La Otra Cara De America" by Jorge Ramos and then I started a job in a bilingual team. This team was made up of 2 people from Mexico City, 2 from Northern Mexico, 3 from Peru, 1 from Venezuela, 1 from El Salvador, 2 from Puerto Rico, 3 Hispanic-Americans, and 2 from Spain. When we wrote policies, we had to lock ourselves in a conference room and debate specific words to use. Oftentimes, we could not understand each other. My point is that Spanish is beautiful because it is a living language. We all adopt and adapt words from our different cultures. We are on the verge of a new dialect being born and as long as there are immigrants coming to America, Spanglish will continue to grow and be accepted.
Only the truly un- or under-educated person would consider Shakespeare a bastion of "proper" English. He played with, dissected, and punned the hell out of the language. He even invented words, many of which have now become part of our vernacular. He was an iconoclast of English. Go to college, or at least consult your dear leader, Internet. You wouldn't have to even get out of your chair to do that. Sí, usted puede! ¿Por qué no?
It is difficult to ask people to speak formal or proper Spanish when they have never actually heard it or learned the language in a formal setting (including literacy). We are stuck with Spanglish as long as Spanish speaking people do not have the opportunity to become educated in the language. Dual immersion programs which focus on literacy is one way to help children learn to speak their native language properly, but sadly, they are not widely offered and when they are, monolingual people (yes, dumb Americans) see them as a crutch for Hispanics rather than a unique and wonderful opportunity for children to become bilingual and biliterate.
One thing you have to consider, the Spanish spoken by most people from Mexico that they come from rural areas for Mexico. were most have don't have a formal education ,That's why they speak the way the do.
That is such a generalization. A ''formal education'' does not make up the entirety of someone's ken. People find different ways of acquiring knowledge. My grandmother in Chihuahua never went to school, and never had a job: despite of this, she is able to read and write letters, among many other things.Conversely, I have met some serious ''burros'' who have advanced degrees and everything!The fact is that there is no uniform bad or dumb Spanish,, just an infinity of mistakes made over time. So any attempt to use dumb-down Spanish can never be for the benefit of Mexicano or Latino immigrants, because their backgrounds are infinitely varied.
I agree with you, Lechon. I admit that things got out of hand with CE, and for that I apologize. Did you notice I did NO name-calling for this last post, nor did I address the aforementioned person anymore.Can YOU concede any of my points, though? You seem to be a sensible, honest person.Now, it is true that communication is the main goal. Do you understand what I'm trying to communicate?
Thank you SB, I also apologize for letting things get out of hand. The point I was trying to make is that the same way one can not assume that a Mexican would not understand an upper register Spanish, one cannot assume that a person that a person who speaks "chicano" Spanish, either by choice or because it maybe the only Spanish they know, is uneducated or is making the assumption that "Mexicans are too dumb to understand". Unless of course that is what they said, in which case, they really must be a pendejo... But agreed Lechon, I heard Texas State senate passed a law allowing officers to ask people for their immigration status. I guess I'll be going to jail, because I refuse to give into this ridiculous *J&@##^&@.....
This is not about being custodians of Cervantes, Don Quijote, or Spanish from Spain. In México alone, there is an ample and sufficient collection of literature to define a Spanish that goes well beyond mere regionalism. Carlos Fuentes, anyone? Indeed, it is now the most populous Spanish-speaking country. Mexico has some of the best written laws in the Spanish-speaking world-- despite being beset by corruption. Yes, it is ''Castellano'', but Castellano's Mexicanization has moved well beyond regionalism. We can draw from México and many other countries to promote a common, well-spoken Spanish that is readily understood. I believe the role of the Royal Spanish language Academy, and it's sovereign affiliates, is exactly that! The U.S. (read: North American) affiliate only promotes true bilingualism, and does not attempt to ''create'' a new Spanish.This is NOT about attacking Chicano Spanish, if there even is such a thing. I think many Chicanos would take umbrage at having ''Chicano'' juxtaposed to the word ''Spanish''. Of course it is fun to be creative with language; slang is fun. But the fact is that Spanish is still a foreign language. In a professional setting, what is the virtue of an anti-educational, dumb-down Spanish?Again, I ask: IN OUR TIMES, WHO WOULD THINK TO ADDRESS AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN IN JIVE OR EBONICS? How insulting is that?What is the difference here?It is absolutely impossible to determine the individual ken of each and every Mexican and Latino immigrant! This is why you can't direct a translation DOWN to them, because this practice would be based on conjecture and prejudice. One of the elements of the Chicano civil rights movement was the issue of Language Rights. Access for the mono-lingual Spanish speaker. Among other things, this movement called for the need for a Spanish Court Interpreting program, which started in Los Angeles in the early 70s. As time went on, researchers and academics have been developing a more formal practice that uses true language equivalents, in the legal realm and otherwise.
America is the only Spanish-speaking country that does not have a representative in the real academia española, so our way of speaking will not be recognized as "correct" until we get some words in the dictionary. I, for one, think that our regional language, chicano, calo, Spanglish, etc., is a beautiful display of all the different influences on our language. Archaic Spanish, southern American English, Czech, German, Yiddish, etc. how can you NOT love it?? It's not dumbing it down if that's what the people Speak, and Yes there are Americans who don't Speak English, Yes born in America.....So stop being so critical of your fellow raza an appreciate our differences :)
Seriously, everyone: stop with the excuses and justifications!The only reason ''bilingual'' professionals use Spanglish or dumb Spanish is because that's all THEY know! Then they attempt to save face by claiming that ''raza'' won't understand the big words or concepts.Many Chicanos and Latinos who work with the Spanish-speaking community have no business doing so-- for fuck sake, many of these hacks get bilingual pay or premium pay!As far as I'm concerned, whatever elitism I supposedly exhibit is overshadowed by the insulting way that Mexicanos and Latinos are spoken to, assumed to not even know their own language!
And by the way, I know Chicano Spanish because of where I grew up, and I know Castilian Spanish because that's what I got my degree in, I also know some regionalisms from different parts of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Colombia, Spain, Guatemala, etc. because I have both friends and have had students from all of those places. If I were to go back to my home town and speak only "correct Spanish" there are many words that no one would understand. I know this for a FACT because I have done it before and everyone looked at me like I was crazy, even my aunts and grandparents who ONLY speak Spanish. I'm not going to cruise into town and be so stuck up to say I'm going to speak castilian Spanish even if no one understands me because I'm right and everyone else is wrong.... And furthermore, no one needs an excuse or justification to speak their own language. What's the matter with you, did your boss refuse to bump up your pay for being bilingual, did some who speaks "common" Spanish beat you out on a job and that's why you're bitter?? If so, maybe it was your personality...You should work on that...
''what the people speak?'' Really?! What ''people'' are you talking about? How can you or anyone define a ''people'' and direct a translation to them? That's called a STEREOTYPE! You can't, then, argue that we should respect differences, when you presume to know what people will or will not understand.Raza and people will speak whatever they want on the street, at home...at the public bazaar, in bars. And, yes, slang and regionalisms are fun, but in a professional settings (not just in court), we need to be more responsible.Seriously, everyone,
Mire mijita......Yes really!!!!! There are people who speak "that way". And no stuck up bully, castilian wanna-be, or ignorant white person claiming that if we all went back to Spain no one would understand us is going to change that. It's not a stereotype if it is the truth, now is it? We have been here long enough that we are entitled to have our own form of Spanish. I never claimed that EVERYONE spoke that way, but there are a lot of people who do. While you're at it, why don't you write the real academia española and tell them they need to delete all of the latin-american regionalisms as well, because they're not professional, since according you regional dialtects are dumb not professional. Go tell that in Spain too, where there are several different forms of Spanish, including Catalan which is REALLY different....So for fuck-sake, if you can't respect that every region has it's own beautiful language, at least respect that we are all entitled to our own opinions and translate this: Hasta la verga puta madre.....Seedy enough for you?
"half-assed shit that some US Chicanos,Latinos and Hispanics insist on using", "dumbed down Spanish"", are those not your words about Chicano Spanish? Didn't you claim that Calo is only appropriate for bars and public bazaars? Hmmm, who's forgetting what they're arguing? If you had even bothered to look at the latest copy of the dictionary by the real academia española, you would see that each word has the many different things that a word can mean in which country, except in the United States, of course. And the proper Spanish that you keep harping on IS Castilian Spanish, look it up....But why should I waste my time trying to convince someone who has obviously not studied morphology (and probably not Spanish either, I guess translating machines DO work). BTW- a pendejo is a pubic hair, so I guess a pendeja is a female pubic hair. Personally, I can't tell the difference, but with the orifice you speak out of being so close to pendejos (and pendejas alike) I guess it's easier for you to tell the difference.
I never mentioned anything about the invalidity of Chicano Spanish. This isn't about Chicano Spanish. It's about respecting the great majority of Spanish-spaeakers in the US, in professional settings! It is a fact that the ONLY official language here is American English. We can have fun with Caló and other slang, but in professional settings, we should be more responsible. There is a veritable, common Spanish that can be understood, that doesn't have to include erroneous words and grammar. It is a stupid and insulting assumption to make: that Mexicanos won't get their own language.Do you even know what you're arguing anymore, you fucking DUNCE??
Puñata & ojete are two very colorful Chicano words that come to mind while thinking of you. You are not talking about language rights, you're talking about the invalidity of Chicano Spanish. You're obviously not so proud to be Chicana if you can accept regional Spanish from other countries but not your own. But for real, this is getting old already, so callate el hocico already, or should I say callate el ojete?
self-hating hispanic? What the fuck are you talking about? I'm talking about language rights for Mexicanos and Latinos in this country! Anything Hispanic in this country? When did I say that? I consider myself Chicano, brown and proud, PENDEJA! Look at the history of Chicano Literature, and you will see formal, common Spanish.You clearly have NO idea what you're talking about. You have made so many asinine assumptions: that's what talking out of your ass means.
Oooh, looks like I hit a nerve. Jajajajaja. So are you a Vel-AS-coo-is, or a Goo-tee-AIR-is? I know it may be hard to believe, especially for someone with a personality like yours, but yes I do know them ALL. And the same way that other countries have a rich literary history in Spanish, we are headed in that direction, we maybe the "baby" of Spanish speaking countries, but there are writers who write in our beautiful language of the borderlands... If it seems to you that everyone except for you is speaking out of their ass, maybe you have mistaken which orifice you are speaking out of. And I'm getting off of my soap box because no amount of arguing is going to convince a self-hating hispanic american that anything hispanic from this country is good. For that, mijita, you need therapy.
It's a good thing you're getting off the ''soap box'', because you only seem to be talking out of your ass.You bring up the history of racism toward Mexicans, and the shame some ''hispanics'' feel in speaking Spanish. Well, you seem to begin to understand why Spanish has been dumbed down in this counrty. It would behoove us to reverse this trend, much like other advances since the Civil Rights movement.
So, Chrissy...you happen to know all 13,044 people in Robstown? And you happen to know their entire ken, do you?Does Robstown have a court? If it does, wouldn't it be part of Nueces County? I just looked at its website. It looks like standard, professional American English to me.By the way, American English is not a dialect. (Who said anything about the Queen's English?) Do you even know what a dialect is? The Royal Spanish Academy does include whole dialects, although each country will accept regionalisms, which are NOT dumb-down versions of Spanish, they are simply neologisms within the language that fall within its syntactical, grammatical framework. Who said anything about Castilian Spanish? Every country from Mexico to Argentina has a rich literary history, which can be enjoyed by anyone who takes the time to learn proper Spanish.The Royal Spanish Academy of North America (which covers the US) uses proper, standardized Spanish. In fact, they promote the proper, TRUE bilingualism...not some half-assed shit that some US Chicanos,Latinos and Hispanics insist on using.
I'm fixing to get off my soap box, but it needed to be said that you should be happy that some chicanos speak any type of Spanish. Do you know what happened to kids who spoke Spanish in school in my parent's school days? They were given corporal punishment, their mouths were washed out with soap.. And there was nothing their parents could do. Would you teach your children Spanish if you knew that was going to happen? I wouldn't be so concerned with criticizing people for speaking our regional Spanish as with the people who are so ashamed of being hispanic that they won't even pronounce their own names right.. "Sell-AY-zer"for Salazar, "MAR-tin-is" for Martinez, etc....
Well i guess that my entire home town is a stereotype....And yes I do know EVERYONE in my hometown, Robstown, TX homegirl, look it up...And I'm sure there are many other towns across the USA that are just like it. And if you were to get a job in the court in Robstown, you would need to know the "language of Robstown" to get by, just like any lawyer or doctor or policeman in the area knows it. Many of the words here are not in any dictionary, yet, professional or not, people understand them and use them in both home and professional settings. Like I said, it's not a stereotype, it's just the way it is. And who determines what regional dialects are "proper" or not? The representatives in the Real Academia Española, who put the regional dialects from their own country in the dictionary. Why should we adopt someone else's regional dialect as our own, when we already have one. When people go to court speaking English, do you expect them to speak the queen"s English? After all it is the "official" "proper" English. But why should Americans speak the queen's English when we have American English? American English is a dialect in its own right with many variations, and I'm sure you don't walk down the street calling people stupid because they don't speak like the English. But yet you will criticize Spanish speaking people from the USA for speaking "American Spanish" instead of Castilian Spanish. So you tell me how your argument holds water, because I haven't figured it out yet.
''There are a lot of people that do...'' So what does ''a lot of people'' mean? How would a bilingual professional know when to speak proper Spanish as opposed to Spanglish?And by the way, mijita...there is a way to speak common, plain Spanish without dumbing it down. There is also a higher register, college Spanish. Moreover, there is also nomenclature, jargon, and specialized Spanish for different professions and areas of study. Across Latin America, of course there are regionalisms, some of which are proper, some are correct.As a court interpreter who works with mostly Mexican immigrants, I will use mostly Mexican legalese to translate legal terms and concepts. As I said in my letter, 99% of the time, the public gets it! They really do!Get a grip, girl: I'm not talking about the Spanish we speak on the street or to our friends and family! I'm talking about the dumbed down Spanish that is used by public and private agencies to address the community.I have had my fun with Slang and Spanglish, too...but that's not the point here.NO ONE needs me to respect the way anyone speaks. I'm not about to police language in casual conversation. I'm talking about profesional responsibility.You can argue about anecdotes, but the fact is your theory is based on stereotype. Your home town? Really?! Do you know everyone in your home town? Your home state? You know for a fact, huh?
I was interning in Corpus Crispy, TX and sat in on a murder trial where the court interpreter translated the defense counsel's question "And then what happened in the driveway?" as "Y entonces que paso en el driveway?" I had to leave the courtroom briefly to not disturb the trial with laughter. Over time, I have come to believe that the deep structure of language that is the communication of meaning is much more important than the superficial structure of the form of the words we use to get our meaning understood. The witness clearly understood the question and answered it quickly.
Dude! Texicans are the worst!! I visited my girl once in South Padre Island, the first thing i say was a sign for a car wash "washetaria" followed by others like "wateria" "shoeteria" and when i asked for directions from some kid on the street i was instructed to going straight till i went over the train "trackas" !!!
I hate TEXICANS!!! scum of the earth!!
The interpreter probably did exactly what he should have done, which is to leave the word in English, if he doesn't know how to formulate a proper translation into full Spanish.But, wait a minute....Richard, it seems that you are arguing by presuming to actually know what the witness has understood. How do you do that? How do you know this witness wouldn't understand or would understand anything? A witness could have numerous reasons to flaunt or hide his ''understanding'' of a word. It's not up to us to just presume and speak Spanglish, and then attempt to make the argument later: ''Oh, he understood''. That's not the point.There is no official U.S. Spanish, only English. So, what is the rationale, the justification for using Spanglish IN PROFESSIONAL SETTINGS? There is none! You can't continue to assume that ALL Latinos in the U.S. will or will not understand proper Spanish.And, seriously....there really is a rich, neutral way of expressing oneself in a proper, plain-spoken Spanish. It's not about the big words, it's about the right words!In our times, would anyone in a professional setting think to speak ''jive'' or ''ebonics'' to an African-American?Dumbing down our Spanish is no different!
Actually, the Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española is at work promoting a standardized Spanish. From their site at www.anle.us:
NUEVA YORK _ El gobierno de Estados Unidos reconoció a la Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Española (ANLE) como la máxima autoridad del español en el país.
Así lo anunciaron en una ceremonia conjunta la co-gerente de Gobierno USA.gov, el sitio web oficial del gobierno de EE. UU. en español, Laura Godfrey y el director de la ANLE Gerardo Piña Rosales, tras la firma de un convenio entre la Academia y la Administración de Servicios Generales (GSA), agencia que administra GobiernoUSA.gov.
NEW YORK. The United States government recognized the North American  Academy of the Spanish Language as the country's highest authority of the Spanish language.
This was jointly announced by Laura Godfrey, the co-director of GobiernoUSA.gov, the official Spanish-language site of the U.S. government and Geraldo Piña Rosales, director of ANLE, during a ceremony that followed the signing of an agreement between the Academy and the General Services Administration (GSA), which administers GobiernoUSA.gov.
Hot freakin topic. I had to ‘parkear me carro’ and read this before I got home. I think all Mexicans with a brain in the US have an internal identity struggle; Too Mexican, not Mexican enough? Disassociate or revitalize our Mexican roots… It’s unique and not easily understood by those not stuck in it. Some of us were raised with the “speak English” attitude of the 80’s because speaking Spanish was looked down upon so here we are years later with this half ass Spanish that we picked up through the years… si mami, no papi. Come on, we didn’t speak more than 100 words of Spanish as kids. Now it’s all about preserving your culture and being bilingual and Mexicans like myself don’t have the proper Spanish education to do it right. I’m totally one of these “bilingual professionals” that botches the language but I’m stuck trying to make a living. This brilliantly posted question has persuaded me to get off my ass and become a translator too.
Soon to be Translator Tito in the OC
maybe you should think about why a substantial portion of the Latino population is here in the first place -- because they are trying to find better a better living in the US by doing menial labor that no one else in this country wants to do. its not the educated upper class that's migrating here and needing your translation services. instead of being an elitist, you really ought to take into account the demographic and social histories of the population you are working with. you're not working as the gatekeeper of 'proper' language, whatever that is, you have a social function to fulfill, that is, to help people understand each other.
So, gardeners, housekeepers, dishwashers, and ''menial laborers'' are not educated enough to understand? That appears to be YOUR assumption. That's the problem: people consistently dumb down Spanish because of our view of Latino or Mexican degrees. How do you ''direct'' a translation to set of people with such varied experiences and background?
I am so on both sides of this fence. I shudder to listen to the English promulgated by the professional "communicators" on news programs for instance. On the one hand there is the natural semantic and vocabulary creep of all language and on the other is the need to say what you mean. I guess where I come down is in situations, such as informal conversation it doesn't much matter how you say what you want, slang and word substitution tend to add texture to language. Some words in English don't translate well into Spanish and vice-versa, pick the best one ("Taco" or "folded corn tortilla with a filling"?). In other cases, such as courts and where I work, saying EXACTLY what you mean, in a reasonable time, is critical, hence the technical language and jargon.
"Maybe the U.S. educational policy is linked to global labor forces. Let's keep the majority of our folks under-educated so they can be paid lower wages which will allow the U.S. to compete favorably with China, India, and Southeast Asia." You're right on that.
There should be no bailouts -- of anybody. The bailouts of Goldman Sachs, GM, etc. only made matters worse. Main Street was robbed to benefit Wall Street.
Apple was co-founded by Steve Jobs, a college dropout who never went to UCLA or Berkeley, and Steve Wozniak, who dropped out of Berkeley. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard. I think we see a pattern here.
On Horace Mann, this is from Wikipedia: "he went to Europe in 1843 to visit schools, especially in Prussia, and his seventh annual report, published after his return, embodied the results of his tour. Many editions of this report were printed, not only in Massachusetts, but in other states, in some cases by private individuals and in others by legislatures; several editions were issued in England. In 1852, he supported the decision to adopt the Prussian education system in Massachusetts. Shortly after Massachusetts adopted the Prussian system, the Governor of New York set up the same method in twelve different New York schools on a trial basis." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H...
Edgar Allan Poe dropped out of the University of Virginia.
"There is a veritable translation for everything! Moreover, it's actually impossible to direct a translation to a certain group or audience, as the only material that the translating agent has to work with is the source language, English."
I posted this before but it seems that it got erased or something. I just wanted to say that I disagree with that assertion, as Gideon Toury has made some very valid and strong points about a new paradigm in assessing the validity of translations. That said, I agree with you on your main thesis: there's no excuse for speaking lousy Spanish.
I've just a problem with this article, specifically the assertion "There is a veritable translation for everything! Moreover, it's actually impossible to direct a translation to a certain group or audience, as the only material that the translating agent has to work with is the source language, English." There are people in TQA who might disagree with that point of view, and they are a growing crowd. I do, however, agree with your thesis. There's no excuse for lousy language use.
lechon wrote: "My crystal ball would foresee a state/country of have and have-nots, both in terms of education and economic benefits."
That's what we already have. Only the "haves" can escape the government schools-prisons by sending their kids to private schools.
Yes, I'm calling for total abolition of all government schools, school aid, etc. Return to people their own tax money and they'll be able to afford schools that, thanks to competition, would be far better than the current system.
As to Thomas Jefferson, he was privately schooled himself, and did not favor public K-12 education. He did found the University of Virginia, his bigggest mistake. It was supposed to be run by the state of Virginia. Now it's just another federal government-run "university" like all the others -- that is, a government indoctrination center.
As to Horace Mann, he imposed on us the hideous Prussian system of indoctrination. Please read the great works of John Taylor Gatto, who was New York State's Teacher of the Year, but has written about what really goes on in the government schools systems. Gatto has some free books on this Web site: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com...
And here's his essay, "Against School," which appeared in the liberal magazine, "The Atlantic": http://www.johntaylorgatto.com...
Some friends of mine have a kid in the Newport-Mesa school district, one of the wealthiest in the nation. No foreign language is taught in elementary school, even though that's the best time to learn a language without an accent. At a minimum, they should be teaching Spanish, for obvious reasons. Almost every country on earth teaches a second language with great success, beginning in elementary school. Look at Canada or Mexico, or China, or any European country.
In the Los Angeles Unified School District, the high-school graduation rate is 44 percent, even thought the district gets per-pupil funding well above the state average. The dropouts are the smart ones: they escaped incarceration. Schools nowadays are prisons. Their buildings are designed as prisons. Just look at Century High School in Santa Ana, on South Grand Ave. The schools exist not to education, but indoctrinate.
After writing about education for more than three decades, including 19 years at the O.C. Register, I've concluded that government schools are unreformable. They will never get better. The ought to be abolished, and education funding excised from all federal, state and local budgets. Return people's tax money to them to school their own kids as they see fit.
Great R.C. Hoiles Ghost!
Come on Seiler, what you propose is little more than educational nihilism.
Moreover, study after study has shown that private schools, in the aggregate, don't do much better in educating students than public schools do. Moreover, the anti-regulation views of your ilk would make setting standards in an all private school scheme pretty much a dead letter.
While I agree that there is indoctrination going on in schools (indoctrination usually designed by local school boards, who are mostly staffed by conservatives---the tragic farce that is the LAUSD being an exception, btw), it isn't to the left, but to the right. It is because of the feel good rah rah horse hockey the rightwing powers that be want to inculcate to children that real pedagogy, which would be replete with discussions of the often nettlesome aspects of issues raised in the course of study, is and always has been totally disregarded in favor of cartoon cutout jingoism.
Personally, what I want to do away with is local school boards. Very few of any school board members will have had any teaching experience and therefore they tend to see instructors as almost being like glorified burger flippers. Moreover, often the agenda of those members is not helping children attain a well rounded understanding of the world, but to try to force crap like religion on the pubic schools.
So I want to put the pros in charge of their campuses, that is, the teachers. We already have state departments of education, so why don't we demand that they do their jobs rather than being mere buck passers to local school boards? The state board would oversee campuses run by their teaching staffs. This forces DIRECT accountability on teachers. If a school still fails, fire the teaching staff and start over. Teachers will not be able to pass the buck to local school boards.
And oh yeah, I would fire all the administrators, too, and replace them with contract employees who would get no benefits. They would be under the teachers control administratively. There are few people on any campus more worthless than an administrator.
Teachers need a freer hand because school boards too often block innovation and get involved in petty ego squabbles that hurt children. Look at the Marine Science program at a Lawndale high school being torpedoed by the school board due to petty turf battles even though that program was very successful in getting inner city kids to college as an example.
Now I know rightwingers like you hate teachers. Maybe you even hated school. But it is nonetheless time we put the pros back in charge of educating our kids rather than the fly by night attention whores, hustlers and wacko evangelicals that populate school boards., And by doing so, we also get out of the funding stream the legions of lawyers, public relations folks, offices that have to be maintained and rent paid for, and do nothing superintendents.
I know, putting the professionals in charge makes too much sense. So it will probably never be acted upon. But one can always hope.
RobE: Actually, I liked school and did well at it. The Michigan public schools I attended between 1960 and 1973 were mediocre, but I got something out of them. They weren't yet destroyed by even lower standards and extreme political correctness. The stultifying bureaucratic control from Washington, D.C. was only just beginning. They were still "our" local schools, much like in that movie "Hoosiers."
I don't advocate "educational nihilism." Rather, I advocate giving parents 100% control and government 0% control. Put the parents back in charge. As I noted, this centralized, government-run school model was first started by the Prussians 200 years ago, then unfortunately adopted here. Our previous American model, total parental control, actually produced better, smarter and certainly more independent citizens.
And I'm not talking about vouchers or school choice or charters, either. I'm talking about 100% government non-involvement.
See John Taylor Gatto, former New York State Teacher of the Year: http://www.johntaylorgatto.com...
"Besides, what kind of a boring world would we live in if proper language governed how we spoke? That's right: France."
The sad fact of the matter is that if it weren't for France, America would be speaking English!
The sad fact is also that we have had a habit of trying to clean France's messes up for them. WWI, WWII, Vietnam (Eisenhower sent more than a billion dollars to the French in order to try to help them keep their colonial regime in Vietnam afloat, which, of course, given the level of military accomplishment of the French in modern times, was a totally futile gesture.
And look at the mess the French made of Africa (not to say that the British or Dutch were any better). France played a role in the Rwandan genocide. Really, France is the Don Knotts of world powers (or pretend ones, more accurately).
There's a difference between the spoken word and the written word. There's also differences in one's education or the amount of vocabulary spoken at home. Having said that, Mexican politicians speak in very high vocabulary and expect the public to understand. Therefore we all can improve our Spanish vocabulary. How? Read your favorite websites in Spanish or in my case, a book in Spanish. Now don't judge me but.. I read the Twilight series in Spanish. I think it was translated in Columbia so the Spanish is similar to the one used in Mexico. Twilight is Crepusculo. See I did learn something.
Why should Mexicans wear pointy boots?
Answer: So they will get caught in the fence when trying to cross!