Eddie V Garcia is a Proud American
As a former kid who grew up in the tough streets of a northern suburb of Boston and who arrived in the middle of winter at three years of age and not knowing a word of English, I am appalled with the excuses and complacency that new immigrants and even those who have been here for years and years exercise when it comes to learning English. I am even more sickened with the federal, state and local governments eager to make it easier for new arrivals simply to court favors and votes "down the road."
I am proud to say that at the age of five, my parents and I became naturalized citizens of this great country. And to boot, we understood every single word that was recited in the federal district courthouse in Boston the day we were sworn in as US citizens.
My parents knew that in order to survive and make it in the new country "that we chose to come to" they needed to work because they didn't believe in a government handout unlike others and they knew that we ALL needed to learn this country's language. Yes, it was difficult for them as older people but they rolled up their sleeves each evening after coming home from working 10-14 hours in a textile mill and sat down with me to learn English.
Fortunately, I was able to learn English with the help of a black and white TV set (with rabbit ears) that they scraped money to buy at Woolworths and I learned English by watching Sesame Street, The Electric Company and Zoom, a popular young children's Boston area show.
So, please don't insult my parents, insult me or the previous generations of hardworking folks who came to this country for a better life and who knew, way even before setting foot in the US that (1) work was a necessity; (2) learning the culture and heritage of the US was a necessity; (3) learning and speaking English was a necessity. In no way did that mean we needed to forget our native language or our own culture. In fact, when Italians got together to have fun and yes, to eat, we spoke Italian. But we knew that when we needed to go to City Hall, to the hospital, to the police department or any other official business, that we either needed to speak English or bring a family member who spoke English and interpret for us.
As a guest in the United States seeking resident status down the road, we didn't expect or think it was "our" right to burden the country, its government, its public school system to make it "comfortable" or for the government to provide translators.
As a new American -or soon to be- we knew it was our obligation to assimilate, not the other way around.
I am sickened by the notion and by these groups who advocate for the "making it easy" for new arrivals. This is the United States of America! The best country in the world, it may have its issues and problems, but we are free to express ourselves and to reach whatever level of success we want provided "we" work hard, become an integral part of the country and its culture.
Regarding the public schools and this article's subject, I am a product of the Massachusetts public school system. I have asked my mother if when I attended school there were bilingual programs. Proudly and adamantly, my mother Dee said, "No way!." "You knew English before you started kindergarten and in fact often times your father took you to the bank to make sure he understood the banker's words."
In the same words that the staff attorney, Ms. Lopez used, "It is a crime when the schools, administrators and others continue to place LEP students in a bilingual classroom with very little or no use of English." I have seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears. These LEP students become way too comfortable in the setting of a bilingual classroom. That comfort level impedes their desire and ability to effectively learn English.
So, if you agree with the status quo, then just go about your business and see where our country heads, but please and with all due respect, don't get up "then" to write your elected officials.
However, if you agree with me, please join me on my Blog to roll up your sleeves ( I have now resorted to a T shirt) in making English our official language. Enough is Enough! It has to start somewhere and making English our official language is the starting point.
Visit www.proenglishusa.blogspot.com and www.twitter.com/proenglishusa.
Eddie V Garcia