thumbnail of Say Brother; Bilingual Education; 828
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
Good evening. Welcome to say brother. Tonight's program focuses on bilingual education in Boston. With me is Rafael do the group. Who is the director of bilingual education in Boston. Later in the program we'll be joined by community representatives who have also been involved in the development about a good education in Boston. But for now I'd like to welcome Raphael to the rather nice I think you know Raphael as you know in 1971 the governor the time Frances surgeon signed into law the transitional Bilingual Education Act which was sort of provided for the implementation in the well of the implementation establishment and implementation of bilingual education programs in the Commonwealth. My first question to you is is what is transitional bilingual education and what does a is a program about language occasionally consist of. OK let me say that I'm quite aware that I worked on the coalition that the passage of that legislation back in 1971.
Transitional bilingual education I think first that the reason why the transitional law was passed in Massachusetts is that it appealed to the communities outside of Boston from. And I think here you'd have to say from a financial point of view if we had talked at that time about a maintenance bill I think that the legislators and at the State House would have thought that it only referred to the largest cities where the problems with minority students were. So that that is why the original tag of transitional bonding with education. What that means basically is that a student is to be in a program for three years and that it's basically working with English language skills in other words the native language skills and culture are maintained while they're learning English and then when they can function in the regular English speaking classroom they will move into a security transition. Is that right. It's a period of transition. What has happened
and that. Of course is is bilingual education has been a very political issue. It has been and rightfully so and the proponents the people who fought for the original legislation have worked towards saying that the bombing of education should not just be a transitional concept that it should be. A maintenance concept and then once students have the English language skills that does not mean that you all of a sudden just stop the instruction in the native language and in their culture. And it's hard to get people I think to understand that I just recently about a month ago testified for a House bill 30 to 79 which is a language and maintenance bill that is in the state legislature it always passes through the education committee but gets had held up with ways and means that Bill is actually complementary to bilingual education because what it will do it will allow any 20 parents who petition for a language and culture course in the elementary or middle school and
they will have the right to have those classes as part of the curriculum. What does a program consist mostly of OK the bilingual program basically we work with respect to chapter 71 A. The I think the important regulations in that is that buying a program has to be a full program of instructions which are which means that you have to have native language instruction you have to have a culture and history. You have to have English as a second language and then another basic or something like math or a sort of education of that. And the student has to have those four courses in the in the daily program of instruction. So that basically And this goes along with what we call a cluster concept within schools where there are a bilingual programs you need to have at least four teachers the class the concept says at the elementary level you have at least 60 students in the school bilingual students. And at the secondary level you have at least 80 students in the school so that you have enough teachers to be able to provide all that range of
instruction. You know essentially we're children are serving or have to have a right to be served under under the law OK under Chapter 71 A The only children that children with limited English speaking skills are monolingual in the language other than English which we're working on a little bit on the new legislation that was based on a Supreme Court decision in 1904 with a loud Nichols case that was out in San Francisco. That particular legislation or it's not legislation but it was a decision by the Supreme Court is a little stronger than our state transitional law in one sense that it says that what we are dealing with are children who are having problems in English. For example we may have. English speaking students who let's say have been up from let's say Puerto Rico for seven years and and basically have lost their native language because they either they haven't been inviting the programs of the you know shunted
around from school to school with that legislation or what that decision says is that those students may have language they may have problems in reading and writing English based on language interference which shows up in the history. And so that led that particular decision then says you have to address the remedial needs of those students and provide or Title One teachers of people that can work with that particular problem so it's a little stronger from from that point of view. OK. Under the law and both he and him understand both the school committees and its case specifically Boston School Committee and the bio battling room Education Department has certain responsibilities in the law can you sort of briefly sort of land with those different responsibilities OK one of those. I think one of the most important things in the transitional law which I see as really very helpful to me is there are many features but I like the parent involvement component of that law because it actually mandates that
the parent advisory councils and we have sub PAC's throughout Boston in the different linguistic minority groups as well as a master PAC which oversee is the operation throughout the city you know the subjects in the master price actually parroted Baldrick councils. That's what they out of a sub PAC feeds into the master has a representative from each sub PAC sits on the master PAC in the master PAC has the responsibility of monitoring the banning of programs in the schools they have the responsibility of making decisions relative to how a bilingual program should proceed they have decisions on even on the interview process of teachers they meet with the superintendent they meet with the school committee people and I think chapter 71 a it's one of the one of the few laws that I've seen that has that strong parent involvement component. And as I say it's been a guiding light to me because I enjoy working with parents and I enjoy working with. Those groups that really have to be educated about what bilingual education is and they look
to. They look to people from my department they look to some community leaders as the people who are willing to form them of just you know what is important with bilingual education and what does it mean for our children. You know prior to the signing of the Yankton in 1970 a report was issued by the Task Force on children school which estimated that somewhere between twenty six hundred seven eight hundred Spanish speaking children were out of school. How do those statistics or compare with that with maybe the statistics you have now on the same population. OK first I remember that study that was done in the actually was the impetus for that whole coalition back in 68 and 69 of which I was a member to get together to work on developing the law. The statistics were quite I feel quite accurate the I remember the canvassing that went on everybody in different communities went out and actually knocked on doors to find out you know where your children are. It was sort of a unilateral effet because there were so many students out of school.
Right now I think because of the law and because of the fact that the department has been growing at a rate of about 17 percent a year which is the highest in the state I think the state average is about 10 to 12 percent and in Boston it's around 17 percent because of the increase and actually because of a lot of federal monies and state monies and even the local educational agency has has made an effort to to provide more teachers each year so that right now we're up to 240 teachers and I have in my budget next year an additional 25 teachers that will bring us up to two hundred sixty five teaches so that I would say that in terms of children out of school and I'm sure there are there are probably especially with the confusion in the in the assignments in the bussing I'm sure there are a lot of students out of school based them for that reason. Obviously it's cut drastically from where it was in back in 69 and 70. I think that just to it was an interesting figure I had recently that forty nine Hispanic students were
passed the exam for the exam schools. And I mean that is just a revelation because last year we only had about maybe six to 10 and this year we have 49 so there's been a tremendous change since and I think back in 71 or 69 or 70 maybe one of two Hispanic students graduated from high school and we have you know the number has increased tremendously so that you don't really have any enemies you know you're an enemy of that and it's difficult because you know by right this should be a door to door statistics done. We only the school system only counts numbers in terms of students enrolled which is really a false way of looking at you know because a you know that unless you do an accurate you know street by street census you know not really find out how many students are not coming to school. Well how many. I mean in what way do you identify. It's English speaking. OK what happens is that the Usually the principal of the school has the I mean he has the charge to recognize if there are students within the
classrooms who can't function in English and then they refer them to the bilingual Department will send out screen is if there happens to be a bilingual program in the school are referred to the bilingual teachers. And in that way they're brought in. That is not a method that meets with the with the Office of Civil Rights presently. And that's why I mention the decision on the law versus Nichols we will be undergoing a pervasive system of identification with every parent in the city will and they already have gotten language preference forms to determine first what type of what language they want notices to come home and secondly we've sent home the home language survey which will sort of identifies What's the language spoken at home what's the language that the child uses with peers with you know in school and with these different types of survey done throughout the system. We will have an accurate way of identifying when it's actually it's not being done or not OK. Well how do you how do you judge of the how do you value it the adequacy of. You know a
bilingual education program how you do in America here at all. OK this is there's two areas that I think of you. First how do we talk about quality bilingual education programs. How do we evaluate to to produce that quality. And right now it's a it's a big problem. The information system presently in existence in the Boston public schools does not allow us first to be able to throw out information that we might need from an educational point of view because of that it doesn't. We have a system which sort of identifies black white and other minority within that other minority we have a tremendous amount of bilingual students who who need bilingual education within that other minority we have Spanish and Asian surnames students who do not need bilingual education. What happens is that it's impossible to break down where the bilingual students are and what their needs are. I've been since I took over the directorship last August everything has been sort of crisis
oriented. And I've been trying to meet problems and resolve them you know to the best of my ability. I'm still in that sort of sort of planning stage at this point there how do you know that the program is working or not working and OK my bait letter you know sends a best feedback I have is from talking with teachers and meeting with teachers meeting with the bilingual faculty senate the bilingual coalition getting input from the community from community leaders I will meet. I have met practically with every group I go out to the community. I listen to them and I try to listen to the problems that they see and then that gives me feedback I talk with my teachers that gives me a lot of feedback and I talk with administrators in the school and I get feedback that way. Basically I've been in the system since 1961 I've been in bilingual education since 1971 so I know a lot of the teachers who are out there and the aides and if Usually there's a problem I'll get a call and somebody will you know immediately say hey this isn't
working well you know in the process of one number one just in terms your background working with you act and most recently Gibson and trying to make some kind of assessment of the program have you gotten a sense for the acceptability of bilingual education in Boston either from most elected officials from from school officials and from community people. I mean just. Well I mean they appointed a director and I have no administrative support staff I only have teachers on assignment now that will change I submitted a staffing plan when I took over this year because it was impossible for me to do a job with just teachers on assignment I need administrative support staff. So from the point of view of acceptability let me say that since I have been in bilingual education since 1971 that there was a reluctance on the part of the predecessors in the school department to feel that bilingual education was anything more than a remedial type of instructional design. They felt that bilingual education in time would go away and obviously that was
an accurate assessment because bilingual education is is here and I see it as in someone as a sign of the revolution because I like to think that eventually this country will become bilingual. It has a very monolingual approach to solving problems now. My feeling is that like most of the countries of the world that the United States has to become bilingual and the United States is that it's we're in a very small world today the communication is so exact and so quick that it's impossible for us not to realize that to our north we have a tremendous amount of French speaking into ourself we have a tremendous amount of Spanish speaking and that there are other. Enclaves within the country that have their own language groups that in that need attention to so that I'd like to you know let us in. Well speaking of the different groups the rebelling was occasioned supposed to serve and clearly Spanish speaking it's probably the largest
group that you serve. What about the other groups of the time in Portuguese Cape Verdean Chinese how the washings there how their needs are being met but are their needs being met and in the same way as we have delusion let me say that one of the I think one of the good things that has happened in Boston is that we've hired a lot of bilingual people so that whenever you know whenever we look for a teacher of course we look for the person that has the capability in both languages so that we have a lot of bonding with Chinese a lot of bonding with attended a lot of bilingual Cape Verdean a lot of bilingual Haitian a lot of money so that we have a good core of teachers and. Which I think maybe in a lot of other cities that they don't have the corps of teachers that we have so I think that from that point of view that we are addressing the issues of bilingual education I think the other minor lingual minority groups have the same advantage as even the Hispanic groups which is the largest but they still have the same advantage means they're in
tremendous effort to make sure that there are national minority administrators as well as teachers. And when I say that I mean not only Spanish speaking teachers in the ministries It also ties in and and you already are and I'm one of course I've been always pushing for the whole affirmative action thing and my department probably is the least department that has not you know a majority of minority people because my bilingual teachers are all considered minority teachers in the staff we are pushing I have again I would say that the bilingual department probably is has worked toward that more than any other apartment in the system. So what were needs to be done and that is you can you can tell me everything is too nice to be done. But what are some of the things and what do you think that at least the most urgent news I think is OK I think the information system is important so that we know how to assess what type of achievement the students are going through in their native language as well as in English. In addition to that we have to provide a lot of support services
for bilingual students right now. There are no bilingual guidance counselors there are two bilingual psychologists there and special contracts we should have about four to six. We should have bilingual personnel being hired for teachers in the music department in the art department in all the other departments and that to work with the you know the other minority children in the school and you know I've been pushing for that sort of thing and I think it's something that has to happen again. You know that I'm only one department with and with a network of many. But you know I definitely feel that this is the way we'll solve the problem and as the system realizes that the media will do as you see it what's the what's the future of abominable education and Boston I mean and there are some other problems I wouldn't alter it OK some of the other problems have to do with bilingual kindergarten which is an issue that hasn't been resolved yet. And you know in terms of even the assignment what happened what's happening with bilingual kindergartens right now is that we put students in the kindergarten program
and they're only being taught in English in buy right in the bombing of kindergarten is such where we have a team teaching situation and you have a mixture of students which from an integration and socialization point of view is is very good. What is happening is that usually the monolingual teacher is overpowering the bilingual teacher and the instruction is not really a two way instruction in the English speaking students and not learning Spanish for example that has the hope that clarification has them coming in and we have to develop curriculum in kindergarten in in all of the all of the programs so that's another area that we have to concentrate on have been OK here we're going to we're going to take a break here. Okay well return we'll continue our discussion on bilingual education. Please stay tuned. The whole situation Republicans are conservative. And they're not necessarily looking for change. It's more of a laser field type of organization. And Democrats are. More liberal views and those are very definite there has been talk of the two parties really talk in terms of yahoos be made by
Republicans for attracting the black vote. I look at it like Avis and Hertz rent a car commercial problems up traffic because that is where the object situation was they realized that everything was going to build up are you back up again. Better get. To with that swing vote into the black vote and that's why the cost. To go up to. That one vote. That is a very big difference in the philosophy. In most cases the public is reflected in piss off and just prayed. That. The. Next week several takes a look at the significance of the black political vote. Welcome back. Before the break I was talking with the director of Boston's about English education department ready to go to LA. Unfortunately was unable to stay with us but Joining me now to continue our discussion is Stephanie fann teacher in charge of the valuable education department. David could tell you a member of
the apologists and rail Meda a community advocate for Ballingall and multicultural education who's also been a prime mover in the development of Cape Verdean bilingual education in Massachusetts. Welcome. It's a rather early in the program. It was mentioned in fact I mentioned that that the law establishing bilingual education in Massachusetts was signed in 1971 but it was obvious to you and other people who've been working in Ballingall education for the for the last few years understand that about in education in Massachusetts did not start with that. That's what I'm sort of interested in hearing from from all of you and maybe you primarily from one who wants to start. What events led up to this say the signing of that bill. And when I say what events also what what concerns and what issues and what needs were felt to be needed to be addressed. And David you might want to start with that. The fight for bilingual education has been a fight just as the fight for affirmative action other
things like this in the black community for the linguistic minority community and the largest population being the Spanish speaking linguistic minority it has been parents who have gotten together and demand the need for A and educational system which responds to their needs their educational needs. Seeing that very low very low educational processes does not fill their educational needs. There had to be something within the educational system that could give them give itself. It was providing education to the children and the most affect the way that parents saw this was fighting for a bilingual bicultural education in the initial stage it was a lot of mention of bicultural and what bicultural really was. Was that not only the language be taught but also the culture to be maintained within the educational system. Because if you teach in education from and from in the North American point of view
you Missi know what is the development of language within a specific culture and because the specific setting so parents got together from different linguistic minorities and fought for but I wanted to caution because bilingual education as it was conceived and. The original place was to provide education for the children. But then later on we could discuss how it hasn't that are sure that's in the zone the problems and I think one of the other things that prompted all the action in terms of the fight for binding legislation is the high dropout rate among the linguistic minorities. There are studies that show that there are so few Spanish kids graduating from high school and they were coming in but what was happening to them with the Chinese kids those who were coming into the country in their adolescence they were having a difficult time finishing school. And they were born here they were able to pick up the language. But those who were coming in as teenagers were just not continuing.
It's clear that the initial impetus initial push. In the linguistic community linguistic minority communities was in the Latino community in Boston to get the ball rolling it was the devotion and commitment of just so many parents to push on agency people to get off their seats and do something around the issue. Virgins were late arrivals into that whole process basically because the Cape Verdean community in Boston is is very very old and the new immigrant community that's come into the country since 1964 which is about 70 500 strong and Rock Spring Dorchester is very very disorganized community with relic with a relatively unstable internal leadership so they didn't participate as full partners until only recently. But down in southeastern Massachusetts as well as in and Brockton and situate there have been and there the parents began to get together in the in the Lars in process of being implemented with a great deal of difficulty.
And imagine there was a sort of a lot of problem just in terms of organizing you know communities to deal with the whole notion about language occasion but specifically in the U.S. more talking about the resistance. What kind of resistance was there against let's say a stablish you know bilingual education program in Boston. We're talking about a battle that went over a number of years and I'm just assuming there was not a lot of those drug thing that that question is in the past. It still continues. I think that the people that working in the bilingual Department Stephanie could just that a fact that our organization is going to buy it is as a parent organization which I've been fighting for the last five to six years in this whole to try to implement the bilingual program. We've seen that there's been an enormous resistance by principals to implement the program. Now in New York City and this is because that's where one of the biggest
battles has been waged to try to get bilingual program. It has even been opposed by the union. The teachers union. Saying that that's a different a bomb and that's going to take away teaches from the very get a disease that so that it all over were trying trying to sabotage him one way or another viewing the development of his blood in the program. Because if you think about it the program has a lot of potential. It is a development of an individual's character within the mainstream of American life that it doesn't it doesn't totally absorb that individual within the mainstream of American life. And as a result of that by that you see the different principals different of ministers educators from universities all speak out against But in the programs saying that there is no real demand there's no real need when there does to exist that and it's always interesting when you can break it down even farther than that there's this American native mystic tradition that somehow or other you know there's an English speaking
country this is America you know ready to deal with America when you're ready to speak English until you speak English and buy into our standard curriculum buy into our standard set of values etc. until that point you're just you know green on and outside of the process and you ought to be satisfied with functioning in the labor market at this lower level. And interestingly that has always been a resurgence in the history of the United States of this native mystic tradition at a time when it parallels economic recession. Following all the was exact and where in the middle of one now we're starting to come out of one now and dovetails with another related issue which perhaps you can do a program with Sometime the undocumented workers think the business of running around chasing after so-called illegal aliens that they're taking jobs from our American workers. But it's that same kind of paranoia the same kind of xenophobia that we're in the middle of
now and whether the case of the linguistic minorities so often when people hear that term they think just about communities of color. Latinos Haitians Cape Verdean Chinese. We're also talking about Greeks and Italians and all the folks whose first language is other than English. I'm sure that you know this and things like that I hadn't really thought about in I guess and how they're related to a couple of other things and I don't want to mention those I guess have heard them talk to people you know who have talked about the opponents of the I guess the opponents of the education. And there's sort of two camps are those who feel that that is sort of a precursor to political and ethnic separation. And some on other say and eventually that their communities are going to be divided on very strict racial lines. Then there's another group who sort of feel like is a threat to desegregation and a threat to the objectives of desegregation I'm just wondering you know how you all respond to that in light of also the other argument that it
brings that how do you see those those sort of those arguments. A lot of people say well we don't want to have happen in America what's happening in Quebec but if it doesn't and so have to happen that way several years back I went to Singapore and they have four languages that I recognize and any station their broadcasts. Must at some time during the day you is awful languages so that someone who is Chinese will not turn a tune into a Chinese station and listen to Chinese all day but will hear programs in English here programs into meal and hear programs and in Malaysian. And it worked out very well. I went to programs that were run by the schools and again all the introductions were done in all four language it was time consuming but it was a recognition from the overall society that there are four languages there and I didn't see any division there. There is as you have said is there's two kinds
especially with the desegregation case in the courts that many people look at but in what education is that separating the children away from the integration process. And there's that other combo of. These say no that that's that's not something which is productive for American society right now in. In Illinois I don't remember which school just think it is. But there's a court case which is being presented stating that the they were against the bilingual programs because bilingual programs tend towards the desegregation of children. But then you think about it. And of course when you think about how the programs are and naturally they're going to segregate children to a point where they have to teach the children their language and their culture. But behind the whole bilingual in the pedagogy of bilingualism is that the children in the process also integrate
themselves into the mainstream education and adapt some of the cultural values and because you can tell that if you're living in a monolingual mostly mostly monolingual society then you're bilingualism. If you know your language your original language loses. Now we dated back to the question of the segregation also. If it is organized itself around that. Because we've seen that the situation has affected very very severely. The bilingual programs the court's reliance only on numbers and occasionally on color skin placed children arbitrarily in different schools. They never take into consideration what is the what are the needs of the specific child. We could be late this year especially how that has been done this year but has had a demonstration on August 15
in front of the federal court in front of the school committee demanding that they reassigned the school children because what had happened was that these quote court experts came in there and they looked at color codes and they began the stripping children so that some Hispanics and I'm a light skinned Puerto Rican with the black skin Puerto Rican wherever they needed a black or a light. They just shifted what it means to same day recovered and same thing with other linguistic minorities and the problem was that they were not looking at what was the bilingual program so in this gathering they were going to break the whole fabric of what the bilingual program was all about. So then after that demonstration and after a court case which was presented by a lawyer we had. We want a victory where 95 percent of those judges which have been scattered across the city had to be reassigned and that's why the bilingual programs that so one extra week for them to get all the things together
before they could open classes. If we're going to talk about equal access to educational opportunity and we want to talk about cultural pluralism as the way that America needs to move and use that as an ideal an educational ideal. The individual teacher the individual principal has got to be ready to deal with that kid when he comes through the door with all of his baggage his ethnic baggage his cultural baggage his linguistic baggage and that that kid has to be pro up for a program of instruction has to be made available to him just as soon as it's available to anyone else and it can't be denied him until he's ready linguistically ready to participate in it. That's part of the thinking that went into the to the Lauren part of the hang up that many teachers still many teachers and parents still have that you this kid is not ready to learn because he can't function in English. That's a bunch of a bunch of baloney because a kid can function in his own in his own first language.
It's interesting the point that David brings up about him. The code experts coming in and counting and arbitrarily deciding who goes where based on skin tone which is a peculiar American way of doing business that we have these arbitrary division distinctions of people based upon skin color. And yet within a multi racial group within a linguistic minority that's also a multi racial group such as Puerto Ricans and such as convergence and all those the business of culture is infinitely more of a determinant than skin tone that regardless of all of the internal bickering is that Latino do OK radians do whatever we only judge them as one people as a people of many faces but one people. And yet within the context of a racist arbitrary system of classifying people we see you know families we see brothers put
into some sort of black category and sisters put into some sort of white category sons and daughters of the same family. Very hard to explain. Our American way of counting people to immigrant parents from favor that have only been here five or ten years. I mean just being a one point which I think as a little bit more to the fire and and the need for bilingual education and that was. When I originally came here there was no bilingual programs and I was back in 1961 and it wasn't until the last few years that we've seen the world dividing all programs now prior to the 1970s. And there's been studies made on this that many children many non-English speaking children were put into schools for retarded or other programs for the handicapped like this because they could not communicate in the English language. And the teachers recommend two such programs because they were retarded because they could not
answer to the teachers. Now we see the development of the programs 766 programs the special needs the education social needs education now 766 programs here in Massachusetts or in Boston. To be specific what I know about is that many. Linguistic minority children are in those programs. Why has that been. And not all the people within the bilingual programs or in Chapter 76 766 special education but many linguistic minority children are in there because the educational system has tried to pressure on those children to learn English when the child does not even know their own language Kriel or Spanish or Chinese or whatever so they try to push the English onto the child. Now that causes a lot of problems especially if a child goes to the house and learns their own dialect of their own language and in the street has to learn
English because a lot of problems now in their problems many children cannot adapt to that. And many of them can know many and then chapter 766 programs have to be established where the inequities of the educational system have to be taken up in those programs and those programs 766 money cannot be used to service the needs of children which really have high deficiencies. So what they do is the teachers overcrowded 766 teacher should normally have around 7 to 12 students. You see in some schools a sum to 30 to 40 students. Now what type of special individualized help can a teacher give if he or she has to. 40 students in one day not in one class but in one day one kind of educational Khalifah voted to them. So these are questions that some a very neat little administrative kind of catch all went to school when a principal or teacher can't deal with this particular kid's needs because he doesn't function well in English. You can always flip them over for Corra valuation
and it's done in the suburbs as well as Boston. That leads me to want to ask you know to what extent all the problems that brought about the signing of the act when it's never been addressed generally with respect to the largest population which is Spanish speaking or to you know Also Chinese and Cape Verdean there what extent generally have needs been addressed. Let me just cite one dynamic which which most of your list as I'm sure you've heard before. The Master's legislature is notorious for an acne and acting legislation in direct response to the protest. And we wait a year or two when the regulations start to come out of the Department of Education and then we wait a year or two when there's not sufficient funding to do to get programs moving with as heightening of expectations but no delivery. And then people went around pointing fingers in the legislators and say well we passed the law what do you want. And then so we all point the
fingers at the State Department of Education but then they don't have the money from the legislature to do anything with the regulations and then we end up pointing fingers at the local L.A. A's Boston New Bedford wherever in the last analysis we've got a bunch of beaten down angry hostile parents who are tired of having put in five years or 10 years in this process. That's very common that went on with seven six six and many many other issues. And with that we can go to some specifics but the problem really begins there. There was. What about the training money. To train or retrain teachers to see to it there that there's a liaison person working with parent groups in every school that there really is an active parent advisory organization in every school. The money isn't there the Department of Education doesn't have the personnel of course in public schools or that of a person I can assume that a great deal of the problems are brought about the act itself really have been met.
And so I would I would say that you know I would say that the biggest thing that's been done is that we now have bodies in the classroom bodies that can speak more than one language. You know more than just English and I think that's that's been the greatest progress but you know as Ray says there has been no money for curriculum. There is the money for teacher training hasn't materialized. So that. Because there were when when the program first started there were so few trained teachers we were you know recruiting bodies off the street or they could speak another language and and some of them have turned out to be excellent teachers. But still there there's just so much that needs to be done there. You know we've never had the money for developing curriculum materials and we've sort of had to wait as other parts of the country have gotten the federal projects to federal funds to to develop materials and as those come through then we've got pilot test them eventually might buy them but it's a very slow process and and I think I think the Chinese materials
in particular I've spoken with commercial publishers and they say there aren't enough Chinese speakers speakers in this country to justify opening any of any materials in Chinese to question of profits is just a question that's right so where does that leave us. You know the materials from from Hong Kong and Taiwan are not relevant. We're going to be done at the community level ministry level legislative level and through into the program we're going to do this at a community level to push for everything for whatever types of things we have an organization in Massachusetts called the American Committee for Cape Verde has another name. That organization which is a network of individuals from here to Philadelphia that are advocating for a variety of things and in the Cape Verdean community is also involved with Cape Verdean educators. These are folks who on their own time have been coming together arguing out one of the definitions of the Cape Verdean experience how do we express that in curriculum material such that kids get a handle upon their
cultural heritage in a positive kind of way. How do you use the Cape Verdean language a language which is not standardized in a written form. How do you use that as a as a medium for instruction. Trying to do our homework wash our laundry behind closed doors if you will. And there is no state or federal money in this process. Now there's nobody getting money to come to workshops on Saturday afternoon you know there are people in the Boston public schools teachers. Who make $2000 extra a year just going to workshops and signing a paper and sitting there knitting or whatever there's that kind of money that goes into all of the workshops of Boston money that they don't have by the way in New Bedford in Providence and a number of places where there's very little chapters 636 type money going into places like New Bedford in Lawrence. So that we on our own community level working with parents working with people from Cape Verde who may have finished may have university degrees or high school degrees or be Cape Verdean culture list but who don't function in English
and have a real contribution to make. They're sitting there with a Cape Verdean educator is grinding up these materials and we're slowly introducing them into the classroom. But all of this is by our own initiative. All right let me let me say something this is part of the history of the media by the US is that we are a community organization which are not related to any agency in the Hispanic community. We do not receive funds from any agency of any sources and our funds comes directly from fundraisers that we have in our communities and our officials are elected from lung the participating members. We feel that this is the way that community organizations have to go. Because we have seen that agencies and organizations which are established at a large level which receive outside money or in the pressure to fulfill certain obligations to those people that they receive monies from. So say
organizations like hope to expand office of planning evaluation and answer people like this and cannot put out a good educational battle for the for their own community which they are trying to serve because they are control they have to serve some injuries. We feel is that we have to have community based organizations like ourselves which are controlled by parents which are facing those things day to day not by people that are getting paid a good amount of money a year to be involved in educational struggle but theyre doing it because either because of morality or because they have a humanitarian humanitarian or liberal spirit about them. But we believe in all linguistic minority communities and all communities. They must be established organizations like ours that can respond to the needs of parents and for our souls. We begin by taking the court
order out of the hands of the whole of the Hispanic officers of planning evaluation. They were trying to represent the Hispanic parents in the city of Boston. We said to them no we as an organization must represent them because we think these things. And since then there was back in 1973 that we've been able to represent within the court and also outside in the grass roots rank and file of the community. We've been able to say look at going to the bathers has been a viable force there has fought and has made a presence in the courts and in the communities to develop in the interest of the people that are really hurting and I think that this is the route that many communities should take. How responsive has the school committee been to you know community pressure or even even another law which is community important terms of Pern advisory committees. I mean is that a real sort of
relationship in terms of the recommendations sort of taken seriously considered. It's a I'm telling you it's a real fight. If we play their game with sending letters and it is because it is a court in intervene or has a lawyer if we play the game with the lawyer we get just so for. But if we were to hold a press conference as we've done in the past if we will hold a community wide meeting where over 250 Hispanic parents come they get scared if we put a protest like we did on August 15th and the opening day of classes here in Boston then they begin responding. If you and I'll tell you for sure that it wasn't that the bilingual coalition this was a coalition of Haitians Hispanics Cape Verdean Chinese Greeks and Italian parents and teachers if they didn't get together over the summer the whole bilingual education department would have been in shambles this year. But we did not only aid
in pushing forward the need for bilingual education but also we got the court experts to recognize that they had made a lot of expense a lot of hours in 766 assignments in assigning of seniors which the court order says that seniors are supposed to stay in the school which they were as in the third year that they have to graduate from high school what the cortex was there was that they flung all around. So they didn't even respect the laws which were. Set down by the federal order so that if if we don't if we don't go out into the street in protest if we don't show them that we are a viable force in the community and that we are vocal force and a strong vocal force then there's nothing to be done. I think this has proven this consistently and also during the 60s we have proven this. And if we remember that bilingual law was not signed because liberal wanted to see bilingual education there but that it had to be signed because pressure was put on the legislature to do such a
thing. Then we see the need for continuing to have this type of action in the communities. Have the parent groups or other community groups always acted together as a coalition or is it something that just happened once or are they going to continue to be the most viable way to deal with this something vicious. There's a force which is starting to develop and it's called a bilingual coalition and that has some very good opportunities for development. See because organizations like the parties in Armenians we have to speak Spanish because all our people have to speak Spanish and we can't have a meeting in English or else we'd be like if we go to court street we'd be lost because there's no translators. So that right now what we have is that we have a bilingual coalition which is made up of bilingual faculty senate and community agencies from the different linguistic minorities and parents organizations from different
linguistic minorities which come together and it's time to put out the what are the needs and interests of dividing the parents and this is something which is viable because once that all the different parents get together and say that there is a need for bilingual education and be vocal about it then that's when a lot of action is going to occur. Going to a lot of interesting pieces starting to come together in Boston one of which is the bilingual coalition. It's been popularly felt that there's nothing in the world that talian speaking folks and Greek speaking people and Arabic speaking people. What could they possibly have to sit down with and talk to Cape Verdean Haitians and Latinos about. And when these parents begin to discover the thematic relationship in their experience in terms of as parents as taxpayers and then in their dealings with the Boston public school it becomes an explicitly anti-racist
way of approaching a problem and it provides people with some good experience once they get that under their belt they can begin to see around some of the ethnic and racial kinds of traditional kinds of ways that we look at problems in Boston that perhaps it'll translate transfer over to the way we look at jobs. We can begin to think about Boston jobs for Boston people and some of the other issues affecting our minister is for all of you what and what ways is it important I think for national minorities to look at about language occasion in terms of ethnic identity and in terms of the social and political development of all people in this country. Is making it clear to me you know. During the whole 60 moon when there was a large rise for black power and it was the people wanting to have something about their own culture the American people. To learn something about black history and learn something about what happened in Africa. Where is Africa that isn't just some continent over there that is
owned by Britain or some of the other forces over there but that it is a part of a culture and part of the heritage of the people. Now the national minorities here in Boston or in the United States should begin looking at bilingual education as part of the life and history of the people which have a different language. To begin looking at bilingual education as a way of developing the force within the society which is also being suppressed which is not part of the mainstream which you could say that suppresses the people continuously with daily the same problems. We not only face especially the linguistic minorities of color we not only face the color barrier but we also face the language barrier and we also face other types of discrimination national discrimination. From many people within the society. From.
White North Americans as well as Black North Americans because they do not understand like the white North American the type of oppression which we face continuously within our communities. Now having that the language barrier also prevents us from getting together even more and seeing the common interest that we have. If we look at the 60s in all the cities that blew up. It wasn't just black people to say look stop. But there were all the minorities that were also in the Latins Asians and other people that would gut and say we are together in this we are all being oppressed and that we have to get up and fight together. And that's I think the awareness that has to be developed. As to the bilingual programs and I'm very interested in the growing awareness within the communities of color in the United States with people of African descent in the United States to come to grips with. Our own ethnicity that the black American experience is not a homogenized ethnically
homogenized kind of experience that in fact folks have been calling in. You know Malcolm One time I asked what do you call a black Ph.D. nuclear physicist from Harvard University and people went around the room and he said no you coma nigga. And that that we have this way of thinking we've been conditioned to believe in this country that that none of these little cultural wrinkles ethnic wrinkles regional wrinkles variations upon the theme of African American are of any consequence and they're all threats to some sort of solidarity. And I think that's a bunch of baloney that if people if these are legitimate sources of strength. Around personal identity that peoples of color draw from and that are really well understood to this person in this ethnic group that that we that we as a people as people of African-American heritage can look to all of these sources as as as as part of our future that we're not a homogenized people we don't need to be all marginalized people to get over or to face any issue that affects us all
Say Brother
Bilingual Education
Episode Number
Contributing Organization
WGBH (Boston, Massachusetts)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/15-2r3nv9976n).
Program examines bilingual education in Boston. Host Melvin Moore speaks with Raffael De Gruttala (Director of Bilingual Education in Boston), Stephanie Fan (Teacher in Charge at the Bilingual Education Department), David Cortiella (of El Comite De Padres), and Ray Almeida (community advocate for bilingual and multicultural education and proponent of Cape Verdian education in Massachusetts) about the nature of transitional bilingual education, what a bilingual education consists of, which children have a right to be served by the city, the different responsibilities of the Boston School Committee and the Bilingual Education Department, claims that bilingual education is a threat to desegregation, the extent to which problems related to bilingual education have been addressed in the community, and the response of the Bilingual Department and the School Committee to community pressure and parental involvement.
Rights Note:It is the responsibility of a production to investigate and re-clear all rights before re-use in any project.,Rights:,Rights Credit:WGBH Educational Foundation,Rights Type:All,Rights Coverage:,Rights Holder:WGBH Educational Foundation
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: b7302f122148b909de70708825520f905c5312b3 (ArtesiaDAM UOI_ID)
Format: video/quicktime
Color: Color
Duration: 00:00:00
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Say Brother; Bilingual Education; 828,” 1978-05-17, WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 30, 2022,
MLA: “Say Brother; Bilingual Education; 828.” 1978-05-17. WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. September 30, 2022. <>.
APA: Say Brother; Bilingual Education; 828. Boston, MA: WGBH, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from