12:43 pm CST - November 28, 2012
Posted under On The Record
Texas Insider Report: AUSTIN, Texas – If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results – what should we think about the lawsuit that Texas school districts are pursuing against their own taxpayers? Our schools are failing – and all we hear is the classic and worn-out excuse that we’re not spending enough money.
Nearly 3-out-of-5 districts have sued, including big city ISDs like Dallas, asking Austin-based Judge John Dietz to force a new funding system that would provide schools with about $8 billion more each year. This is on top of the money that taxpayers in several districts have voluntarily handed over by approving bond issues. Even as you read this, some districts are building ornate new school buildings.
Two things are true:
- First, the new buildings will be nice, but they will not make children learn any more than they did in the old buildings that will be torn down.
- Second, even if Judge Dietz rules for the districts, history tells us that more money is not going to fix our schools.
One of the roots of the problem is a politically correct teaching method that has its own constituency, and therefore will be hard to abolish. But if we want the burgeoning numbers of Hispanic children that now attend Texas schools to succeed – we have to find a way to kill bilingual education.
The bilingual lobby will have a fit if we attempt to do this – but that points to a hard, cold fact: bilingual education is for the teachers; it is NOT for the children.
The case of Oceanside, California is a prime example of what can happen – virtually overnight – when American schools revert to the traditional language of our country.
When California voters (including 84% of Hispanics, according to a Los Angeles Times poll) passed Proposition 227 called “English For the Children,” most districts ignored the measure and went right on doing what they were doing. Oceanside decided to try it – and saw test scores shoot up, so much so that Superintendent Kenneth Noonan, who had opposed English immersion, became an activist for it.
Back home in Texas, Dr. Christine Rossell conducted a study in 2009 entitled “Does Bilingual Education Work? The Case of Texas”. It was published by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
After a thorough study of several methods of teaching English to kids who have low proficiency, she concluded:
“Bilingual education is more expensive than other programs, and is the least effective.”
Dr. Rossell’s recommendation was to adopt sheltered English immersion as the default for public schools, while giving parents an option to choose a program that best meets each child’s needs – and test students in English.
And yet, Texas school districts seem unwilling to look at the root causes of why the schools are failing. Education activist Donna Garner of Waco says, flatly, that one of the causes is bilingual education. She says it will take real courage on the part of Texans to face the truth.
It will also take a competent judge in the current lawsuit and a strong legislature willing to stand up to the bilingual education lobby.
As Garner points out, the judge should make the districts prove that the money they’ve already spent on certain programs have produced results – and that more money would produce even better results.
In the case of bilingual education, that would be a high burden.
But this lawsuit is not about truth. It’s about money.
Lynn Woolley is a Texas-based talk show host. Contact him at www.BeLogical.com.