Required to speak English

Katherine - posted on 05/18/2011 ( 11 moms have responded )




Students in New London will not only have to pass English to graduate, but they will have to prove that they know the American English language and be able to demonstrate it as of 2015.

The board of education on Thursday approved the major change to city education policy, according to the Day of New London.

The student body includes immigrants from 28 countries, the Day reports. And the school district Web site includes translations in 52 languages.

"We know from colleges and employers, that our students are going to have to know how to read and write in English if they are going be successful," Supt. Nicholas Fischer, told the Day.

That is not to say that the school is instituting an "English only" program in which where students are told they can only speak English in the schools. New London's program is a literacy program in which students will be required to achieve a certain level of English reading and writing literacy by the 10th grade.

The school system will offer several ways for students to fulfill their English language requirement and they have until the age of 21 to meet it.

One community leader has no problem with testing students in English, but was concerned about students making it to 11th grade without being able to speak the language.

"It's good that we are raising standards, and I don't see a problem with testing," Elizabeth Garcia Gonzalez, executive director of Centro de la Comunidad and a former school board president, told the Day.

"But I have concerns about a student who comes into the high school at 11th grade and can't speak the language."

The state department of education does not have a policy of this kind.


View replies by

Rebecca - posted on 05/19/2011




in re to "Don't students in the US have to have a basic understanding of spanish before they can graduate? I thought they did."
No. In my school you had to take few years of french or spanish. Middle school you had to learn some latin. I know other schools offer other languages, and know 1 person who was dyslexic who had to take american sign language. It is required to take some sort of language, but, you could fail the class and as long as you had enough GPA to graduate you would. At least in my state this is the case.

Johnny - posted on 05/19/2011




As someone who lives in a place where over 50% of the people speak (or don't speak) English as a second language, I've got no problem with this requirement. We do have to demonstrate English proficiency to graduate and definitely to get into Uni. Although I think many employers and educators would say that the bar is still set a little too low. It is very frustrating to encounter people who have been here for a lengthy period of time (as much as 25-30 years) who still struggle to communicate in English. They've surrounded themselves with friends who speak their language, only shop at stores that speak their language and even find other service providers like doctors and the like who speak their language. They never learn. I'm oozing with patience for people who are newer and trying hard. English is a difficult language to learn and I'd like to hope that if I moved to another non-English speaking country that people would be patient while I learned. But if I know you've been here for 15 years and haven't even tried to learn English, I probably will just walk away. At that point, the person is just disrespecting everyone who lives here. Especially all those who have come here over the generations and worked so hard to learn a common language for us all to share.

Jane - posted on 05/19/2011




"Don't students in the US have to have a basic understanding of spanish before they can graduate?"

Nope, and I live in Texas where a huge number of folks do speak at least a form of Spanish. I do recall friends from the Netherlands saying they had several language requirements to achieve before they could leave school or go on to university, though.

As someone who is multi-lingual, I think it is terrific to speak more than one language. You never feel left out or isolated and you are very popular with folks who need translators.

[deleted account]

We have many polish children in our schools.There encouraged to speak English.The children have some English.They don't use it.They hang out together and speak there language.I think its very impotant for them to try to learn as there given extra classes to teach them.They school asked the children to not speak polish in school to encourage them to learn English and speak it more.

Teachers trying to speak with the parents and they parents with the teachers is very hard.You need a translator.

Its impotant to at least try to learn the language, when your in the country.

Jenni - posted on 05/19/2011




It only inhibits the individual who doesn't understand the first language in the country.
I sure as heck wouldn't want to live in China and not understand chinese.
Besides, if you go to an english speaking school as a child/teen don't you learn the language anyways?

It reminds me of this girl from old Yugoslavia who moved to our town in Canada in grade 8. When she first started at the school she probably knew the basics; hi, bye, my name is Jarka... etc. She was teased a lot at first. Not because she was from a different country but because she was just didn't fit in physically. She was overweight and had really frizzy big hair. The boys were pretty cruel and would teach her swear words and stuff.
She was very intelligent and pick up the language quickly. Half way through the year out of nowhere she told the boys to F off when they were teasing her one day. Of course, that impressed the grade 8 boys. After that she spoke the language fluently and turned out to have such an awesome personality and great sense of humour that the boys and girls who once picked on her, became good friends with her. Loved and respected her. Breaking the language barrier allowed her to show her classmates who she really was.

We have to have a basic understanding of our second language, French, before we can graduate. So it makes sense that students would be expected to understand the first language.
Don't students in the US have to have a basic understanding of spanish before they can graduate? I thought they did.

Sneaky - posted on 05/19/2011




Erin I had to mark that funny, because it made me laugh :o) Though I suspect that it was not intended that way . . . .

Ez - posted on 05/19/2011




Tracey, I bet your ex's parents were patients at my surgery. You would not believe (or maybe you would) the number of elderly Eastern Europeans who need their children or grandchildren as translators in a consult with the doctor.

Ez - posted on 05/19/2011




I don't see anything controversial about this. If I moved to a non-English speaking country, I would expect my daughter to have to learn the language in order to study and excel (as I would in order to work).

Sharon - posted on 05/18/2011




Oh trust me. Plenty kids graduate in AZ without being able to converse fully in English. Some of them can't even converse fully in Spanish.

I knew kids in highschool that couldn't write in their native language and barely could in american.

How do they graduate? Beats the hell out of me, schools get tired of them I guess. Just pass them on to get rid of them.

Joanna - posted on 05/18/2011




I think you should know at least the basics of the language where you are living.

I've been turned down jobs because I can't speak spanish, and so many of the customer service jobs here you have to know it. I live in California. It's a bummer... if you moved to the USA, learn at least a little bit, or at least enough that when you call you can say "English is bad. Can I talk Spanish to someone?" etc.

Just like if I went to live in Germany (my husband works in the automotive industry and we toyed with him getting a job there), I would get me some Rosetta Stone and at least learn the very basics.

Sneaky - posted on 05/18/2011




Why would you want to study and live in a country were you do not speak the language?

And that was rhetorical, I understand that refugees fleeing torture would happily live anywhere, I am just perplexed by people that choose to immigrate (or are war refugees) who do not even make an attempt to learn the language.

This may stem from my experience with my ex who had parents that immigrated from Serbia when he was a bay - as both got on it years they both required him to be present at every doctors appointment and so on and so forth because they could barely speak English. Sad and pathetic in my opinion.

Jenn - posted on 05/18/2011




Makes sense to me - how would you be able to graduate without speaking and understanding english?

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms