Voice: Elias opinion was racist

November 13, 2001

As a resident of Calexico for approximately 45 years, I strongly disagree with Mr. Thomas Elias' opinion that you published in your newspaper on Tuesday. What stuck in my mind the most was, quote: "Most analyses of the newest test scores showed that, as usual, the performance of limited-English speakers dragged down the overall record of all students but not nearly as much on the second- to fifth-grade levels as in higher grades."

For those who weren't around in the 60s and beginning of the 70s, those students who didn't know how to speak English were placed in the "mentally retarded" classes.

Again the immigrant is being blamed for something or other, for now Mr. Elias chooses student test scores.

What Mr. Elias is focusing on is academic achievement, that for all due purposes is a very important part of teaching a person.

Now, what about the students self-identity? Is not his language part of his culture, being Mexican or Asian or any other race? Why would you deny somebody his culture?


Is the idea that test scores and academics are everything so that the immigrant does not "drag down his fellow students," therefore we blame the lack of progress in education on the immigrant or the non-English-speaker?

Give me a break! I'm sorry, but this is very racist. What Mr. Elias is saying is that if you do not speak English, you are less.

I agree that you should teach English to the immigrant or the person that is sitting in your classroom, but not at the expense of his language, thus his culture. My opinion is that we should have bilingual teachers who have the capacity to communicate in two languages and in this way have a more self-confident and reliant student and to further enable him/her to relate as a defined person to the rest of society.

This will make the student come to terms with who he is identity-wise, Mexican-American, Chicano, Latino, American, etc., becoming bicultural. Isn't that what this great country is all about?


Attorney at Law


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