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Voice: Time to be beamed up, Mr. Fullerton

April 25, 2002

Beam yourself up, Señor Fullerton; anger is clouding your ability to be the advocate for the monolingual, monocultural educator elite; your response to my observations was at best, a disappointment. Que lastima.

I will not be edified by the rationale behind the labels you invent ("a very Mexican Latina"), which only reflect how you distort a student's background, nor input about your contribution to the index of student achievement in your district (only one student has an "A" in your class). I drew only upon what you wrote and learned that you are quite capable of bullying a young lady but can't cope when someone your own size calls you out.

After huffing and puffing about how you could "easily rebut each and every point," you opted to come after my alma maters and career choice, as if this tactic somehow strengthens your hand. Hardly a worthy opponent, your sputtering brought to mind the WWF vernacular, "Don't sing it, bring it!" Even calling in the Marines can't save you.

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Please continue to insist that something you heard but didn't understand, except through hearsay, undermined the "value-free" classroom you purport exists under your instruction and that you're the majority students' new best friend. Your nativist instructional agenda is illustrated in the transformation of one student, as recounted to me, after a year in your classroom; before that student entered your tutelage, there were the beginnings of an awakening to the value and benefit of having more than one language and culture. Once you were through, that student saw deficit in a second language and looked down on the culture of immigrant parents and grandparents. This, ostensibly, is your version of how students are "empowered."

There's no call for your public display of sheepskin envy; no doubt, at Humboldt, you put in the time and money, and presto, el Valle won out over job prospects at the other end of the state. If Humboldt has achieved international fame for partying rather than intellectual rigor or academic pursuit, that's no reason to denigrate the fine educators, all with doctorates, who lead and mentor the graduate programs at the local university campus. Many of my cohorts are now principals, vice principals and teacher trainers locally, which augurs mightily for your future employment prospects, should you challenge yourself beyond your current personal best. Will you muster the professional motivation or the academic discipline to pursue graduate studies or just demean those who do?

Since when did you become the poster boy for team building in your district? You state in 15 yeas, "there has never been any serious, or even minor rancor among us." If recent history is any indicator, you were hardly the paragon of "collegiality and respect" at Southwest High during a previous administration. You clearly demonstrated your propensity for "cultural or racial backbiting." Perhaps you reveal more than intended when asserting there is "not much" you can be taught about working as a team.

Let's see … your version of promoting parent involvement in school starts with blaming parents, hovers at making "suggestions" and ends with hand-wringing over "a static condition deeply rooted in a morass of serious social issues." Why would any parent want to dialogue with an instructor whose goals for their children requires the abandonment of their home language and disparagement of their cultural origins?

Grab those heart pills — here's a concept I know will be inconceivable to you: schools that involve parents as equals with teachers in the education of their children create the power to move all parties to long-term collaborative action and results.

I was not aware my input would cause you to "speak in tongues." You've never been more articulate. Your response served to illuminate the level of intellect and capacity for public discourse manifesting itself in at least one classroom locally.

FRANCISCO M. HERNANDEZ

Imperial

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