Heavily accented teachers removed from Arizona classrooms - It keeps getting better

Heavily accented teachers removed from Arizona classrooms - It keeps getting better

School districts in Arizona are under orders from the state's Department of Education to remove from classrooms teachers who speak English with a very heavy accent or whose speech is ungrammatical.

Officials say they want students who don’t know much English to have teachers who can best model how to speak the language, but, according to The Wall Street Journal, some principals and administrators are concerned that the standards for removal are arbitrary.

The recent move by the department comes during the political firestorm over a new law in Arizona which requires police to question anyone who appears to be in the country illegally. It is the most restrictive immigration law in the country.

Arizona's education department has sent people into schools to audit teachers on comprehensible pronunciation, correct grammar and good writing. Teachers who fail may try to improve, but if they don’t, school districts can fire or reassign them.

The Journal’s report says that critics of the new teachers policy believe the education department was encouraged by the new law, and that targeting teachers with heavy accents is just part of the anti-immigration movement in Arizona.

School officials say that is nonsense, and that kids should have teachers who they understand.

About 150,000 of Arizona’s 1.2 million public school students are classified as English Language Learners, the Journal said.

Nobody can argue that kids don’t deserve teachers whom they can easily understand, and teachers who use proper grammar. I’ve been in classrooms where I couldn’t understand a teacher, and in classrooms where a teacher’s grammar made me wince.

The issue here is how to determine which teachers really should be in the classroom and which ones shouldn’t be. Speech that one child can’t understand could be completely comprehensible to most of the students.

How does one fairly draw the line on grammatical mistakes? Hardly anyone speaks English perfectly according to the rules of grammar. Quick: Give me an example of the pluperfect and the future subjunctive. Is it enough to toss out a teacher because he or she routinely misuses the verb "to be?"

Uncovering exactly how Arizona goes about this will be most interesting.

3 Comments

4 years 33 weeks ago, 8:51 AM

Pkato

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more and more each day!!!

Patrolman Kato
Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself.
They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone
under independence. -- George Washington
4 years 33 weeks ago, 9:23 AM

greg az

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We all know that lawyers are lining up to fight our new law, and this one has enough holes in it to throw the proverbial cat thru..

I'm thrilled that were dealing with education, what a colossal mess that is.. Unfortunately when you have a poorly defined, and arbitrary law like this..

My guess is superintendents have been told to make sure they have supportive documentation .. complaints from other staff, or parents.. some documented prior counseling etc..

Just thrilled we have a "normal" post... Should we get a quality new member maybe they will stumble on to this one before the "dementmeisters".. course ya got agree with me here.. Our brother Schuyler is probably the only one who could define the pluperfect and the future subjunctive.. For me I'm just thrilled when the spell check works... as i know all of you are..

Got to go my brothers, "normal" doc stuff down in the valley, and picking up pooches to dog sit for the youngest..Who's still single if any one has the right dowry for greg.. She's gonna cost ya an N frame S&W, and a Colt 1911...none of these cheap ass knock offs.. see ya guys later.

a man has to hold his word, hold his beliefs, and hold a good sight picture.
4 years 33 weeks ago, 10:51 AM

Schuyler

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My ex was a teacher so I got a first-hand glimpse at the profession. There are a couple of preambles to education as a profession. At the risk of pissing off teachers, there is an old adage that "those who can, do; those who can't, teach." That may be a little unfair because I'm sure we've all known some truly brilliant teachers. Someone who majors in mathematics or physics and then teaches is worth their weight in gold.

However, a degree in education is an easy degree. People who are savvy in math and science, engineering or business, gravitate to those subjects. People who are less gifted drift toward social sciences and teaching. You can get a bachelor's degree in these subjects by showing up for class and passing relatively easy tests. That's a fact.

The second issue is that in many politically correct institutions allowances are made for students with fewer "advantages." People are awarded degrees because of who they are rather than what they know or have accomplished. So you wind up with certified teachers who have become teachers based on bluster rather than competence. School administrators come out of the same population of teachers and are part of the problem, but they also put up with this because they are afraid of lawsuits if they do not. When it's exclusively about diversity, competence suffers.

Now let's head the other way for a spell. My ex was an elementary school teacher who taught first through fourth grades. By all accounts she was a pretty good teacher. Teachers liked her. Parents liked her. Students liked her. But if you tried to 'test' her on future pluperfect tense she wouldn't know what the hell you were talking about. She spoke fourth-grade-ese, grammatically, but not at a college level. So I think you have to be careful to evaluate teachers appropriately and in context with what their real-world jobs are. Generic competency tests for teachers must be assessed wisely.

Then I'm reminded of my uncle by marriage, Vladimir Ivanovich Krasowsky. We called him Walt. He was a Russian immigrant who fled the Communists and came to America. He became a citizen and was as patriotic as any of us. He knew six languages fluently. He got a job as a German teacher. He was brilliant, but he could not pronounce his "r"s or "th" worth beans. It was comical to listen to him and he wasn't always 100% grammatical either. After all, he had to sort out six different languages' rules in his head on the fly, some of which didn't even use our alphabet.

Would you fire this guy because he had an accent? I sure wouldn't. He was one of the best teachers they had in that school. He knew the value of hard work and freedom, and he was very demanding. You VILL learn German in his class!

I understand and agree with the intent here, but it looks a little superficial to me. The trend is great! I just hope they apply this wisely.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke
samD's picture
Posted by: samD
4 years 33 weeks ago
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