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Gingersnap
02-25-2009, 12:21 PM
California School Spends $10G a Year to Teach AP Spanish to Kids Who Speak Spanish

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
By Nora Zimmett

A middle school in Southern California is spending $10,000 a year to teach Advanced Placement Spanish to 35 of its 650 students -- and all but one of them are already fluent in Spanish.

Thirty-four of the kids in the AP class are from Mexico or are the children of Mexican immigrants. They all grew up speaking Spanish at home.

The program -- the only one of its kind in California -- has outraged some critics who say they are concerned that the AP course wastes public resources – including taxpayer dollars – to teach native Spanish speakers how to speak their native language in an American public school.

“In public schools, Spanish speakers should put their focus on making sure that they are fluent in English and equipped to speak the kind of English that will open the doors of opportunity to them in this country,” says K.C. McAlpin, executive director of Pro English, a non-profit organization promoting English as the official language of the United States.

“I think this school is kind of playing games with educational resources, that you know, I think any taxpayers, especially local taxpayers, would object to,” McAlpin told FOXnews.com.
But administrators at Lemon Grove Middle School, located eight miles outside San Diego, are enthusiastic about the program, which they say will help prepare the 6th- through 8th-graders for college.

“Our goal is basically to provide kids with an opportunity to excel and to feel really satisfied about doing the higher level work,” Lemon Grove School District Superintendent Ernie Anastos told FOXNews.com.

He said the AP course goes well beyond the students’ everyday conversational skills. “This is not ordering-at-a-restaurant language. This is taking a graduate course language.”

But McAlpin is not convinced. “This whole thing about building their self confidence is a bunch of hooey," he said.

"Students are not fooled by this. If anything they’re going to – they’ll be inclined to become cynical about the system. And how it can be sort of rigged in their favor.”

Ya think? :D

Fox (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,499445,00.html)

FlaGator
02-25-2009, 12:26 PM
Ya think? :D

Fox (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,499445,00.html)

Cheech Marin sung a song once that I can only recall one verse of but it fits the mood of this article.

"Mexican Americans
They like education
So they take Spanish at night school
And make a C."

megimoo
02-25-2009, 12:37 PM
Ya think? :D

Fox (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,499445,00.html)
Teaching American born kids Spanish has its merits due to travel or the study of literature in the original text but teaching kids who where born in a Spanish speaking culture is ridiculous.

My addopted daughter is a Spanish speaking nativeborn who is obviously conversant in her native tongue and tutors kids in her required Spanish classes at school .She also is an flawless English speaker that she learned from friends while attending school in America ! Learning a new Language has it's utilitarian virtues only if it is applied to some useful task ,It smacks of "Carrying coals to Newcastle ",otherwise .

noonwitch
02-25-2009, 03:34 PM
A child I work with attends one of the three good high schools in Detroit (magnet schools for advanced students). She grew up speaking spanish and english, so they won't let her take spanish as a class. She was bumming, because she was looking for the easy A.

PoliCon
02-25-2009, 03:51 PM
A child I work with attends one of the three good high schools in Detroit (magnet schools for advanced students). She grew up speaking spanish and english, so they won't let her take spanish as a class. She was bumming, because she was looking for the easy A.
We had an exchange student from Argentina during my junior year - and they made him take spanish and he benefited from the grammar he learned and said so.

BUT I think that the point here is they get more money for better grades and for getting students to pass AP exams.

biccat
02-25-2009, 04:57 PM
Meh, they probably also spend money to send English-speaking kids to AP English classes. :rolleyes:

No college worth its salt would give AP credit to kids who can already speak Spanish fluently.

PoliCon
02-25-2009, 05:54 PM
and how many of those are left?

biccat
02-26-2009, 09:23 AM
and how many of those are left?

In California? Ok, you've got me there.

But there may be some colleges in other states that would look at this and laugh.

Celtic Rose
02-26-2009, 09:40 AM
What makes me laugh is that they are offering it in Middle school. One of my friends in high school was a native Spanish speaker, but she also spoke perfect English (she actually ended up with the 2nd or 3rd highest GPA in the school) and she took independent study Spanish in High School, where she wrote serious Spanish essays and read real Spanish literature. If they want native Spanish speakers to take Spanish in school, then it should not be the same Spanish everyone else takes, it should be more like an English class, where it will really challenge them.

However, considering the state of California's schools, I don't think that is an essential area to be focusing on at the moment :cool:

cat714
02-26-2009, 11:02 PM
Nothing surprises me in this state.

belevdere
02-28-2009, 03:52 PM
If 10K is problematic, do we also think that the tens of thousands is irresponsible for athletics,band, drama etc..?

The hispanic population has the highest drop out rate in the nation, according to some reports. AP classes are one of the best dropout prevention strategies that there is, as students who enroll in such classes almost always finish high school.

It seems, then, that a better question is why aren't we doing this more for that population group? Why not capitalize on their native fluency and turn a disadvantage into a competitiive advantage?

The only reason this is even in the news is because it's a middle school. Hispanic students are free to take AP spanish in any high school, just as speakers of numerous other languages can take AP coursework in those languages. Further most middle schools offer foreign languages anyway, so why not offer a higher level class for kids who can handle it? WOuld it be better for them to take beginner Spanish?

So if we are training an at risk populatiuon group upward and setting the bar higher for them at an earlier age, isn't this a good thing?

Celtic Rose
02-28-2009, 10:14 PM
If 10K is problematic, do we also think that the tens of thousands is irresponsible for athletics,band, drama etc..?

The hispanic population has the highest drop out rate in the nation, according to some reports. AP classes are one of the best dropout prevention strategies that there is, as students who enroll in such classes almost always finish high school.

It seems, then, that a better question is why aren't we doing this more for that population group? Why not capitalize on their native fluency and turn a disadvantage into a competitiive advantage?

The only reason this is even in the news is because it's a middle school. Hispanic students are free to take AP spanish in any high school, just as speakers of numerous other languages can take AP coursework in those languages. Further most middle schools offer foreign languages anyway, so why not offer a higher level class for kids who can handle it? WOuld it be better for them to take beginner Spanish?

So if we are training an at risk populatiuon group upward and setting the bar higher for them at an earlier age, isn't this a good thing?

Lemon Grove Middle School currently has only a third of their students testing at or above "proficient" on standardized testing in English or Math. On 11% of 8th graders are proficient or above in history. The Hispanic students are performing at about the school's average. Shouldn't the focus be on getting them proficient in English before expanding their Spanish skills?

Information found here: http://www.greatschools.net/modperl/browse_school/ca/5950

Also, there is only one AP Spanish test. How will taking it in middle school help them stay enrolled in high school?

biccat
02-28-2009, 10:34 PM
The hispanic population has the highest drop out rate in the nation, according to some reports. AP classes are one of the best dropout prevention strategies that there is, as students who enroll in such classes almost always finish high school.

Um...I think you're putting the cart before the horse here. Kids who enroll in AP classes generally have more active parents and a desire to excel academically.

Putting kids in an AP class who don't care about school isn't going to make them turn into model citizens.

belevdere
02-28-2009, 11:02 PM
Um...I think you're putting the cart before the horse here. Kids who enroll in AP classes generally have more active parents and a desire to excel academically.

Putting kids in an AP class who don't care about school isn't going to make them turn into model citizens.

um...no I'm not. The only correct thing you wrote here is that kids who enroll in AP classes have more involved parents and desire to excel. That points to exactly what I am saying. If you DON'T have that advantage, usually due to socio economic situation, then it is up to the "system" to channel a student towards such ambitious goals.

Your second point is both a non sequitur and rubbish: who says that these kdis don't care about school? Who claimed anything about model citizen? You just made them both up.

belevdere
02-28-2009, 11:05 PM
Lemon Grove Middle School currently has only a third of their students testing at or above "proficient" on standardized testing in English or Math. On 11% of 8th graders are proficient or above in history. The Hispanic students are performing at about the school's average. Shouldn't the focus be on getting them proficient in English before expanding their Spanish skills?



Nice try, to be more than generous, but this is a classic example of a false dilemma. Just because they are sharpening their native language skills does not preclude their further study of English.In fact, adding to their native language skills will further their 2nd language skills. For you to have implied otherwise, I conclude that you are not fluent in academic langugae in any language other than English. N'est-ce pas?

Information found here: http://www.greatschools.net/modperl/browse_school/ca/5950


Also, there is only one AP Spanish test. How will taking it in middle school help them stay enrolled in high school?

Because taking AP classes is one of the best indicators of high school graduation. And you are wrong, again, there are two AP Spanish tests. Language and Literature. By taking the language test first, you increase your chances of passing the lit test. But keep throwing your feelings and guesses out there. A monkey will hit a dart board eventually if they just keep throwing those darts.

Celtic Rose
02-28-2009, 11:37 PM
Nice try, to be generous, but this is a classic example of a false dilemma. Just because they are sharpening their native language skills does not preclude their further study of English.

Information found here: http://www.greatschools.net/modperl/browse_school/ca/5950



Because taking AP classes is one of the best indicators of high school graduation. And you are wrong, again, there are two AP Spanish tests.

Actually, the dilemma is not about what the children have the ability to study, but how the school allocates its resources. Currently, the school is spending a little over $8,000 per child (based on district expenditures per student), which is already $2,000 less than the state average. If there was evidence that they are successfully educating children with that money, I wouldn't really care if they were providing more Spanish classes, but they obviously are underfunded and not succeeding in even getting their student proficient in English.

And I apologize, I took the French AP, not Spanish AP. Mea Culpa, I overlooked the Spanish literature AP test.

I assume that the study you are referring to looked at student actually taking AP classes during High School. I repeat my question, if the children take the AP test while in Middle School, then they most likely would not take AP Spanish in High School, and therefore that would not necessarily be a determining factor in whether or not they stayed in High School. Most people I know who took AP classes took multiple AP classes and were very driven individuals in general. I don't know of anybody who only took only one AP class, and I would guess that those individuals are in the minority. If you have information showing otherwise, I would happily look at it. I doubt that one AP class, taken before they even enter high school, is going to be the determining factor.

My opinion is that the best way to keep kids in school through high school is strong English skills, alternative career programs/apprenticeship programs, and preventing teenage pregnancy (Hispanic girls have some of the highest rates of teenage pregnancy). English is one of the most vital tools of success that we can offer children in the US. If we want them to succeed in school, they need strong English skills. If we want them to go to College, then they need strong English skills. This is especially vital for children for whom English is not their native language.

Celtic Rose
02-28-2009, 11:58 PM
Nice try, to be more than generous, but this is a classic example of a false dilemma. Just because they are sharpening their native language skills does not preclude their further study of English.In fact, adding to their native language skills will further their 2nd language skills. For you to have implied otherwise, I conclude that you are not fluent in academic langugae in any language other than English. N'est-ce pas?

Information found here: http://www.greatschools.net/modperl/browse_school/ca/5950



Because taking AP classes is one of the best indicators of high school graduation. And you are wrong, again, there are two AP Spanish tests. Language and Literature. By taking the language test first, you increase your chances of passing the lit test. But keep throwing your feelings and guesses out there. A monkey will hit a dart board eventually if they just keep throwing those darts.

En fait, j’étudiais le francais pendant lycée et université, et je faisais trés bien. Mon matière secondaire était francais.

I studied some German in college as well.

The AP language test is for fairly basic language skills.

By the way, nice try at condescension, I'm devastated by your comments ;)