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