October 7, 2007
Why not Spanish? Because we have already tried a system of “separate, but equal” in America and equal it was not. While Mr. Kraus (“Why Spanish? Why not!” Sierra Sun Oct. 5) and other’s intentions are admirable, the policy of printing everything in both languages is not constructive. Mr. Kraus fantasizes about cross-cultural understanding. However, empirical evidence from multi-lingual societies shows a reality of division, conflict and inequality.
Mr. Kraus expresses concern for our Latino neighbors and the difficulty of facing a foreign language everyday. I’ve known that. I spent two years as a guest worker in Germany. I didn’t speak German when I arrived, and the first months were very hard. Anyone who has mastered a second language will tell you that immersion is the best way to learn. After six months I was speaking fluently. By nine months I was teaching classes in German. To learn faster, I read German papers and insisted people speak to me in German. Asking immigrants here to do the same is not cruel or unreasonable.
But what message is sent by this separate-lingual policy? Everyone reading this has ancestors, or themselves, who learned English as a second language. Why the expectation that Latinos, alone among all immigrants, are not up to the task? Is this the subtle bigotry of lower expectations?
And why use the term “Anglo” to lump all English speakers together? Anglo refers to English ancestry. English speaking America, however, is not a monochrome entity to be juxtaposed to a Spanish alternative. America’s hybrid vigor is the delicious result of the melting pot. Why discard such a successful recipe?
Learning a second language was one of the most rewarding things I have done. It is counterproductive to encourage immigrants not to. Fortunately, most Spanish speakers I know want to learn. Maybe instead of dual language flyers and signs the schools could offer free English classes for parents. The two language policy advocated by our school board trustee and the Sierra Sun’s separate Spanish section promotes linguistic segregation at the expense of integration.
I don’t know the writer of the letter to the editor “Poor planning” (Sierra Sun Oct. 5), but I do know John Britto, and found your letter to be rather short sighted. John has a lot on his plate and does a lot of things, but poor planning doesn’t happen to be one of them.
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Your letter implies that Mr. Britto, the facilities department, and the school board sat around all summer and failed to get around to addressing improvements on the football field until now. All of the publicly appointed employees you refer to work year round, and have perhaps been working on that beautiful new middle school and high school you see adjacent to the football field. Mr. Britto and the rest of the facilities department are in charge of the maintenance, repair and development for all of the schools and district facilities (office space, transportation depot, satellite schools) within the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.
At the end of the day, John Britto and his crew have maintained all of the other schools in our district, in addition to district office space, while building two new ones. It is impressive the football field even made the “to do” list this year. I don’t know if you have toured the innovative North Tahoe middle and high schools, or if you have seen the new gym or dining facility at Truckee High, or have witnessed any of the other improvements at other schools and TTUSD sites, but my guess is no.
If you had, instead of writing a letter attempting to degrade John Britto’s work, you would stop and shake the man’s hand.
The Bear League is incorrect in stating that “No black bear (only species left in California and Nevada) has ever killed a person in all of history…” Bear Report Sierra Sun Oct. 5). Quite the contrary. As stated in Dr. Lynn L. Roger’s article “How Dangerous are Black Bears ” Can We Co-exist?”, “It remains a fact that wild black bears have killed nearly three dozen people across North America this century.”
This article can be found at http://www.bear.org/Black/Articles/How_Dangerous_are_Black_Bears.html
Misinformation can be dangerous.
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