It seems that educationists in California are beset by an uproar, and buzz in circles like flies on a plate-glass window, and gnash their hands, and wring their teeth, and nigh about expire of appalledness, or appallation, or appallment. It’s because they have made a great discovery.
The immediate cause of fluttering in the educational hen-house is tests showing that, in the two years since California eliminated bilingual schooling, little Pedro and Conchita have learned just a whole lot of English. Yep. Their scores have shot up like corn in Iowa, oops, except in places that kept bilingualism, where, heh, they didn’t shoot up, oops again.
Who would have thought it?
Here, test your wits against California’s professionals of schooling: If you teach children in English, they will learn . . . what? (1) Hindustani; (2) How to grow garden herbs; (3) Tantric meditation; or (4) English.
How did you do?
Very bad news, that. Many egos, grants, cushy useless jobs, and points of attachment to the federal udder will be endangered. For years a vast bureaucracy has insisted that the way to get Mexican kids to learn English was to make sure they didn’t speak it. Only on the Left Coast would this, the notion that people learn a language by using it, be a major insight. I guess the sun’s pretty hot out in California, and they don’t have enough hats to go around.
Now, I got rid of cable television a year ago. I figured that if the good lord chose to make idiots, that was his business, but I wasn’t going to pay thirty bucks a month to look at them. Before that, I used to watch the Spanish channels to keep up my comprehension. Bilingualism loomed as a large political taco, a staple of news and magazine shows, right up there with OVNIs (flying saucers) swarming over Puerto Rico, and images of the Virgin of Guadalupe appearing in someone’s tortillas.
The Spanish newsies rather liked bilingual schooling, being the same rabbit-brained elitists that we suffer with in English. But when the TV folk did hombre-in-the-street interviews, the answer was usually, “No, quiero que mis hijos aprendan Ingles.” No, I want my kids to learn English. Asked why, they invariably said, “Because this is where we live now. If they want good jobs, they have to learn English. They aren’t learning now.”
That works for me. Are you having trouble with it?
Now, if you are sensible, you will no doubt ask why alleged professionals, paid by Californians to run the schools, are too stupid to be other than clueless about it. But if you were cynical, you might ask, “Are they too stupid? Or were they deliberately trying to keep Mexican kids from learning?” Yeah, I know, that sounds pretty cynical. Almost paranoid. But . . . I think it’s the right question.
I mean, isn’t it a trifle, well, odd that when Hispanic parents were less than enthusiastic about bilingualism, the educational establishment was solidly in favor?
Note that the merchants of bilingualism are not disinterested advocates of truth and beauty. No. They are part and parcel of the militant smorgasbord of feminists, multiculturalists, lesbians, abortion-wackos, gays, anti-marriage-and-family types, therapizers, feminizers of the military, and feelings-uber-knowledgers. Bilingualism doesn’t exist in isolation, as does a decision on whether to build a new library. It’s very much on the agenda of an army of what would have been Marxists thirty years ago.
Two things stand out about these cultural vandals. First, their juvenility. Their underlying desire seems to be to get even with America — or, actually, with their parents, or the unsatisfactory nature of existence itself, among which they don’t adequately distinguish. The world just isn’t good enough for them. Certainly you and I are not. And like teenagers in their James Dean stage, they want to infuriate their parents, meaning the nearest people in authority. Society. Us. Thus they exhibit the absolutism and moral arrogance of pampered adolescents. They suffer — don’t you think? — from arrested development. More correctly, we suffer from their arrested development.
Note the constant demands calculated to enrage the majority, the equivalent of a pubescent fifteen-year-old’s wearing ghetto-bag clothes and nose rings.
Second (and closely related) they viscerally loathe American (i.e., grown-up) society. Note the unvarying effort to divide the country. They set black against white, gays against normal people, men against women, women and gays against the military. In particular, they endeavor to set any culture against Western culture, which they hate and depend on for air-conditioning. It isn’t inadvertent.
Now, what if young Pedro and Conchita learned English? Well, they would probably begin to mix with the Gringos. They might go to college. You can’t tell, they might marry Gringos. (Might, my Aunt Suzie’s hat — the one with the purple feathers. Mexicans are attractive people, a point not likely to be lost on the American high-schooler.) If things went really badly, the immigrants might become happy and prosperous Americans. This tragedy has afflicted other new arrivals, after all.
In short, if Hispanics learned English, they might join the enemy.
So what the Smorgasbord needs is keep everybody separate and at each other’s throats. Bilingual education, which doesn’t work, is well-suited to preventing assimilation. It is both effective and susceptible to being based on high moral principles.
Consider the parallel with Ebonics, a degraded English. The inability to speak normally is one of the greatest bars to the advancement of blacks. If a young man applies for a job and says, “Hey, I be needin’ some money, know what I’m sayin’?” the interviewer, after decrypting this, will explain that he does in fact have an opening, and that it was to the applicant’s rear, and has a doorknob on it. The same applicant, saying, “Good morning, I’m Robert Smith, and I’m seeking employment?” would in all likelihood end up on the payroll. Not good. Another inauthentic defector created.
Look at who supported Ebonics, and who opposed it. Uh-huh.
Best I can tell, the Smorgasbord doesn’t have a dime’s worth of interest in harmony, happiness, or success of Hispanic kids, or black ones, or in anything beyond its own resentments. And so it encourages the crippling aspects of the ghetto as embodying the Authentic Black Experience, and works to keep Latinos isolated in the barrio, in their place. Bilingualism, a cynic might say, has nothing to do with education. It is the Smorgasbord’s adolescence continued by other means.
That’s what you might think if you were a cynic. But I’m not. I’m going now, to meet the Tooth Fairy for lunch, and then we’re going to go to Snow White’s house, and listen to a lecture on politics by the Mad Hatter.