Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Spanish in kindergarten?

I know this might be a controversial issue but I am the type of girl who speaks her mind, whether it is politically correct or not. So here it goes: My 5-year-old niece came home the other day and she told me that she was learning how to speak Spanish. At first I thought she was just playing around, but no, she was serious. She started counting and naming things in this foreign language.

I know that in this day and age America has had to adjust to the ever-so-increasing Spanish population but come on, a kindergarten student learning Spanish? What's next, pre-school children learning Chinese? How far do we have to bow down to the foreign population?

I understand that if I were going to Mexico or China, for example, then I would have to learn their language. I know that they don't have to adjust and learn my language just because I am in their country.

So why is it that my 5-year-old niece is learning Spanish? This question intrigued me very much.

It seems that our educators have forgotten that we are in America and our No. 1 language is English. How can my niece learn the basics of English and America if she has to study two different languages and cultures at the same time? I remember when I went to kindergarten my biggest task was making sure I knew the steps to the square dance at my graduation ceremony.

I know that our country is merging into the ever-changing population, but why are we letting our children get mixed up into it? Now, many businesses have Spanish speakers or have options like "press 1 to hear this message in Spanish," but what I don't understand is why we are allowing these foreign languages to change our way of life.

I recently held a garage sale and most of my customers spoke Spanish, which wasn't that abnormal since Hailey and Bellevue's population is starting to become mostly of Spanish descent. But what really bothered me was that most of the adults had their children translate for them. I don't understand why people come in to this country expecting their children to learn the language but not learn it themselves. They are having us bow down to them and learn their language when it should be the other way around.

You may have a good argument against these things I say. And you might even be angry because you have a different view of things than I do. All I know is that as a kindergarten student just trying to learn the beginnings of our complicated society, educators do not need to add a second language and culture on top of that. I know in today's society that it is smart to learn Spanish but I also think it should be an optional choice; we do not give them such choices at such a young age, and I believe they should have choice in what kind of languages they want to learn.

As educators in America, lets try to focus on this country. I know the president isn't, so let's try to do the opposite and make things right at home the way our forefathers would want it.

And please, don't try to come back and tell me that we are all illegal immigrants because the Indians were here first. The Indians didn't make what America is today by themselves. I, being of Indian descent, know that Indians did contribute to today's society but America is what it is today because of what work natural-born citizens and legal immigrants over the years have put into it.

Cindy Williams


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