We are shocked, shocked!

Two weeks ago, the front-page Commentary section of the Washington Post carried a powerful 1500 word essay by Superintendent Ken Noonan of Oceanside, explaining his changed views on bilingual education. Noonan discussed the dramatic rise in test scores since his district switched from teaching in Spanish to teaching in English.

Last week, Stephen Krashen and James Crawford, two of America’s leading bilingual advocates replied with the letter below, expressing surprise that Oceanside’s “bilingual” programs had previously emphasized Spanish. As my own letter notes, Krashen and Crawford have apparently never visited an actual school in twenty years, since almost every so-called “bilingual ed” program in America aimed at Latino students is mostly just Spanish.

Thus, the test scores of the immigrant students in English-oriented Oceanside are now far higher than those in other California districts clinging to bilingual ed, since these still just teach Spanish.

Furthermore, the two recent articles from New York newspapers which follow indicate that programs in that state are no different, quoting a woman named Martina Ramos who transferred her daughter to Catholic school because it taught English rather than just Spanish. If Krashen and Crawford actually begin visiting bilingual programs, they might be very, very surprised—and should be very, very ashamed of the millions of immigrant children whose education and lives they have helped to destroy.

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