As Never Was

A couple of weeks ago, the San Jose Mercury News carried a large, photo-filled front-page “community interest” story, which caught my eye (Latino Baby Boom Changing Demographics in California, Mike Swift, July 29, 2007, Front Page).

The focus was on the local aspects of California’s burgeoning Latino immigrant population.  Now I’d suspect that most anti-immigrationists would regard the article as being just a soft mainstream-media-liberal “puff piece,” and I’m not sure that I could really argue with this assessment. Certainly the reporter seemed to avoid or ignore any “controversial” issues in the piece, mostly just quoting the proud work of teachers of Latino immigrant children and various generally pro-immigrationist academics. Yet this precise desire to avoid anything associated with the slightest hint of controversy is what makes certain aspects of the article so personally interesting to me.

For example, the director of Santa Clara County’s child development programs casually states: “Our goal is that they [Latino immigrant children] become fluent in English by the time they’re ready for kindergarten…That’s where we’re trying to close the achievement gap, by supporting English so they can do well in school.”

Frankly, this does indeed seem like a plausible, worthy, and non-controversial goal for a local educational administrator. But I suspect in the relatively recent past others might have taken sharp issue with my perspective.

And a certain two-word noun structure, once so enormously common in educational circles, is totally absent from this article, continuing its near-total disappearance from media education articles for the last six or seven years. I wonder if the Oxford English Dictionary has a policy for removing words which have ceased to be part of our language to match their policy of adding new words as they appear.

“As never was…”

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