Hella. Wack. Fair warning: this report describes an extremely wack situation. As you know, we here at the Bus comb those newswebs for all kinds of between-the-cracks stories. We have one here that isn’t the biggest but is one of the most interesting in education these days.
In Wapato – just outside Yakima if you’re not knowing – the school district has decided to eliminate bilingual early education. That’s a pretty big deal, because as you probably know, Yakima, the Tri-Cities, and other Eastern Washington population centers have large and fast-growing Spanish-speaking communities. The effect? You’ve just thrown the thousands of students for whom English is not their first language squarely under the bus (notably, not this one).
The Bus would also like to call your attention to the testing dimension of this hurr article. Ugh, testing. WASL! NOOOOO! We’re with ya. Everyone involved in the Bus is part of the WASL generation and… well, we know just how much it sucks. Testing is an extremely complicated and controversial way to measure achievement and/or ability. But everyone SHOULD agree it’s definitely not a good measure of achievement or ability if you can’t read the language it’s written in.
And because recent education laws on the federal and state levels have attached school funding to test scores, teachers have to teach to the test, which is in English. So, despite the fact that bilingual education stimulates developing young brains in whoa smartcrazy ways, and in fact leads to group test scores later in careers, the fact that bilingual students don’t get good third grade test scores-and thus make less money- means that the district isn’t going to continue the program.
And that is the wackness, cousin.
*Technically, it’s the HSPE these days… but WASL just has that ring, y’know?