Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, February 25, 1998

Bilingual Waiver's Impact in Orange

The communities served by Orange Unified School District are now beginning to find out that the waiver created to end bilingual education in OUSD has done just the opposite. The waiver compliance requirements have actually spread bilingual programs to every school in the district.
     Compliance with the waiver can cause native-born, English-speaking children to lose up to an hour of instructional time each day. The waiver requires their classroom teacher to spend that amount of daily time working only with the students in the class who need language development help. This can mean that a class of 20 or 30 children is given busy-work to do while their teacher works with just two or three children who need language assistance.
     Furthermore, waiver compliance requires that the daily hour of language instruction be taught by a teacher who has or is working toward a Crosscultural Language and Academic Development or similar authorization from the state. Very few OUSD teachers have such authorization or are truly working toward one. The state can rule the district out of compliance and begin imposing fines and sanctions. Principals have been left to deal with these problems on their own and to suffer the liability consequences.
     In short, OUSD's bilingual waiver is serving no one's needs and is only creating real and potential problems.
     JOHN ROSSMANN, (Teacher, OUSD), Tustin