Night Owl Mk. II

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Boldfaced statements are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.

Italicized/emphasized comments prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.

My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text and are prefaced by my initials (MB).

(R) I think you're totally right when you talk about going to other countries and respecting thier cultures, but I can't say I agree to your view on the English Language. Everyone knows that English is the dominant language in the United States and in the economy. Minorities know that. If everyone knows that and is doing their best to learn English, what need is there for an English Only policy?
(MB) Minorities may "know that", but they are certainly not all trying "their best" to adopt English. There are many cases where, for example, Hispanic parents are fighting school systems for "forcing" their children to be educated in English. Some school systems have gone so far as to bring "child abuse" charges against parents who refuse to allow their children such an education.
    BTW, so that there's no misunderstanding here, I advocate "English First" and not "English Only" for our schools. In fact, I highly encourage the teaching of secondary languages as a part of the high school curriculum. However, students educated in this country without English as their primary language are almost inevitably going to be at a severe disadvantage later in life -- especially if they have much hope for a career in any technical field. I see this all too often in the computer classes I teach where those students who have difficulties with English always have more trouble than their peers.
    English in American schools should be fundamental and even more important than other basic curricula such as mathematics, science, history, and literature. While it's bad when a high school graduate has no idea what logarithms or light-years are, which side won the Civil War, or who wrote Hamlet, that person could still get along despite those holes in his knowledge. But, if he has difficulty with English (or can't speak it at all), he is going to have problems with almost all business and societal interactions throughout his entire life. Quite a price to pay for placing primary importance on "preserving his heritage".

(R) It's simply a way for conservative politicians to get votes as they try to "preserve America."
(MB) If a politician is promoting "English only", I'd agree with you. If he promotes "English First", however, I'd agree with him.

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