Saturday, May 27, 2006

English in Yuma County is hit and miss.

Immigration: Incredible the excuses given by some people where English should be learned by everyone who doesn't speak it when they come to America.

Mindy McClain has attended the same state-sponsored child-care training program for years. But this year, when she signed up and paid her $20 fee, she was told that the program, which is funded through the Arizona Department of Economic Security, would be presented in Spanish instead of English for the first time. If she wanted to hear it in English, she would be provided with a translating device. "I'm like, excuse me ... I don't think so," said McClain, the director of the Children's Center preschool in Yuma. She and 10 other women demanded their money back and promised not to attend. "I feel very offended," McClain said. Since then, the DES has given in to pressure from McClain and a few others, and the program will be held in English, despite the fact that 85 percent of those attending will be Spanish-speaking caregivers, according to Lourdes Encinas, who helped organize the event. "It's bad enough that with a bachelor's degree, I can't go out and get a well-paying job with benefits I'm qualified for because I don't speak Spanish in my own country," McClain said.
McClain is not very tolerant, she should celebrate the multicult and diversity.
Linda Elliott-Nelson, a Spanish professor and division chair of modern languages at AWC, said it makes sense for the government to look for one "commonality" that would bring Americans together, adding that translation can be expensive. And yet she said it is understandable why immigrants would want to hold on to their own languages. "People identify themselves very strongly with their language," she said, adding that diversity brings an "energy" to American culture.
It is understandable, but that is no excuse to not learn the language.
"It's a good thing and it's well past time" that English was made the nation's official language, said Barb Sutton, director of the Yuma Reading Council, a literacy center that receives federal funds to give free English classes. Sutton said there are weekslong waiting lists at the Reading Council to take English classes, but that a lack of funding for English instruction and a lack of motivation on the part of non-English speakers keeps the numbers of those taking classes way below what the need is. "Why are there not 10,000 people in line (to take English)? Think about it. Yuma County is what, 140,000 people? How many times do you go out in the course of a day and see people that seemingly do not speak English? It just happened to me at Wal-Mart," Sutton said.
The fact English hasn't been pushed as a national language is why there is no motivation to speak it in areas where now the majority speak another language.
San Luis, Ariz., resident Jorge Gallegos said if the government wants everyone to learn English, it needs to provide the means for people to do it. The problem, he said, is that many immigrants are working long hours and preoccupied with meeting basic needs and so have little time to learn English. "Imagine the people that work in the fields ... how do they have time to learn a language?" he asked. Gallegos speaks English, but his wife Guadalupe doesn't, despite having lived in the U.S. for over two decades. "My children still scold me for it," she said, while working in her family-owned butcher shop in San Luis.
No, the government is not your parent and shouldn't have to hold your hand. The wife not learning even a smidge of English while being here for over 20 years shows a lack of will to learn. Read the Article, the whiny by some is a bit annoying.

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