I minored in Spanish when I was in college. When California decided to experiment with bilingual education, I volunteered to be a bilingual kindergarten teacher. The districts that I taught in on the Central Coast, Guadalupe and Santa Maria-Bonita, supported the program with good materials and training.
We were very successful in educating native Spanish speakers to become English speaking and reading students. Most students were able to transition into English-only classes by third grade.
Fresh in my mind is an experience in presenting the sound and letter “W.” W does not appear in the Spanish language alphabet. I presented the flash card with a picture of a watermelon. I said “Wuh” and he said “sandia.” This opened my mind to how futile it is to try to teach a person to read in a language he does not speak.
When I run into my students, I have never met one who speaks broken English. I have met some who are teachers, lawyers and generally successful citizens.
By now we have many bilingual college graduates, especially in Fresno. It is my considered opinion that this time Fresno Unified School District will get it right. Vote “yes” on Proposition 58!
Bernice Requenez, Fresno