Sunday, March 18, 2007

They Can't Speak English And You're Going To Teach Them Chinese?

In this first article we learn that BEV is the rule of the day at some schools - BEV is Black English Vernacular - or more commonly - Ebonics.

It is usually littered with foul language, poor grammar, and degrading comments to women and other minorities - but here is a sanitized example:

Ebonics:
"You gots to git those Benjamins so you cin git dat bling-bling fo yo ride"
English:
"You need to get money so that you can get expensive accessories for your car."


In my opinion Ebonics is not a language - it is illiteracy glorified to the status of language, and allowing kids in school to continue speaking it is allowing illiteracy to flourish, in order to keep the masses down and stupid.

However, the Rochester City School District officials say it's OK for students and teachers to speak Ebonics in class. The newsletter, Diversity Dialogue, suggests teachers use BEV to communicate with students.

It says teachers can:
- Switch into BEV in specific situations or informal discussion.
- Translate common phrases in Standard English into BEV.
- Read and retell stories in both BEV and Standard English.

"We need to embrace the diversity they bring into our schools," said the district's Chief of Diversity and Leadership, Michele Hancock.

We want (teachers) to have a better understanding of what BEV is so they can incorporate it into their teaching. That way, they're not alienating the students who are speaking the vernacular and degrading them. Ebonics is defined as a speech pattern used by some African-Americans that does not follow standard grammar.

I think those "educators" need to have their teaching credentials revoked, and those kids need to learn how to speak proper English to be able to succeed in life. Taxpayers in Rochester should fire those Bozos and find educators who will give them their money's worth.

In a related story, it is believed that learning to speak Chinese is of utmost importance.
Interest in learning Chinese has surged in the United States, as China has risen as a global and economic power. In 2000, there were about 5,000 students studying Mandarin Chinese in U.S. public schools, according to the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages. Now that number is between 30,000 and 50,000, leaving states and districts scrambling to find enough qualified teachers.

The federal government has provided one of the biggest boosts for Chinese. In January 2006, President Bush announced the National Security Language Initiative to increase Americans’ proficiency in “critical languages” such as Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, Hindi, Japanese and Russian. The program handed out $22 million in grants to states and districts to set up or expand language programs.

The program is why the number of Connecticut students studying Chinese has increased tenfold over the last two years, from 300 to 3,000 students, said Mary Ann Hansen, the state education department’s World Languages consultant. Last year Connecticut hosted five Chinese teachers, and this year added another four with help from Hanban. One school that used a volunteer last year hired a teacher from Connecticut this year.
We have Chinese being taught in our local public schools in West Hartford. In fact our previous CT Commissioner of Education, Betty Sternberg (now superintendent of schools in Greenwich), went to China 2 years ago and brought back all kinds of "best practices" to share - along with lots of awards and trinkets from the Chinese which adorn her walls to this day. It was enough to make you gag.

Unfortunately they are teaching the wrong version of Chinese. I personally know a wonderful woman, Pei-Pei Champion, who spends her time educating people about the way the language was changed for political reasons. She conducts Chinese classes here in CT. She is an incredible woman and I applaud her efforts to bring "pre Mao" Chinese to those who wish to truly learn the language. Pei Pei refers to the simplified characters, created under the rule of Chairman Mao Ze Dong during the communist revolution, as a kind of plague upon her language. Chairman Mao wanted to eliminate the Chinese characters, viewing them as part of the “old culture” that he sought to break away from. Actually he wanted to eliminate any way for people to know about their own past. Every good dictator knows the importance of cutting people off from their past, and it is especially important to make it so they cannot read original documents from their own history (providing they still exist).

Yet, I just knew that there was an underlying plot unfolding: even the little papers in the fortune cookies were attempting to teach us all Chinese. I guess we'll need to know the language when our country goes totally Communist, especially while me and my homeys be chillin' in da crib.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well it's about time!

As a black woman, ( I'm not an African American; one of my girlfriends is from Kenya, she is African married to an American ) I'm glad that someone has the good sense to bring this up. I was never allowed to speak that way in my own home growing up. My parents told my brother and myself that they were not raising idiots.

Ebonics is Jesse Jacksons' curse on the black community. After Dr. King died he needed to keep his position of power. Keeping blacks ignorant was the key, and he has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. Apparently his Senator son, Jesse Jr. has felt the need to keep this torch lit.

My grandmother is very angry about the state of black people today. She thinks that we were better off during segregation. Back then, we were motivated to strive to be better, and to keep improving ourselves BECAUSE of our situation! At 87 she is disgusted by the wasted years of struggle during the civil rights movement, only to see that we are doing the majority of holding us back YOURSELVES!

This is a good point to make about success. Chris Rock said it best: there's a way to speak if you want to get a job, and a way to speak if you don't.

That's my 2 cents.

Colin Urban said...

Your insistence on the teaching of pre-Mao Chinese as opposed to the stated purpose of teaching the students Chinese -- to learn to communicate. It makes little sense to teach a "dialect" that has fallen into disuse (for any reason). I understand your desire to maintain a dying culture but it should not be taught in place of a "current" language.

Teaching pre-Mao instead of modern written Chinese would be like teaching Latin instead of Spanish, of great educational value but little practical use.