Sunday, December 18, 2005

Language Police




During this past week I read two separate news stories from Belgium and Kansas which shared a common theme of language promotion/protection interconnected with government bureaucrats affecting private citizens' lives:

Belgium -- from The Bulletin magazine comes this headline, "Homes for Dutch-speakers only" which is an amazing article focused on the Region of Flanders, the Flemish (Belgian Dutch that is) speaking region of Belgium. It appears that Housing Minister for the Flanders Region, Marino Keulen, announced that "future housing (PUBLIC HOUSING) would only be provided to Dutch-speakers." This troubles me greatly and should trouble the European Union's leadership given the clear violation of human rights via this government discrimination. The biggest problem here is the concept of PUBLIC HOUSING itself. In this example the government is forcing the poor to speak or learn Flemish (which is NOT a growing world language so the value of knowing it is VERY limited) in return for government provided housing. So why not add a religious belief requirement for housing applicants along with a "one child policy only" (see China's free and open society for reference) . The solution of course is to get the government out of the housing market completely by divesting/privitizing all such projects by selling to residents/applicants at low prices so the poor become members of the "ownership society".

Kansas -- from a wire service in the Pioneer Press newspaper in Minnesota I read this headline, "Spanish speaker gets school apology". Apparently Zach Rubin, a junior at a Kansas City, Kansas high school known as Endeavor Alternative School was sent home by Superintendent Jennifer Watts on November 28th for "talking in Spanish at lunch and later in the day........" Now assuming this story is accurate in terms of this being the reason Senor Rubin was sent home for I can't help but ask --- "How completely ignorant is Ms. Watts and is this school guilty of violating federal law?" . The hypocrisy of the education establishment here is overwhelming given its mandated "diversity training and tolerance" policies as evidenced by this school's website content which is copied below:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/12/08/AR2005120802122.html
Endeavor Alternative School2540 Junction RoadKansas City, KS 66106
Phone: 913-288-3690Fax: 913-288-3691
Principal: Jennifer Watts / Secretary: Cheryl Waters

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER
USD 202 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, handicap/disability, or age as to treatment of students in programs and as to employment.
Persons having inquiries concerning the District's compliance with Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination Act may contact the school district's ADA and Section 504 Coordinator, Mr. Craig R. Shove, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services, 800 South 55th Street, Kansas City, Kansas 66106, 913-288-4100.

Apparently this Equal Opportunity statement does not include "Language" given Senor Rubin's suspension.

Perhaps there are some other factors, history with this student which led to Ms. Watts' decision to suspend this student but shouldn't this administrator give some serious thought to the globalized economy our current students will have to compete in? Has Ms. Watts ever heard of NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) which includes the USA, Canada, and MEXICO, which the last time I checked was a Spanish-speaking nation so being bi-lingual like Senor Rubin is clearly an economic advantage not a disruption for this school that requires Ms. Watts' fascist response.

Muy malo Ms. Watts,

Todd

2 comments:

jdsqrd said...

So, to live in Flanders public housing would one have to say "Okily dokily" frequently or end phrases in "-iddly?"

The KCK school district commented that they were surprised the spanish speaking student was suing them because they appologized. Heads need to roll in the office of that school.

tcjs said...
This comment has been removed by the author.