Bilingual Advocacy: Even the Small Things Make a Huge Difference

by multilingualmania on February 12, 2010

in Uncategorized

A few days ago I wrote about a school secretary who had been fired for speaking Spanish to parents in North Carolina. Yesterday I saw that there is a petition that is being sent to the district to change the English-only, “no Spanish” rule.

If you have a few moments, please take the time by filling out the petition here.

I’m an administrator of bilingual education programs, and trust me when I say that this type of disgrace happens even in schools with bilingual programs as well as school where the population is bilingual.

It’s unacceptable, and it often continues to happen because as bilingual advocates we don’t speak out and hold people accountable for discriminatory behavior.

Sometimes people have told me that they think that something as slight as signing a petition has no ability to change policy. This is far from the truth. As a school district level administrator, it has been my personal experience that many things do not change until parents or the public cause an uproar. Even a small uproar has a huge impact on getting schools and school districts to change policies.

Many people who read my blog are parents of young children who may not have children yet in bilingual programs, or their children recently started school. Sometimes I think that many people who I have met through my blog are in that “romantic stage” of bilingualism, and often underestimate the struggles and fights that we have to maintain our bilingual programs, or provide support to Spanish-speaking parents as evidenced in this particular case.

As parents and bilingual educators, it’s imperative that we understand that bilingual education is a constant struggle and we must be staunch advocates for our programs.

If you have a chance, please fill out the petition. You never know if you will need other people to help you in a cause that is devoted to protecting your bilingual program at your school or your child’s school.

About the Author: Melanie McGrath is a bilingual education fanatic. She passionately thinks, lives and dreams about multilingual education every waking and sleeping moment of her life. Seriously. Melanie is an administrator of bilingual education programs, and considers herself to be an advocate for students, parents, teachers, and others in the struggle for quality bilingual education programs.  As founder of Multilingual Mania, she’s doing all that she can to help create a multilingual and non-racist society one day at a time.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ana Lilian February 12, 2010 at 2:21 pm

I´m definitely in the “romantic stage” and was totally shocked by this case. I signed the petition yesterday and strongly urge all to do it, for the same reasons you so beautifully state

multilingualmania February 12, 2010 at 11:45 pm

Thanks Ana, I signed it also!!

Wenjonggal February 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm

Filled it out , and added a paragraph or so about being from Canada, here where we have mandated French in public schools, and I still find it appalling and shocking, their actions. I hope they fix it, once they realize the shame is international in scope.

multilingualmania February 17, 2010 at 9:49 pm

Thank you for your support!

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