A school district is lamenting that 85 different languages are spoken by students and they’re struggling with what to do.
The answer is simple: NOTHING!!
When I came here I had no translators or special teachers to help me. I either learned or I failed.
I learned. Quickly.
Put these little special snowflakes in a sink or swin situation and they’ll do fine.
But, no, the district will enable them and we’ll end up with thousands of kids who never really learn to speak English properly.
It’s time to stop trying to speak to these little shits in their language.
They either speak English of GTFO.
Meanwhile, the taxpayers in Buffalo are getting roundly rodgered with higher school taxes. And if taxes aren’t going up that means the district is eating the cost by firing real teachers to hire interpreters which means the American kids get screwed out of an education.
They came to enroll in the Buffalo Public Schools at an old building on Ash Street, an Ellis Island of sorts for thousands of immigrants and refugees entering an education system that has struggled over the years to keep up with their growing numbers.
Many show up speaking no English. Others may have had little formal education in their home countries. Most encounter vast cultural differences.
The City of Buffalo has taken in thousands of immigrants and refugees in recent years, and it’s reflected in many of its schools. More than 85 different languages are spoken throughout the district, but that number can change by the day.
English language learners now make up 15 percent of the district’s enrollment, and as a whole, they are among the lowest-performing, state figures show. They also are the fastest-growing segment.
All of which constitutes challenges for the new arrivals, as well as for the district expected to teach them.
But last year, Buffalo – forced by necessity and new mandates – began making some long overdue changes at central registration intended to address its large customer base of students from foreign lands.
Chief among them is a new team of multilingual staffers who can speak to the students in their own language – and thus are able to sign them up for school, test their English, detail their prior education, and discuss with parents what to expect in the classroom.
The hope is to better serve this rising population of “New Americans” and better assess them so their teachers know their true academic potential.
A comforting language
“When they see someone that speaks their language, it makes them feel more comfortable,” said Abdi Yakub, one of the new language specialists.
Yakub, a former refugee now raising his own kids in Buffalo schools, spoke in Somali to a father and two little girls dressed in head scarves and matching pink coats.
He asked the older girl her name.
“Laila,” she said.
Yakub turned to the sister and asked the same. Her answer was inaudible, but she offered a coy smile revealing a patchwork of missing and baby teeth.
“Right now,” Yakub explained to a reporter, “their father says they have been to school and can write, read and speak English.”
Another staffer escorted the two Somali girls to a different room where he would assess their English by testing their speaking, reading, writing and listening skills.
The test can take anywhere from 45 minutes to three hours and is private, so their father stayed behind in the old gymnasium furnished with a dozen tables and chairs where he continued the process of finding them a school.
He conversed in Somali with Yakub, who stopped occasionally to interpret for a reporter observing.
The father is from Somalia. He fled his country and made the risky journey to South Africa. That’s where he met his eventual wife and where his daughters were born, but where the family did not have permanent residency.
The older girl is 9, attended school in South Africa through the third grade and is a good student, but shy. She had trouble in her old school because kids were taking her work and claiming it as their own.
The younger one is 7, attended school through the first grade and isn’t as strong a student as her sister, but doesn’t appear to have any learning disabilities.
The family was resettled in Buffalo in September.
The girls were anxious about school.