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Why Parents Lie About English at Home

Updated on November 18, 2014

When non-English speaking kids from families enter the US school system, most parents will take a survey asking what is the primary language used at home. In states that border Mexico, these are mostly Hispanic families. The survey is only four questions. One question asks what is the primary language used at home. The reason for the survey is so that educators know how many kindergartenrs will require English tutor or English assistance. It determines how a class will be taught to some degree because what is the point of being in a class that is English only if the student understands little? Not all teachers are equipped with bilingual skills and non-English speaking kids do slow down the learning process. Its a difficult thing to balance in a classroom because homes that speak English only or much of the time, actually helps the kids learn the language faster.

Yet, in 2012, of the 200,000 incoming kindergartners in California, only 9% were considered English proficient. We're talking very basic skills and words most at that age should know. That result told what was long suspected, the parents are lying on the survey. But, why? Well, in some cases, the man of the house forbids it to hold onto a heritage of the home country or maybe just embarrassment because he does not know it. In other cases, the parents lie thinking their kid will miss an opportunity in learning or will be stigmatized and placed in a special curriculum. In many cases, neither parent speaks English well enough, so Spanish is used. But as the child grows through the school system, the parents are forced to learn better English because their kids speak English most of the day and become fluent by 5th grade. They become fluent because if a parent does not lie they are placed in a special class than is more bilingual and by 5th grade, the need is gone. The curriculum is the same but slanted to learn English. So, it makes no sense to lie on the survey. Once English is mastered, the higher learning classes can be learned by the student.They won't be alone, 25% of California's kids are English learners and nearly half of school age kids speak English and Spanish.

California will be giving the 2016 English proficiency test to students. Yet, many parents are complaining about this. Why? This is America and English is the main way we communicate and all schools teach in English.The test will be given to those just entering the system to assess their command of the language. Those with greater needs will get the attention, while those with less needs, can function in normal all English classes. All high school students must also pass the same test before being allowed to graduate. Some parents think the exit exam or those just entering is biased against their kids and prevent equal opportunities. Nonsense, naturally, an English speaker going to school in another country is expected to know that language because that is the educational language. If you don't know the language, you cannot learn.


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    • perrya profile image

      perrya 3 years ago

      Well, it is certainly easier to learn another language at a young age than as a teen or older later. Usually, even by 4th grade, the dual immersion kids learning become fluent in both. I knew one kindergartner who was already fluent in both English and Spanish, I was jealous.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      Excellent information. This whole English thing so annoying. We have a school that is billed as duel immersion. The school is mostly Spanish speaking. Billing the school as duel immersion they are able to get English speaking kids to help Spanish speakers.