Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Another Teacher Rant

Parent/Teacher conferences were last week.  Even though they are a lot of work and make for very long days since they run into the evenings, after they are over both the parents and I part feeling accomplished and so proud of the children we met about. 

This rant came about during one of those conferences.  It is a shining example of California’s public education system…

At the beginning of every school year, over 60% of my school’s students partake in CELDT (California English Language Development Test) testing.  The majority of our students are “English Language Learners”, primarily coming from Spanish speaking homes.  This test supposedly assesses a student’s proficiency in listening, speaking, reading and writing English.  If you ask anyone actually teaching kids, we will tell you it’s a joke.  If there’s room, I’ll go into why later, or in another post. 

Instead, let me share with you the remarkable reporting of the results.  At the end of one conference last week, a conference held entirely in Spanish mind you, the parent pulled out an envelope and pulled out the report below.  stuff 054stuff 053The parent asked what the report was for and was worried about the “low scores”.  A quick explanation was given to the parent, but as I looked through the report (no, the teachers didn’t even know the results had been sent out) it struck me that the entire page, front and back, was in English.  So to make it clear…the parent report for the test that is given to the kids who come from a home that speaks a language OTHER than English
is sent to that home IN ENGLISH!!!!! How much sense does that make. 

Even though that is so lame and doesn’t make any sense whatsoever, in their defense, the amount of student languages in California probably makes it impossible to send a translated report  home to everyone.  But come on, let’s be honest, in California, Spanish speaking families make up a pretty large ELL population.  A translated version of the report would certainly not go to waste here.

As I wrapped my mind around the ridiculousness of the report being sent home to this family, I pulled out the letter that came from our school/school district.  “Surely it must include an explanation that this parent could have read,” was my thought. 

The letter included some information.  Considering that the report was unreadable to most of our parents, the letter probably wouldn’t have made it any clearer, but at least it included contact information in case a parent had questions.

stuff 056Everything the school or teachers send home is translated in English and Spanish.  One document goes home to all the students with the English on the front and the Spanish on the back. EVERY SINGLE TIME!  Except this time, when the letter offering an explanation was sent home blank on the back – looks like someone forgot the translation.stuff 055Of all letters to send home missing the translation, it’s so ironic that the one going home about English language development wasn’t in the families’ primary language. 

Alright, I’m done now.  Four more days until spring break.  Four. More. Days.


  1. You'd think someone had decided that languages other than English were substantially lower.
    Funny all the same, since the Shriver ones husband insisted on a e-tablet for public school kids that the communication wasn't in e-format. Then google could have provides a translation(almost) for free.

  2. English or Spanish, I wouldn't have read it at all! This is why Fred handles everything school related.

  3. @Vince - I think that is exactly what has been decided...at least by those making the decision! Which is a shame...of course the goal is that our students become fluent in English, but for those families who are in fact involved in their child's education, this information, in their home language would have been useful.
    As for the e-resources, I did go check on the CDE website and found some things translated, which is good, if the parent takes the time to look for them or has the resources to do so.

  4. @Mark - I like that Fred more and more every day. :) At least someone is reading it...that's what's important.