In The Press

August 24, 1983 4 min read
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“The modern immigrant has been betrayed by a confederation of power-seeking politicians, unprincipled educators, and unwitting Americans,’' writes Robert E. Rossier in the Summer 1983 edition of Policy Review, published quarterly by the Heritage Foundation, a public-policy organization.

Mr. Rossier, who is described by the journal as a former teacher with 25 years of experience in working with immigrant students, blames the schools’ growing inclination to teach non-English-speaking students in their own language for the inability of such students to learn English effectively.

He contends that the proponents of “bilingual education” have failed to substantiate through research the central premise of the bilingual method--that instructing students in their native tongue helps them to keep up with their English-speaking peers and to learn English more effectively. The judiciary “has been duped” into endorsing the bilingual-education method,” Mr. Rossier writes, and the method has been also embraced by the “liberal mind of the media.”

He also asserts that “the enforcement arm of the Department of Education, the Office [for] Civil Rights, has helped the [bilingual-education] activists create a monopoly for bilingual education across the country” through its promulgation of the so-called “Lau remedies” in 1975.

Mr. Rossier concludes that bilingual education has failed to help immigrant students learn English more effectively than other methods, such as “immersion,” and that “the motivating force for bilingual education has been to provide opportunity not for students to learn but for bilingual educators and others to build empires that offer lucrative and satisfying power bases.”

A Proposal for Cutting The Cost of College

The cost of attending college is moving beyond the reach of many today, for no good reason, writes Timothy Noah in the August issue of The Washington Monthly.

Mr. Noah, who is an editor of the magazine, rejects the contention of colleges and universities that higher energy costs and the need to increase faculty salaries necessitates tuition increases.

In particular, he writes in an article entitled, “Highbrow Robbery: The Colleges Call it Tuition, We Call it Plunder,” when the length of the academic year, consulting fees, housing, and other “perks” are considered, faculty incomes are more than adequate, especially considering the limited amount of actual teaching faculty members usually do. Increased faculty productivity, Mr. Noah writes, would help keep college costs down.

He suggests that there are no “outraged mobs marching on the university gates” because many parents, out of an eagerness to secure the best for their children, respond without protest to the colleges’ demand for more tuition. “Colleges take advantage of us,” Mr. Noah says in summary.

But making students responsible for their college expenses would generate “consumer” resistance to the increasing cost of college and create pressure on colleges to improve the productivity of their faculties, Mr. Noah writes. He prescribes a system that would have all students personally pay the cost of their higher education but allow them 30 years to pay back the government-backed private loans.

Such a system, Mr. Noah writes, would have the added benefit of causing college students to take their academic work seriously, something, he says, many students do not now do.

Education in the 80’s: A Conservative Plan

“Conservative political leaders have proved singularly inept at translating [their insights on education] into practical political strategies,” says Lawrence A. Uzzell in the August 5 edition of National Review.

In an article entitled, “The Next Ten Years,” Mr. Uzzell, president of Learn Inc., a policy research organization in Washington, D.C., outlines “six precepts that should form the core of an attractive and effective long-term conservative strategy for education.”

He urges conservatives to concentrate their reform efforts on the elementary and secondary schools because “state and federal control of colleges and universities is mild compared to the regulatory apparatus governing elementary and secondary schools.”

“Consumer sovereignty” should be advocated through the promotion of vouchers and tuition tax credits. And Mr. Uzzell urges conservatives to avoid the promotion of “parental rights” and the autonomy of individual school systems--the preeminent goals of conservatives in education, he suggests--through the use of regulations. To do so, he writes, “would reinforce one of the most sterile, paralyzing developments of recent educational policy: legalism.”

Mr. Uzzell, who was special assistant to the director of the National Institute of Education earlier in the Reagan Administration, also calls on conservatives to “avoid wasting energy on symbolic issues,” such as abolishing the federal education agency.

“Distracted by these and other secondary issues in education,” Mr. Uzzell writes, “the White House made only modest progress in 1981 toward reducing the number of federal education programs--and no progress in 1982.”

“When deregulation and decentralization have reached the point where the only part of the Department of Education that deals with elementary and secondary schools is the National Center for Education Statistics, then conservatives should start working to abolish the secretaryship--and only then,” he adds.

A version of this article appeared in the August 24, 1983 edition of Education Week as In The Press


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