Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Calif. Board Member’s Departure: Another View

February 08, 2005 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

To the Editor:

Let’s make it clear. Reed Hastings was not denied confirmation to the California state board of education because he wanted English-language learners to receive 2½ hours of English instruction a day (“Voted Out,” Jan. 19, 2005.) The “sound bite” of “2½ hours of English instruction” was a public relations gesture that masked Mr. Hastings’ refusal to recognize that, since 1998 and under his leadership, the achievement gap between English-language learners and native English-speakers has grown.

So why were many teachers, administrators, and parents opposed to the reappointment of Mr. Hastings to the state board of education? Not because of his political beliefs, not because of his personal educational philosophy, and not because of his opinion on bilingual education, but because as president of the state board, he ignored the needs of 1.6 million students.

In thousands of 1st grade classrooms, children sit side by side, some speaking fluent English and some not knowing one word of English. It is just common sense that teaching the same exact reading lesson to these students, using the same exact materials written for students who speak English, doesn’t work. Teaching in English is not the same as teaching English.

California adopted rigorous English-Language Development, or ELD, standards that students must meet to demonstrate proficiency in English. English-language learners annually take a statewide test aligned to these standards. The state board chaired by Reed Hastings denied students the opportunity to be taught to these standards because it did not adopt standards-aligned textbooks to teach students English.

We need new members on the state board of education who understand the needs of all California students and will make it a priority to adopt materials, provide teacher training, and give assessments that effectively teach English to English-language learners.

Shelly Spiegel-Coleman

President

Californians Together

Long Beach, Calif.

A version of this article appeared in the February 09, 2005 edition of Education Week as Calif. Board Member’s Departure: Another View

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
Special Education Live Online Discussion A Seat at the Table - Special Education: Proven Interventions for Academic Success
Special education should be a launchpad, not a label. Join the conversation on how schools can better support ALL students.
Special Education K-12 Essentials Forum Innovative Approaches to Special Education
Join this free virtual event to explore innovations in the evolving landscape of special education.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: May 29, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: May 8, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: April 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 20, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read