Opinion
Education Letter to the Editor

Calif. Board Member’s Departure: Another View

February 08, 2005 1 min read

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
Recruitment & Retention Webinar
Recruiting and Retaining a More Diverse Teaching Workforce
We discuss the importance of workforce diversity and learn strategies to recruit and retain teachers from diverse backgrounds.
Content provided by EdWeek Top School Jobs
Student Well-Being Webinar Boosting Teacher and Student Motivation During the Pandemic: What It Takes
Join Alyson Klein and her expert guests for practical tips and discussion on how to keep students and teachers motivated as the pandemic drags on.
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
Student Well-Being Webinar
A Holistic Approach to Social-Emotional Learning
Register to learn about the components and benefits of holistically implemented SEL.
Content provided by Committee for Children

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Principal
Meredith, New Hampshire
Inter-Lakes School District
Elementary Principal
Washington State
Wenatchee School District
Principal
Meredith, New Hampshire
Inter-Lakes School District
Elementary Principal
Washington State
Wenatchee School District

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: February 3, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 20, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated Briefly Stated: January 13, 2021
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Obituary In Memory of Michele Molnar, EdWeek Market Brief Writer and Editor
EdWeek Market Brief Associate Editor Michele Molnar, who was instrumental in launching the publication, succumbed to cancer.
5 min read