Editor: In Roger Hernandez's column in the Times recently, he mentioned the English as a second language program and bilingual education for non-English speaking students. Alas, the situation in the county in which I teach is different from what Mr. Hernandez portrayed: Non-English-speaking students are being shoved into classes in which teachers cannot speak their language at all, and the instruction (even in high school academic courses) is supposed to be done through gesture, pictures, games, etc.
ESOL stands for English for Speakers of Other Languages and refers to the $90-million fiasco forced on public schools by Education Commissioner Betty Castor (in response to a lawsuit) to compel all teachers to train in strategies to instruct non-English-speaking pupils who are mainstreamed into regular classes.
Having endured 60 hours of ESOL "training" this fall, let me express my utter frustration with this preposterous idea. In a class of 35 rambunctious 10th graders, I am given one student who speaks little English and, without any materials whatsoever, I am told to prepare separate lessons for the ESOL student and regular lessons for the rest of them, all taught in the same room at the same time.
ESOL "training" is basically brainwashing. Teachers are told to modify their standards, i.e. to lower them and to pretend the students are learning. This cheats the non-English-speaking pupils and America as well because they are being released into society ill-educated. We are further told that all ESOL students must be passed.
What should be done is first to teach English to these students and then mainstream them. Society has saddled the public schools with enough burdens without requiring us to teach students with whom we cannot even communicate.
Renny M. Connell
Chairman, Social Studies
Pasco Comprehensive High School, Dade City
pickups need modifying
Editor: Today is the day that blue bags are picked up on my street. This is the second week that I have not put mine out because there is not enough in it. I have noticed that this is the case with several of my neighbors.
I am very much in favor of recycling, but for those of us living alone it often takes two or three weeks to fill a bag. We are paying for twice-a-week service and only getting once a week. I have garbage that I would like to put out today, but only the blue bags will be picked up. This letter is to suggest that the blue bags be picked up every three weeks, or even once a month. Keeping clean cans, plastics, etc., is more sanitary than having garbage around.