Bilingualism, like its sister, multiculturalism, is really a vast patronage and jobs program for liberal activists and their friends. That is why the perpetual failure of bilingual programs appears to be of little concern to them. The liberal politicians and self-styled spokesmen for the Latino community are too busy building their patronage systems — which means lining the pockets of their friends and political supporters — to care.
Not all liberals have remained deaf and blind to the problems of bilingual education. Gloria Matta Tuchman, an award-winning Mexican-American educator, has spent the past 20 years teaching English to first graders at a school in Santa Ana, Calif., through the immersion method. The idea is obvious and simple. Young children pick up new languages much more easily than adults. Throw them into a class where English is spoken all the time, and they will learn. Which is just what they do under Tuchman’s tutelage. Ninety-nine percent of her first-grade kids move successfully into second-grade English classes every year. Now Tuchman has joined Unz in a coalition that includes Latinos, conservatives and even some leftists in support of the English for Children initiative. One of the latter is Alice Callaghan, who runs Las Familias del Pueblo children’s center on Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. Callaghan helped organize the parents’ boycott that sparked the growing anti-bilingual education rebellion.
“This is the first politically incorrect thing I have ever done in my life,” she told a reporter.
Why is this so politically incorrect? Who says that Latino and other designated minorities need endless government-provided crutches to succeed in a country while Vietnamese boat people do so well without them? Immigrants from hundreds of non-English-speaking nations have come here, been immersed in an English-speaking culture and climbed the American ladder of success. Why are Latinos such an underprivileged group in the liberal perspective? When are liberals going to treat Latinos and other people who are of different ethnic backgrounds as they would treat themselves? When are they going to set them free?