Statement by Dr. Della Perez, KATESOL President
Click here for December 9, 2005, article from the Washington Post and MSNBC.
Click here for a PDF file of
KATESOL response by Dr. Della Perez.
(Friday, December 9, 2005, Manhattan, Kansas)
have long been considered the great institutional
gatekeepers of dreams. Culturally and linguistically
diverse (CLD) students, upon entering school, are told
that education is the great equalizer and with a
strong education, they can have access to and fulfill
“the American dream.” However, long-standing cultures
within the school system have evolved that place
limitations on the ways in which educational success
is to be achieved, particularly for CLD students. Zach
Rubio has confronted one such limitation through his
suspension for speaking Spanish at Endeavor
Alternative School in Kansas City, Kansas.
In ignoring Zach Rubio’s bilingual and bicultural
background, the educators at Endeavor Alternative
School tragically failed to recognize that Zach’s
singular identity is intertwined with his ability to
speak both Spanish and English. From a
cultural-historical perspective it is critical to
recognize that a child’s language, culture, family and
community have an equal impact on the potential for
educational success. According to Reyes and Halcón
(2001), one of the reasons for the high drop-out rate
among CLD students in middle and high school is that
the majority of educators and researchers ignore the
bicultural background of CLD students and their
potential for bilingualism and biliteracy as if these
are inconsequential, useless appendages in the process
of becoming literate.
However, as in the case of Zach Rubio, it is critical
that educators begin to consider the bicultural
background of this population in order to “open the
gates” and provide these students with equal
opportunities to become literate and active members of
the classroom. As an organization, we at KATESOL
envision collaborative efforts among educators through
the KATESOL/BE network to advocate for the rights and
needs of CLD learners. To achieve this goal, we call
upon educators across the state of Kansas to step
outside their traditional roles toward purposive
activism for student and family rights and the
appropriateness of quality programs. By supporting
Zach Rubio and his family in the fight for equal
rights and the opportunity to speak his native
language in school, we hope to engage educators in a
deeper level of reform that supports, recognizes and
celebrates all of our CLD students’ rights to speak
their native languages in school.
Dr. Della Perez, KATESOL President
Please read and share these 10 Frequently Asked Questions on ELLs and ESOL, provided recently by Melanie Stuart, of KSDE.
Visit the KATESOL History Project
This page was last updated on 12/09/2005.