Allen Gwinn elaborates on the rumor that he reported and that Paul Kix passed along earlier here. Gwinn makes it clear that he was conveying the existence of the rumor but far from condoning it. In fact wanting to publicize it so it would be seen for what it is. Our original posting of that should have made that intent more clear, and the phrasing of our sidenote certainly did not. Later, Paul addressed that, as did I, but here, Gwinn speaks for himself:
Gentlepeople: I’d like to begin by quoting one of your readers: “I have friends whowork at DISD who complain, saying the same angry reactionary thing.”
When we allow widespread (and this is very widespread) rumors to circulate, and not correct them, we perpetuate them. I am sure that, in the next few weeks, the doom and gloom stories from the teacher’s unions are going to grow. It is unfair to allow things that a union official is telling its members (which is where I tracked this particular rumor back to) they’re all going to be fired because they don’t speak “correct” Spanish.
I was fluent in Spanish in my early 20’s. I learned it in high school, had hands-on practice with a non-English speaking roomie at New Mexico Military Institute in college. The issue I’m currently trying to debunk-or-substantiate deals with the ability of someone not raised in a native Spanish-speaking household to pass the State’s bilingual-ed certification exam. I’ve already talked to a woman who studied Spanish in high school, minored in it in college then lived in Spain for 18 months who was unable to pass the exam. Ironically, she now works as an interpreter. Her claim is that the test is geared toward specific dialects–and if you don’t speak the “right” Spanish, you can’t pass it.
On the other hand, I am supposed to be receiving a call from a guy who is a bilingual-ed instructor in the District. He is a white guy, born and raised in Texas who supposedly is going to say that’s all bunk and anyone can pass the exam.
I tried to get a union guy to hook me up with one of these “dozens” of teachers that had already lost their jobs over the bilingual education program. I worked on it for 2 weeks before the Board meeting, and came to the conclusion that the claim was bunk. I hope that came across on my blog.
Unfortunately, we sometimes have to put the rumor out there in order to debunk it. Even more unfortunately, sometimes people call you racist for even daring to mention an unpopular claim–regardless of context.
Dallas is fortunate to have a watchdog like Allen Gwinn, and the print version of FrontBurner has said so in giving him a “Thumbs Up” in our June issue.