July 13, 2001

The Public Forum ... El Foro Publico

CABE Supports Biliteracy Program at Kimbrough Elementary

On June 18th, 2001 I received an email from a parent at Kimbrough Elementary. She invited me to a meeting at her home on June 22nd, 2001 to meet with a group of concerned parents and teachers from the site. At this meeting the following concerns were shared with me: lack of information from the administrator regarding programs available to the students, difficulty in obtaining waivers for the biliteracy option, intimidation from administration when parents asked for waivers, lack of due process for parents with complaints about the biliteracy program, and overall lack of support for the biliteracy program at the site.

We at CABE (California Association of Bilingual Educators) must insist that the parents and students at Kim-brough Elementary be given due process under the law. Specifically, the right of parents to request an alternative program to Sheltered English Immersion (SEI) (Education Code sections 310-311 and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 11303) must be respected. Additionally, in reference to a SDCS Executive Summary of the Status Report on Implementation of Proposition 227 dated November 24, 1998, you may recall that parents are reminded that they can "elect" bilingual programs if they so desire. And, in the case of administrative denial, a "reasonable" explanation should be provided as well as an option to appeal.

Since the implementation of Proposition 227, Kimbrough Elementary has been of great concern to us. In a summary of Analysis of Parent Election for the 1998-1999 School Year, the numbers indicate that this school had the lowest percentage of ELL students participating in biliteracy classes in regards to its number of ELL enrollment. To illustrate, of the 968 ELL students enrolled at Kimbrough during the 1998-1999 school year, only 47 waivers were received. Of these, only 18 were granted, or 38%! Overall, this represents an alarming 2% of the ELL student population participating in the school's biliteracy program.

We at CABE have informed the parents of their rights and have offered them our services and support. We hope that your office addresses the above mentioned situation as we at the Greater San Diego CABE will continue monitoring this situation as well continue advocating for sound education practices for our students.

Edward M. Olivos

Teacher Insulted by District Response

I am a teacher in the San Diego Unified District. I was very insulted by the district's official response to SDEA's survey asking our opinions about the Superintendent and the "reform" effort he has led for the past three years. Bersin just doesn't get it! Does he really mean to say that 93% of his frontline employees are pursuing a "personal vendetta" against him? Or would he have it that 93% of us were duped into participating in a "cheap political stunt" by our union? According to these interpretations of the survey, either virtually all the district's teachers are his bitter personal enemies, or we are just too dimwitted to realize our union is manipulating us for its own sinister motives.

In reality, Mr. Bersin, neither of these is true. Nobody wants our students to succeed more than we do, except maybe their parents. If we oppose your leadership, it has nothing to do with personality. Rather, it is because we truly do not believe the changes you are making will improve the overall quality of education. As for our union pulling one over on us, give me a break. We are well educated adults, and the people who run SDEA are our elected leaders. If we do not agree with them, we vote for someone else. If only we could vote on whether to renew your contract!

Joe Wainio
Chula Vista

An Independent Review Board is Needed

In response to the article "Community Up in Arms Over Response to Police Shootings", June 22, 2001, many of the members of the mental health community, both consumers and staff, are behind the Raza Rights Coalition and their questioning the actions of the local police in the shooting deaths of mentally ill consumers recently.

It has been clear to so many of us for so long that an independent review board is needed if the police are to be held accountable for their actions, as are all other public servants.

What may need to be considered is an alternative police force to deal with certain emergency situations. This alternative police force could be contacted by families of mentally ill individuals and in domestic situations, in order to avoid a love one being killed or maimed, without consequence.

We send our most sincere condolences to the Gambino Benjamin Flores family. Let us work together so this is not a regular occurrence on the streets of San Diego.

Robert Price
Vocational Counselor
The Meeting Place, Inc.
San Diego

City Streets, Not Ballparks

You OPED piece of July 6 on "City Tactics and Padres" was superb.

Driving on our city streets every day indicates they are over crowded and need repairs and we are heading for a transportation disaster as crucial as our recent "power" emergency. Funds for that civic problem are being drained by the "ballpark" and your vigilance and attention to publicizing that fact is admirable.

J.H. Wenger

Viva, Frida Kahlo

Enclosed with this letter is the latest U.S. postage stamps honoring Frida Kahlo, that have been issued in June 2001. This is in honor of her birthday. I will frame these stamps and have them on my walls that are adorned with other famous artists. Frida Kahlo is a Mexican national and international art treasure pre-eminent against the so-called "Big Three" of Mexican Art. One of them is her husband, Rivera.

However, this honor is very troubling for me, it raises more issues than answers at one of the lowest ebbs of Mexican-American relations, politically, economically, immigration and Berlin Wall II that continues to take the lives of innocent Mexican people at our border.

Why couldn't this stamp been issued jointly by our nations: U.S.-Mexico as both our nations have relatively new presidents: Fox-Bush. This joint issue of a postage stamps would have lifted some of our own siege mentality that is clouding our greatness of both of our nations. Who knows it might have been the beginning of a new improved long overdue relations? Not only is the peso sinking, so is American humanity.

The Mexican Cantos, "Amor America". Viva, Frida Kahlo.

Dr. Art Salzberg
San Diego

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