Eugene E. Garcia Pt. 1&2

EUGENE E. GARCIA:  OK, it’s Eugene E. Garcia and the affiliation is uh the University of California, Berkeley Graduate School of Education. 

Whenever you have to think about uh preparing someone who’s going to construct instructional environment through children, until we change the way in which we organize ourselves in the places that we call schools, the teacher then is the most critical person.  In all of our research, uh looking at exceptional programs or exemplary programs particularly for diverse populations suggests you’ve got to have a good teacher.  In preparing that teacher then at places like Berkeley, or any other place that prepares teachers, you really have to begin to think about the population in which they serve and how similar and different that population is from the population other teachers might serve.  So you have to then attend very specifically to diversity that exists in the classroom, linguistic and cultural diversity.  So the kind of preparation is uh ensuring that the teachers themselves have uh a respect for that diversity, and then secondly begin—to what would I call, be responsive to that diversity.  It’s one thing to say to—to a child, any child, uh, you know, “I know who you are, I respect who you are, and I’d love to have you in my classroom.” It’s a second step professionally to say uh, “I know all that and I want to then build on the assets which you bring.”  Which may be very different then the assets some other student brings, or quite frankly the assets I may have brought to the classroom when I went to school and what are those.  So preparing the teacher is what myself and other colleagues have called preparing someone to understand cultural diversity in a way that is meaningful for the preparation and the implementation of instructional environments.  So understanding the language, understanding a set of core values, of social interactions, uh and so forth.  So our research has tried to focus on those kinds of understandings of diversity that are in fact, we would argue, responsive to that diversity in the instructional context.  I’ll give you a couple examples.  The emetic instruction is one of those.  Emetic instruction essentially says we’re going to learn a lot about something and we’re going to build on what you already know.  And those two kernels of emetic instruction first recognize and support essentially what children already know about something.  You take that even a step further and you negotiate what things you actually deal with in the classroom. So then you build on, essentially, the motivational interests that students already bring.  Those are going to be very different for say a Latino student, a Chinese immigrant student, an El Salvadorian refugee because some of those students are going to have very, very different uh, interests and motivational sort of buttons. And what we want to do is—is push those buttons.  And you do that by making the curriculum relevant.  Emetic instruction allows you to do that.  Secondly, you go in depth into a topic.  You build high levels of vocabulary, whether it’s a native language or second language.  That’s essentially what you’re going—you don’t cover it at the surface level, you go deep. Going deep means cognitive linguistic challenges that we sometimes don’t present to students because we think they can’t handle them or we want to move an inch um—an inch deep and a mile long.  Here we go a mile deep and an—and an inch wide. So and that builds linguistic and cognitive attributes in the intellect—in the academic curriculum that I think is important. So what you have to do then is—is, in preparing teachers, is make them understand how a certain set of strategies, instructional strategies can build on the asset that children do bring to the classroom and essentially uh get them at least started to think about how that can happen in their own classrooms.

Probably um in an academic curriculum, one of the things we don’t do very well uh is build uh high levels of conceptual and vocabulary development, particularly with uh with children who come to us not speaking English.  Um, first of all there’s an assumption that they can’t do that so that we build sort of simplistic conceptual and vocabulary uh in the content areas.  Uh, I think that’s uh an intellectual and academic mistake.  What you want to do is challenge those students to understand the toughest conceptual frameworks that we have to offer them, mathematics, science, literacy, being critical literacy uh, uh, analytical students, etc.  And—and they need a vocabulary. They need a set of—of frameworks in which they can handle that kind of complex uh, academic material.  That’s what’s going to prof—that’s what will profit those students in a long run.  And so that’s what I—why I say we go deep.  That depth will eventually pay off in other idiocies or other challenges that students may have to face in separate content areas in which again, the idea is to go deep, not to just touch the surface of those subject matter materials. 

We—we have been working with a set of schools uh in terms of developing the ideal, the exemplary school and we didn’t come to doing that out of sort of thin air.  First we had a set of theoretical conceptualizations about what good teaching and learning is and how good teaching and learning then can be organized in a place called school.  But the second thing, which is very useful, is that we study a number of schools. Uh, in a set of studies over the last eight or nine years, we now have a—a case study portfolio of some 29 schools around the country that serve very linguistically and culturally diverse students and do it well. That is, kids on any idiocies whether on a standardized test or if you want to use teacher judgment or principal judgment or parent judgment or community judgment.  Uh, these schools are really good.  So you take the too things together, sort of the conceptual, theoretical and you say, “Well look, well what’s really going on out there?  What’s going on in those very good places?”  We call schools particularly where there are very diverse populations and what we find immediately, um is a set of characteristics.  So the ideal school for me uh and we’re trying to build those, has a very clear uh leadership uh individual or set of individuals.  Uh, I didn’t say principals, I said leadership, that there is someone who really understands uh the challenges, the opportunities that exist in educating a diverse population.  Uh, and sometimes it’s the principal, but quite frankly about half the time in our studies we found that it’s a set—it’s either teacher leader or a set of teacher leaders who essentially come together to provide leadership.  What is leadership?  Leadership is understanding the set of conditions in which the school is operating under, the kinds of students that they’re serving, and where you want to get those students too, a set of goals.  Uh, and I call it the vision thing. But most of these good schools and my ideal school would have a very well articulated vision which would include things like uh an articulation of a set of standards.  Call them goals.  Standards has taken on a kind of funny uh meaning in today’s standard-based reform movement, but a set of goals, but articulated goals. This is particularly uh, uh important when you’re dealing with linguistic and cultural diverse students because if you—if you have the goal of making them bilingual or biliterate, or trilingual and triliterate, then you better make that a goal.  You better make that very clear.  Then you have the line—the resources, including the teachers, the kinds of textbooks, the time, uh all the other kinds of instructional resources you need to get there.  If it is a transitional program in which you’re trying to move—if you have uh, an ELD, English Language Development program, uh what are the goals specifically?  And most good places that I know where we’ve studied and my ideal school has those pretty well articulated.  They are also very high goals in nature.  That is they aren’t essentially ones that only encompass literacy, but include math and science for elementary school kids.  At the high school level they encompass content mastery in a number of different subject matters—areas so that you don’t set your sights lower for these kids then you do for any others.  In fact, good schools tend to set their sights higher then most other schools with regard to these students.  Uh lastly, the ideal school has a set of individuals that they call teachers that are very well prepared and continue to engage in professional development in which they themselves uh critique uh—reflect on uh, and essentially improve instruction based on a set of experiences that they have with kids. Sometimes formal, in the terms of assessments, authentic or non-authentic assessments in which you have actual student performance on what you’re making judgments, uh and conversations and interactions with other colleagues uh throughout the entire school.  So the schools we’re trying to build uh and the ideal is one that has that leadership, that has a clear articulation of where you want to move with those students, and third, has a set of implementational strategies that are lined up with those goals and essentially with that leadership.  Uh, and that’s what I see is sort of the ideal. 

Uh, one thing we’ve learned is that in serving uh a very diverse population and having high goals, academic goals for them, uh it is absolutely necessary to have the kinds of resources that allow you to get there.  And I don’t just mean um access to a set of dollars. Uh, when I was a director of Title VII, I kept hearing school districts and schools tell me, “Well, just send me the money.”  And in many cases they’re absolutely right.  They need more money.  They need more discretionary money to do everything you can that you can’t do with the sort of day-to-day uh resources, economic res—financial resources that one has.  But you also need the right kind of people.  The people resources are as critical, if not more critical then the kinds of discretionary, fiscal resources one has.  Uh, I think the other resource, which is absolutely critical in dealing with this population, is time—in the organization of time.  Not only for the individuals in terms of serving those students, individuals being professionals whether they’re administrators or whether they’re teachers, or whether they’re teacher aids because you need time in order for those folks to get the kind of preparation, ongoing development they need to be responsive to and be successful with these students.  But students actually need more time.  Uh, that’s why in these schools we see uh a maximum use of class time, but we also see augmentive class time, after school programs, Saturday programs, summer school programs, all of which are enrichment in nature.  Not compensatory in nature even though sometimes they may take on for time a compensatory character, they are essentially enrichment uh kinds of activities.  But they require more time.  They require students spending more time and most of uh students who are given the opportunity to spend more time, we’re—we’re working in several schools and we’ll have after school programs.  Uh, if these activities after school are engaging, uh if they’re challenging, uh if they’re for younger kids developmentally appropriate, you can’t keep the kids away.  Kids are very motivated.  So uh those—those are the kinds of things I mean by resources.  I don’t always just mean fiscal resources, although I admit uh it’s—it’s very important to have those additional financial resources, but you’ve got to have the right people and you’ve got to have time for the professionals as well, for the students.

Good teachers essentially do come in uh—in a package.  (police sirens in the background)  Uh, let me give you an example of our most recent in the implementation of Proposition 227 in California, which is um—is a proposition where we might call a top down reform.  It is essentially saying to teachers, this is the way the state of California wants you to teach children who come to you not speaking English.  And—and it’s pretty—pretty uh direct.  It’s pretty articulated.  So we studied how teachers react to this reform and we did—we found pretty much what other people have found about teachers in reform uh and that is uh unless the teachers own ideology, unless her skills, uh unless her previous behavior with regard to students is aligned with the reform, you can forget the reform being implemented.  So in 227, for instance, the specific articulation of the law says you must teach non-English speaking students in English unless there’s absolutely an exceptional situation which you must use the native language.  Our own—our own study of teachers in this reform is that teachers who were teaching in the native language before, who were well trained before in doing that, had appropriate credentials, had previous experience, successful experience in doing this, and were ideologically tied to the use of the native language essentially ignored the reform.  If you went into their classroom, it didn’t look any different pre-207 to post-207 because the preparation of teachers and their implementation is the key.  (interruption)  So if you looked at these uh classrooms and these teachers, if you looked pre-227 or post-227 you saw no change.  Why?  Because the teachers making some—again, until we change the way in which teachers organize environments and the responsibility we give them to do that, uh they are going to organize those environments in line with previous experience, expertise, and their own ideology with regard to instruction and learning. 

Well, to often when you have a talk down mandate, it is hard essentially to uh empower teachers to do what’s right.  Uh, and what we can do essentially is make very clear what it is we think is right.  Uh, I haven’t been to a discussion with teachers in which as a researcher I’m not asked. Well, what is the best way to do this and not only what is the best way because teachers aren’t fools, they ask and how do they know that’s the best way?  So it’s not give us your wisdom and we will go out and do what you say, but how is it you came to that conclusion.  Now I think it’s incumbent on us as researchers to lay those things out.  So when it comes to serving uh non-English speaking students in our classrooms, again they—they come varying shapes and forms, varying languages and cultures, vary experiences, uh immigrant to indigenous populations. Uh, it’s imperative for us as researchers to lay out how we’ve arrived at our conclusions about best instruction.  Uh, theoretically, conceptually because again, teachers want to know conceptual in our own research we learned as others have learned, that teachers do have theories about teaching, they have—you might want to call an ideology, but I don’t want to even go so far as ideology.  They have a way that they think about kids learning and they organize much of their behavior, sometimes we’re hypocrites and that is we believe one thing and do another uh sometimes driven by lack of resources and so forth.  But in most cases, teachers do align their instruction with their own theoretical conceptualization of how kids learn.  So we can go in their classroom and we can look at somebody uh formulating instruction for students and ask them, “Well, why did you do that?”  And they’ll usually give you a theoretical rational. Not just, “Well on page 13 of the—of the reader…and that’s why I did this.”  So our job is to try to make sure, make it very clear when teachers are pushed up against the wall with a regard to a reform, what is the best thing I can do—what is the best conceptual theory I can use to help these kids.  If it is in line with the reform, then uh great. And in fact that’s when we see teachers move with reforms.  Uh, example, we’re seeing in our—in our work is the acceptance of high standards. Uh, most teachers want high standards, however, most teachers didn’t know what that was.  Now if you articulate that, most teachers will say, “Oh, yes, that’s—I’m part of—I got—that’s part of my theory.  I want kids to achieve these high standards.” Uh, now you get up against a situation, which the reform says, “Do X” and the teacher’s ideology says, “Do Y.”  What we have to be sure of and what the teacher has to be sure of is that Y in opposition to X of the reform is going to pay off for kids. The empowerment of teachers really is in what happens to kids.  That’s where the—the real gold is.  It’s not in the laws we pass.  I learned that in Washington.  We could pass all the laws in the world, but if kids aren’t succeeding—and we can define that in a number of different ways, uh and teachers are seeing the kids aren’t succeeding, they’re going to look for alternative theories and alternative practices.  And if they’ve come across some that are working, they’re going—one of the things we can say to them is, “Independent of the reform, you ought to be empowered to continue to work in behalf of your students.” 

Uh, whenever a teacher goes into a classroom or receives training, particularly with uh—with regards to our linguistical and cultural diverse students, and they themselves have not participated in that diversity, that is they—they haven’t learned a second language the way a 3-year-old or an 8-year-old does, they haven’t immigrated to a new country and had to deal with the uh—what we call critical transitions not only of going to school but going to a different kind of school, in a different language with a whole different set of values and norms. Uh, those are issues uh and pile on that, the parents who are coming from a different country want the very best for their students.  There’s no doubt in my mind, every parent wants their child to succeed, they want them to succeed in school, they want them to succeed socially, linguistically, intellectually, you name it.  So here they are though from another country, from another place, or from a culture that’s distinctly different then those represented by the teachers, this is the place where I think we need to make very clear to those teachers, you are now essentially entering a instructional zone which is powerfully important that you recognize those students who are very different then you are and the assumptions you have about them, about instructions, need to be questioned and questioned hard.  And so, when someone goes away saying, “Well, I’m teaching kids who come from Arabic backgrounds, Greek backgrounds, Bosnian refugee backgrounds, uh Mexican immigrant, migrant backgrounds, and all I want to do is implement good teaching, I would say we—we have failed miserably in making clear that there are a set of ways in which those kids interact with their family and their culture, in which they have begun to understand the world.  And in order for school to be successful, we need to build on that rather than to adopt a set of what we think are universally accepted instructional practices.  A couple of examples, cooperative learning—oh, my God—my good friend, Bob Slaven would say, “Gee, cooperative learning works for everyone.”  Well, on the Navajo reservation, you put boys and girls together on cooperative learning situations; it’s not going to work.  OK?  Not unless they’re uh already uh Americanized set of individuals who are probably moving on and off the reservation.  But you need to understand those. So, I wouldn’t say cooperative-learning strategies is a universal strategy even though 85 percent of the time it will work. You have to understand those cultural attributes.  Asking questions is something we universally do as teachers.  I’ve seen it in the—in the Yukon; uh I’ve seen it in Argentina and where classrooms are structured with teachers asking questions.  What I see differently is the way kids respond to those questions.  Why they do it in large groups, small groups, why they respond to an adult in authoritarian way or uh respond to other kids in a much more uh interactive way.  So organizing one’s instruction is got to be related to the kids one serves.  And that’s where we talk about as others have, culturally relevant pedagogies in which is linguistically and culturally appropriate.  The use of co-switching is one with the Latinos in the United States.  We thought for years that kids who switch from one language to another when they were talking to people were confused.  Well, we learned through our wonderful studies is that these kids are really quite fassel (?) at using language to uh pull together—meaning by the use of a code switch. So, you know, something that someone doesn’t understand can sometimes be assumed to be negative when it’s actually a positive. It’s actually a positive.  And, in fact, now we use in the Pointer Project at middle schools and high schools, we use literature that purposely uses code switching from Spanish to English in strong literary forms that get across to these kids that their cod switching can actually convey meaning in very, very rich ways.

In a course that I teach here at—at Berkeley uh and, of course, I’ve taught at other universities as well, (clears throat), in an introduction to the teaching of linguistically and culturally diverse students in our pre-service teacher ed programs, the first thing I have students do is look at themselves.  Uh, it’s—it’s easier to understand others is one looks at your own background because you know it well.  You’re the expert.  Nobody knows you better than you. And what we want you to do as a teacher is get to know your students as well, almost as well, as you know yourself.  So you look back developmentally, you look culturally, you look at a set of instances, which shaped your life, and some of those are going to be in school, some of them are going to be out of school.  So I have uh students do what I call ethnicity analysis of their own backgrounds.  So that’s the first thing I do is say, “Look at yourself.”  And I—it’s amazing. Some students who come from middle-class white families say, “I don’t have any culture.  I’m not ethnic.”  Well, yes you are.  You grew up speaking a language; you grew up with a set of families and parental characteristics.  And if you look hard, you ask the hard questions, what—what actually unfolded in your own life to make you what you are today?  And make that, part of that, what happened in school. The second thing I have them do is to—is to partner up with someone very different then themselves who has a different language, a different culture, maybe an immigrant, but essentially is not like them, maybe even—even different gender, uh, all kinds of diversity and have them compare and contrast.  “What happened to you?  How did you get to be who you were?”  And—and essentially write an analysis of who I am and who my partner is, my colleague, my cohort and essentially begin to compare and contrast what makes us what we are.  That’s the beginning. And then we go into sort of educational treatment or research treatment, theoretical treatment of what is culture, what is language and how one garners language and culture and then how one moves on through institutions called schools, families, churches, whatever and how those begin to shape, as well, who we are.  So I think that’s what I do with someone who comes to me and says, “I want to learn how to really serve kids who are very diverse then I am. I want to learn how to do that.”  Let’s first examine who you are and then let’s begin the examination of—a comparative examination of others and how they develop who they are. 

In terms of second language acquisition, I guess I—I sort of get off the train uh in—in the—the linguistic train uh because I think for so long uh many of us felt that if we could teach kids a second language and the form of a second language, that somehow magically they would acquire and use that language, particularly in complex situations we call schools.  I think we’re sort of beyond that now.  I think we understand that language intersects with cultural or cultures and languages intersect with that.  I’m talking everything from codes to formal linguistic uh, uh things we call languages.  Everything from uh, uh Spanish and English in this country to black dialect, uh all those things I would call language.  Uh, but those languages intersect with a set of context which are therefore generate an understanding of language is embedded in context.  I call the context in a simplex—simplistic way, culture.  So language gets played out in context, those places we call culture.  In addition to that, some things happen psychologically.  There’s some—something is happening to help you organize all this stuff in your head.  A set of information, a set of uh connections between those experiences and the kinds of frameworks one develops that we call knowledge.  And so all those things are happening at the same time.  So second language acquisition to me is a piece of what’s going on uh culturally uh and cognitively.  And so the intersect is understanding second language development with respect of that.  Now understand that schools make up a culture too.  So don’t get me wrong.  I know that there are ways one speaks in schools.  There are one—ways in which we want students to speak and to write and to become literate and to talk about math and to do math problems, to talk about science and develop hypotheses in science and to test those hypotheses.  And all that requires the intersection of some sort of cognitive uh information, organization of information, context in what goes into that in previous experiences.  And so I call context in culture previous experience as one makes sense of what’s going on now and then the language, the symbolic system that one uses to communicate to one another about these experiences and this content.  So second language acquisition for me is much more than just the development of a set of linguistic features that we call uh morphemes, or phonies, or syntax.  (police sirens in background)  It’s much more complicated.  That’s what I want teachers to understand. Lastly, I want to be able to say in second language development and second language acquisition for these students is that they need to access that language, they need to have access to it, and they need to use it.  So you don’t want quiet classrooms.  You want lots of activity, lots of language, lots of literacy, lots of content based academic language and academic work that requires that symbol system we call language and communication and I think that’s what’s more important then understanding the grammatical features of a second language.

Uh, the uh politics of uh second language or language minority students in this country is always been uh problematic for the language minority student. (laugh) It’s—it uh—it is usually based on a set of um preconceived notions about students which typically uh are on the most part negative.  Uh, students themselves and—and their research around students as they’re treated in schools suggest that we, in the United States, still see non-English speaking students as not the norm and we’re trying to move them to the norm. That means they’re perceived as less than, as immigrant, as they don’t belong here and our attempt is to try to make them belong here, and belonging is sort of this uh assimilationist modeled at we want everyone to speak English and eat the same kind of food and have the same kind of values and---as I do.  And the problem with that, of course, politically uh is uh that minorities never have a fair shake in a situation politically where there are majorities.  And in the United States the majority rules.  It’s a democracy.  I don’t know a better system; I’m not going to argue against uh something anti-Democratic.  On the other hand, there needs to be policies and procedures that protect minorities in a majority Democratic process.  And essentially what I learned in Washington is that uh the Democratic process at times can, in fact, succeed for minority individuals if, in fact, the case can be made that what we’re doing for those individuals really is the best interest. Not only those individuals, but in the best interest of the majority.  And that’s how you get majorities on board to working with minorities. And that’s a political formula and it—it works differently for different times.  Uh, in the time I was in Washington, we worked very, very hard to send a message to the majority that we wanted for language minority populations an additive model of education, not a subtractive model. Uh, very—in simple terms, what we wanted is children to acquire those core values that are clearly American, the important language that is clearly American, and that’s English, but we didn’t want them to do it at the expense of losing their own linguistic and cultural backgrounds, their heritage languages and cultures.  Uh, so we—we politicked for an additive model.  What I learned is that it’s possible.  We, in fact, passed a set of bills that were more additive in nature. In fact, in the set of uh proposals now that go to Washington, those proposals that move on an additive um educational model are perceived and granted more priority than those that do not. So we were able to pass that.  And that—the argument we made is that this is good. This is good for the minority and it’s good for the majority.  They learn the majority ways of language and educational culture at least uh, and they also become more uh participatory because they’re recognized and respected.  Uh, the recent setbacks to that added model is Proposition 227 in California in which we got the message from the majority, not the minority.  Remember language minority students, particular Latinos, and parents didn’t vote for this.  This majority did.  Uh, so again the majority is acting on behalf of the entire state, which includes a set of minorities. And essentially, that was a top down reform, which is essentially said to minorities, “We want you to assimilate as fast as possible.  Don’t use your language.  We don’t want you to lose your—we don’t want you to keep your culture, we want you to move.  And so we—we have these offset political uh agendas and my guess is with a demographic push in California and Florida and Nebraska and Iowa, that we’re going to move even—we’re going to move again to the additive model.  Um, I don’t want to date this but uh a recent announcement by Secretary Riley essentially argued for our two-way programs.  These are additive models. These take kids who speak a language other than English and say, “Let’s add English--let’s add educational content in English, but let’s also add uh Spanish and another language—or another language, to those kids who come in speaking English.”  So everybody wins.  It’s a win/win situation.  And in each case it’s what I will call an additive model.  Each is respective for what or he—what he or she brings to the classroom and one adds to what one brings in terms of language and culture. 

Uh, in—in many cases the way policy works, uh and it didn’t I don’t think in the time I was in Washington, uh is that you tend to react to a crisis by passing a law. So uh whether it’s anti-gun legislation or any other kind of crisis intervention in education, one of the ways that we responded to a flood of immigrants in—in the last 20, 30 years into the United States is to pass immigrant education.  And what happened during one legislative session is a set of well-meaning legislatures and a set of well-meaning educators said, “We need help. We’ve got a lot of immigrant kids that we didn’t have before.  Help us by sending us some money from immigrant ed.”  And, in fact, it happened.  The crisis developed, a set of legislation was passed and you had legislation, which was not very uh enriching, did not provide the kind of opportunities.  It was formulaic.  It says, “If you’ve got x amount of bodies, you get x amount of dollars.” It didn’t take into account that some immigrants are different then un-immigrants.  The refuges are different than immigrants.  That a student coming in who has no schooling experience is very different then an immigrant whose come in uh from Mexico, for example, and has five years of solid schooling experience.  Those folks are different.  So what happens during a crisis is you try to pass legislation and get resources appropriately so to the folks that are affected by this crisis. What you do more, sort of conceptually and what you do more reflectively as we tried to do in the Improving America School Act is to say, “Wait a minute, that might have been passed in a crisis.  We’re in a different time now, let’s provide a set of resources with lots of degrees (watch beeps) of freedoms for people to behave or respond to these individuals in very different ways so that one immigrant doesn’t equal another immigrant.”  So the responsive pedagogy, the kinds of teachers, the kinds of resources that might be needed in Iowa, but are very different then the ones needed in Los Angeles. For the same kind of student we might call immigrant.  Uh, the other thing we recognize is that a student can be immigrant, can be migrant, can be poor, can be a special ed student all at one time.  Well, do we need each of those categorically programs to deal with that student or do we need a comprehensive way to act in a policy format that deals with the complexity of that individual student?  And so that’s what we try to do more systematically because previously crisis legislation said, “Let’s help special ed.  Let’s help those kids who are migrant. Let’s help those kids who don’t speak English.  Let’s help those kids who are immigrant.” Uh, and you see so forth. And what you get is very desperate or disparate uh kinds of separated policies and when they get to the school they say, “Oh, my gosh!  We’ve got to deal with immigrants this way, poor kids this way, non-English speakers this way.’ And we said, “Look, let’s be reflective, let’s be a little bit more comprehensive, let’s understand how we can pull those together.”  That’s what I mean by not responding to—in crisis way in a legislative manner.  Even though sometimes very good intentions, people do that.  Time to be reflective, time to be more comprehensive and deal with the issue in that way.

Uh, what I would put under essentially—essential policy, particularly for linguistic and cultural diverse students is understanding not necessarily the specific articulations of Lowe decisions, but what it means in terms of a student’s right to an education in this country.  Basically what that decision did, much like Brown versus Brogue uh did for uh seg—desecrating schools, for making clear that African-American kids had a right to high quality education, Lowe said the same thing for a set of kids who come to school not speaking English.  What a teacher needs to realize is that that student has, on the basis of our constitution, interpreted by the Supreme Court, a right to a high quality education that takes into account language difference.  So a teacher can’t just say, “Well, I’m teaching and I’m teaching and I’m a good teacher.” A student has a right under the Supreme Court decision, on the 14 amendment of the Constitution of the United States to a—to the instruction that is directly related to that student’s language difference.  You can’t treat that student like you treat an English speaker. You can throw everything else out and that’s what I want teachers to understand. You not only have an intellectual responsibility, a professional responsibility, but you have a legal responsibility.  And if you don’t do it, you’re going to find yourself in court and I don’t want that to be the incentive as to why you do things the way you do them, but I think you need to understand as you talk to colleagues and they start saying things like, “Well, they don’t need to do anything special for these kids,” say, “Yes, you do.  If for no other reason, is that their rights have been articulated by the Supreme Court just like your rights and my rights as a citizen have been articulated by the Constitution, by the Bill of Rights, and by the Supreme Court.”  They have the same standing as you and I do.

Uh, when you think about testing, I think the better way to phrase this is to think about assessment.  We do assessments of students learning because we want to first know how kids are doing, uh because we ought to know how kids are doing uh as teachers, as parents, as administrators, as policy makers who are responsible for uh the good of the people.  We ought to know how kids are doing.  Uh, secondly, we ought to—we ought to be able to know how they’re doing with regard to others so that we say, “Well gee, um Juanito’s learning English.”  Well, is Juanito learning English as well as other kids like him are learning English?  Maybe in Louisiana or uh in New York City or in Los Angeles—even though I’m in San Francisco.  So, this is what we call sort of a normed notion.  So I think it’s legitimate to know is the education Juanito’s getting and the results of that education through an assessment, is that as good as what someone else is getting because we want to—going back to issues that have to deal with students rights as determined by the Supreme Court, we want to—we want to make sure that they’re getting fair treatment and they’re achieving like other kids like them who have opportunities to achieve.  The third thing that we want to do with assessments is we want to make them useful for us.  When I’m uh, an instructor or I’m a principal, uh I’m trying to make decisions about what I’m going to do in my class tomorrow. I want to have a set of assessments that help me understand that. I want to have a whole bunch of other things too.  Including my experience and my training and—so I’m not—I’m not going to say all you need is a set of assessments.  But I think you need a set of assessment essentially that—that help you do that.  If you take those sort of uh—that—that triangle or the—the stool on which uh assessments sit on, then the obvious thing to ask is whenever you want to assess students are you doing it fairly?  Are you doing it in a way that is reliable and valid?  And you don’t need to get into the psychometrics definitions of those, but it’s important because if you’re going to make generalizations and if you’re going to make decisions about a student based on that assessment, that’s important that it be fair.  What that means is it—it’s reliable and that it’s valid.  The second thing you—you need to—to do is make sure it’s aligned with what it is the student uh is—that you’re instructing so that if you ask a student to divide uh, you know, uh three numbers by two numbers, have you taught him how to do that?  Uh, and so you—if you want to use assessment in a way that identifies what students know so that you can see how other kids do with regard to these same things, one that you want to be sure, that they are aligned with what it is you’re teaching, what’s—what experience is that student has had.  And third the question is, is what I get out of this going to help me?  Is it going to allow me to say, “Ah, after I’ve learned this from the assessment, tomorrow or next week, or through the next month I’m going to change my teaching and learning environment so I can help that student achieve or do better on the assessment.” Really what we mean is do better in terms of learning.  What bothers me about this assessment, or sets of assessments that we use with non-English kids, is many of them fail on each of those three of the fundamentals of assessments.  They’re usually not related to the kinds of validity and reliability that we hold for most other students.  I think it’s obvious examples, if you test your student in uh English and he’s in a program which stresses Spanish, guess what you’re going to find, it’s not going to be valid, it’s not going to be reliable.  Moreover, it’s not going to be related to what the student has been learning. And thirdly, you can’t make any decisions about what is going to happen—what you’re going to do with that student.  So it fails on all those grounds.  And many policies in this state of California and throughout the country, even at the Federal level, we have to be very careful with students who do speak English or who in uh instructional settings in which languages other than English are being used, that we in fact align ourselves uh in ways that allow the students to be reliable, to be fair, allow them to be useful and allow them to be interpretable in a way that allows us to understand how they do with regard to other students like them and how they can help us really prepare or convert a—not a successful instructional environment to a much more uh successful instructional environment.  And for many of our students we quite honestly have not done a good job in developing those assessments and that bothers me from a policy perspective but also from a practice perspective.

No, I—I think my only—my only favorite issue is one that um that says that individuals who prepare instruction for kids uh are going to make a difference. Uh, it’s not going to be the uh, fancy curriculum or even right now access to wonderful Internet. It’s going to be how professionals, particularly teachers, organize a set of resources to maximize learning for these students.  So my soapbox is let’s prepare the very best and let’s continue to prepare them so they can make a difference in the kids’ lives. 

Uh, the uh politics of uh second language or language minority students in this country is always been uh problematic for the language minority student. (laugh) It’s—it uh—it is usually based on a set of um preconceived notions about students which typically uh are on the most part negative.  Uh, students themselves and—and their research around students as they’re treated in schools suggest that we, in the United States, still see non-English speaking students as not the norm and we’re trying to move them to the norm. That means they’re perceived as less than, as immigrant, as they don’t belong here and our attempt is to try to make them belong here, and belonging is sort of this uh assimilationist modeled at we want everyone to speak English and eat the same kind of food and have the same kind of values and---as I do.  And the problem with that, of course, politically uh is uh that minorities never have a fair shake in a situation politically where there are majorities.  And in the United States the majority rules.  It’s a democracy.  I don’t know a better system; I’m not going to argue against uh something anti-Democratic.  On the other hand, there needs to be policies and procedures that protect minorities in a majority Democratic process.  And essentially what I learned in Washington is that uh the Democratic process at times can, in fact, succeed for minority individuals if, in fact, the case can be made that what we’re doing for those individuals really is the best interest. Not only those individuals, but in the best interest of the majority.  And that’s how you get majorities on board to working with minorities. And that’s a political formula and it—it works differently for different times.  Uh, in the time I was in Washington, we worked very, very hard to send a message to the majority that we wanted for language minority populations an additive model of education, not a subtractive model. Uh, very—in simple terms, what we wanted is children to acquire those core values that are clearly American, the important language that is clearly American, and that’s English, but we didn’t want them to do it at the expense of losing their own linguistic and cultural backgrounds, their heritage languages and cultures.  Uh, so we—we politicked for an additive model.  What I learned is that it’s possible.  We, in fact, passed a set of bills that were more additive in nature. In fact, in the set of uh proposals now that go to Washington, those proposals that move on an additive um educational model are perceived and granted more priority than those that do not. So we were able to pass that.  And that—the argument we made is that this is good. This is good for the minority and it’s good for the majority.  They learn the majority ways of language and educational culture at least uh, and they also become more uh participatory because they’re recognized and respected.  Uh, the recent setbacks to that added model is Proposition 227 in California in which we got the message from the majority, not the minority.  Remember language minority students, particular Latinos, and parents didn’t vote for this.  This majority did.  Uh, so again the majority is acting on behalf of the entire state, which includes a set of minorities. And essentially, that was a top down reform, which is essentially said to minorities, “We want you to assimilate as fast as possible.  Don’t use your language.  We don’t want you to lose your—we don’t want you to keep your culture, we want you to move.  And so we—we have these offset political uh agendas and my guess is with a demographic push in California and Florida and Nebraska and Iowa, that we’re going to move even—we’re going to move again to the additive model.  Um, I don’t want to date this but uh a recent announcement by Secretary Riley essentially argued for our two-way programs.  These are additive models. These take kids who speak a language other than English and say, “Let’s add English--let’s add educational content in English, but let’s also add uh Spanish and another language—or another language, to those kids who come in speaking English.”  So everybody wins.  It’s a win/win situation.  And in each case it’s what I will call an additive model.  Each is respective for what or he—what he or she brings to the classroom and one adds to what one brings in terms of language and culture. 

Uh, in—in many cases the way policy works, uh and it didn’t I don’t think in the time I was in Washington, uh is that you tend to react to a crisis by passing a law. So uh whether it’s anti-gun legislation or any other kind of crisis intervention in education, one of the ways that we responded to a flood of immigrants in—in the last 20, 30 years into the United States is to pass immigrant education.  And what happened during one legislative session is a set of well-meaning legislatures and a set of well-meaning educators said, “We need help. We’ve got a lot of immigrant kids that we didn’t have before.  Help us by sending us some money from immigrant ed.”  And, in fact, it happened.  The crisis developed, a set of legislation was passed and you had legislation, which was not very uh enriching, did not provide the kind of opportunities.  It was formulaic.  It says, “If you’ve got x amount of bodies, you get x amount of dollars.” It didn’t take into account that some immigrants are different then un-immigrants.  The refuges are different than immigrants.  That a student coming in who has no schooling experience is very different then an immigrant whose come in uh from Mexico, for example, and has five years of solid schooling experience.  Those folks are different.  So what happens during a crisis is you try to pass legislation and get resources appropriately so to the folks that are affected by this crisis. What you do more, sort of conceptually and what you do more reflectively as we tried to do in the Improving America School Act is to say, “Wait a minute, that might have been passed in a crisis.  We’re in a different time now, let’s provide a set of resources with lots of degrees (watch beeps) of freedoms for people to behave or respond to these individuals in very different ways so that one immigrant doesn’t equal another immigrant.”  So the responsive pedagogy, the kinds of teachers, the kinds of resources that might be needed in Iowa, but are very different then the ones needed in Los Angeles. For the same kind of student we might call immigrant.  Uh, the other thing we recognize is that a student can be immigrant, can be migrant, can be poor, can be a special ed student all at one time.  Well, do we need each of those categorically programs to deal with that student or do we need a comprehensive way to act in a policy format that deals with the complexity of that individual student?  And so that’s what we try to do more systematically because previously crisis legislation said, “Let’s help special ed.  Let’s help those kids who are migrant. Let’s help those kids who don’t speak English.  Let’s help those kids who are immigrant.” Uh, and you see so forth. And what you get is very desperate or disparate uh kinds of separated policies and when they get to the school they say, “Oh, my gosh!  We’ve got to deal with immigrants this way, poor kids this way, non-English speakers this way.’ And we said, “Look, let’s be reflective, let’s be a little bit more comprehensive, let’s understand how we can pull those together.”  That’s what I mean by not responding to—in crisis way in a legislative manner.  Even though sometimes very good intentions, people do that.  Time to be reflective, time to be more comprehensive and deal with the issue in that way.

Uh, what I would put under essentially—essential policy, particularly for linguistic and cultural diverse students is understanding not necessarily the specific articulations of Lowe decisions, but what it means in terms of a student’s right to an education in this country.  Basically what that decision did, much like Brown versus Brogue uh did for uh seg—desecrating schools, for making clear that African-American kids had a right to high quality education, Lowe said the same thing for a set of kids who come to school not speaking English.  What a teacher needs to realize is that that student has, on the basis of our constitution, interpreted by the Supreme Court, a right to a high quality education that takes into account language difference.  So a teacher can’t just say, “Well, I’m teaching and I’m teaching and I’m a good teacher.” A student has a right under the Supreme Court decision, on the 14 amendment of the Constitution of the United States to a—to the instruction that is directly related to that student’s language difference.  You can’t treat that student like you treat an English speaker. You can throw everything else out and that’s what I want teachers to understand. You not only have an intellectual responsibility, a professional responsibility, but you have a legal responsibility.  And if you don’t do it, you’re going to find yourself in court and I don’t want that to be the incentive as to why you do things the way you do them, but I think you need to understand as you talk to colleagues and they start saying things like, “Well, they don’t need to do anything special for these kids,” say, “Yes, you do.  If for no other reason, is that their rights have been articulated by the Supreme Court just like your rights and my rights as a citizen have been articulated by the Constitution, by the Bill of Rights, and by the Supreme Court.”  They have the same standing as you and I do.

Uh, when you think about testing, I think the better way to phrase this is to think about assessment.  We do assessments of students learning because we want to first know how kids are doing, uh because we ought to know how kids are doing uh as teachers, as parents, as administrators, as policy makers who are responsible for uh the good of the people.  We ought to know how kids are doing.  Uh, secondly, we ought to—we ought to be able to know how they’re doing with regard to others so that we say, “Well gee, um Juanito’s learning English.”  Well, is Juanito learning English as well as other kids like him are learning English?  Maybe in Louisiana or uh in New York City or in Los Angeles—even though I’m in San Francisco.  So, this is what we call sort of a normed notion.  So I think it’s legitimate to know is the education Juanito’s getting and the results of that education through an assessment, is that as good as what someone else is getting because we want to—going back to issues that have to deal with students rights as determined by the Supreme Court, we want to—we want to make sure that they’re getting fair treatment and they’re achieving like other kids like them who have opportunities to achieve.  The third thing that we want to do with assessments is we want to make them useful for us.  When I’m uh, an instructor or I’m a principal, uh I’m trying to make decisions about what I’m going to do in my class tomorrow. I want to have a set of assessments that help me understand that. I want to have a whole bunch of other things too.  Including my experience and my training and—so I’m not—I’m not going to say all you need is a set of assessments.  But I think you need a set of assessment essentially that—that help you do that.  If you take those sort of uh—that—that triangle or the—the stool on which uh assessments sit on, then the obvious thing to ask is whenever you want to assess students are you doing it fairly?  Are you doing it in a way that is reliable and valid?  And you don’t need to get into the psychometrics definitions of those, but it’s important because if you’re going to make generalizations and if you’re going to make decisions about a student based on that assessment, that’s important that it be fair.  What that means is it—it’s reliable and that it’s valid.  The second thing you—you need to—to do is make sure it’s aligned with what it is the student uh is—that you’re instructing so that if you ask a student to divide uh, you know, uh three numbers by two numbers, have you taught him how to do that?  Uh, and so you—if you want to use assessment in a way that identifies what students know so that you can see how other kids do with regard to these same things, one that you want to be sure, that they are aligned with what it is you’re teaching, what’s—what experience is that student has had.  And third the question is, is what I get out of this going to help me?  Is it going to allow me to say, “Ah, after I’ve learned this from the assessment, tomorrow or next week, or through the next month I’m going to change my teaching and learning environment so I can help that student achieve or do better on the assessment.” Really what we mean is do better in terms of learning.  What bothers me about this assessment, or sets of assessments that we use with non-English kids, is many of them fail on each of those three of the fundamentals of assessments.  They’re usually not related to the kinds of validity and reliability that we hold for most other students.  I think it’s obvious examples, if you test your student in uh English and he’s in a program which stresses Spanish, guess what you’re going to find, it’s not going to be valid, it’s not going to be reliable.  Moreover, it’s not going to be related to what the student has been learning. And thirdly, you can’t make any decisions about what is going to happen—what you’re going to do with that student.  So it fails on all those grounds.  And many policies in this state of California and throughout the country, even at the Federal level, we have to be very careful with students who do speak English or who in uh instructional settings in which languages other than English are being used, that we in fact align ourselves uh in ways that allow the students to be reliable, to be fair, allow them to be useful and allow them to be interpretable in a way that allows us to understand how they do with regard to other students like them and how they can help us really prepare or convert a—not a successful instructional environment to a much more uh successful instructional environment.  And for many of our students we quite honestly have not done a good job in developing those assessments and that bothers me from a policy perspective but also from a practice perspective.

No, I—I think my only—my only favorite issue is one that um that says that individuals who prepare instruction for kids uh are going to make a difference. Uh, it’s not going to be the uh, fancy curriculum or even right now access to wonderful Internet. It’s going to be how professionals, particularly teachers, organize a set of resources to maximize learning for these students.  So my soapbox is let’s prepare the very best and let’s continue to prepare them so they can make a difference in the kids’ lives.