http://paloaltoonline.com/square/print/2010/12/09/mandarin-immersion-program-now-ongoing


Town Square

Mandarin Immersion program now 'ongoing'

Original post made on Dec 9, 2010

Palo Alto's once-controversial Mandarin Immersion program was elevated from the status of "pilot" to "ongoing" Tuesday with nary a whimper of complaint from opponents. The program serves 88 K-3 children in four classrooms at Ohlone School.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, December 9, 2010, 9:41 AM

Comments

Posted by Special-Interests-Win-Again, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2010 at 12:25 pm


> "We literally moved our family to Palo Alto today," said
> John Lily, former CEO of Mozilla Firefox.

> "Specifically, the reason we moved to Palo Alto was
> for Mandarin Immersion."

What a crock! People of this income level could easily afford to pay for private school, or private tutoring, for this, or any language. Yet, here is this guy, latching on to the Palo Alto taxpayers to pay for his personal educational agenda.

> Noting the global nature of his business

The global nature of business is that the "language of prosperity" is English. If this fellow is claiming that one of these days English will be displaced with Mandarin, then maybe he should come out and say so. Given the difficulty of Mandarin, it's not bloody likely that anyone in his right mind would demand payment in Yuan, contracts written in Mandarin, and all conflict resolution in Chinese Courts.

But of course, this fellow didn't say that .. he actually didn't say anything of much value, did he?

The School Board pretty much ignored the wishes of the community by allowing this program to get started. Claims that it would "benefit the community" have proven false, and there is little published evidence that it will be "cost neutral".

Most of the community seemed to support Mandarin in the high schools. The topic of on-line Mandarin in the elementary schools was not discussed at the time, so the availability, or effectiveness, of this sort of language teaching tool is unknown at the moment. There seems to be little on-going effort by the school board but to bow down to the people who demanded this program, and then threated to petition for the start of a charter school if they did not get their way.

What was also particularly disturbing at the time was Board Member Dana Tom's claiming that the communications to the school board about this matter were racists. Mr. Tom never provided any evidence, but being a political creature--there's no doubt he played the "race card" to paint anyone who was an independent thinker as "racist". The dialog was at times heated, but there didn't seem to be any racism that was over .. just to those people (like Dana Tom), who felt that they could call political opponents "racists" and get away with it.

So far, this program does not seem to have produced much. Whether future school boards will demand more exacting documentation from the administration about the costs, and value of the program, is an open question. Given how meaningless the school board elections turn out to be, it's difficult to believe the community will ever get this sort of information on a yearly basis.


Posted by Tea Party, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 9, 2010 at 12:30 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Sigh, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2010 at 1:51 pm

"The global nature of business is that the 'language of prosperity' is English."

That may be true, and that's exactly why people all over the world, including the Chinese, are learning English. But if, say 20 years from now, your little Tommy is doing business with a Chinese who's also fluent in English, won't he be in a disadvantaged position if all he can speak is nothing but that "language of properity" of yours? Wouldn't his company be better off sending someone else who has the language skill to do the job instead of your little Tommy? In fact, this is already happening now. Those who you label as the "special-interests" are simply the ones who have the foresight to recognize this trend.


Posted by here we go again, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Dec 9, 2010 at 2:09 pm

If, in 20 years time, little Tommy is doing business with Mexico, all those years learning Mandarin will have been a total waste of time.


Posted by mmmmMom, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 9, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Excellent points, "Special Interests Win Again."

I completely agree that it was a done deal, & that the issues of the greater majority were ignored. And calling the race card was immature & cheap theatrics. WHEN will ALL P.A. school children be able to learn a 2nd language? It is shameful!

And for all those silly people who think Mandarin is going to be necessary in even 20 years, I have 1 word for you: India.


Posted by Ohlone Mom, a resident of Ohlone School
on Dec 9, 2010 at 4:03 pm

There's undediably a racial undertone in the recent MI debates in PA. Racism or not, it's a reflection of a growing tension in a community where certain ethnic minorities (Chinese in particular) are rapidly reaching a critical mass. The article below is about Cupertino, but it sheds light on the reason why some people here are so upset, and even obsessed, about the MI issue.

Web Link

According to the article, a Cupertino school board member received hate mail and threatening phone calls after the trustees considered implementing an MI kindergarten class.

As Duane Kubo, dean of the intercultural/international studies department at De Anza College observed (quoted in the article):

"The history of the United States is one of resentment and racism toward newcomers. It's not just Asian groups, but every group--anti-Irish, anti-Italian, anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish. We have a low tolerance for newcomers."

Sadly, it's all human nature.


Posted by another cupertino link, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 9, 2010 at 4:26 pm

This is usually the article about Cupertino that is posted: Web Link


Posted by Barron Park, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 9, 2010 at 5:53 pm

mmmmmMom might note that the Indian human resources minister in September commented that "The best way to introduce China in India is to introduce its language at primary level so that our kids develop interest and knowledge about China."
Web Link

I am not a fan of the manner in which the program in PA was pushed through, but I think most analyses will show that in the long run Mandarin is far more likely to compete with English for international dominance that is Hindi or Spanish.

According to Wikipedia, there are very nearly as many native Mandarin speakers as there are English, Spanish and Hindi combined. Further, English really is for practical purposes the national language for science and business in India.
Web Link
Definitely not so in China.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 9, 2010 at 6:42 pm

I was never in favor of MI, but now that we have it I feel that changing the status to ongoing is premature unless important questions are satisfactorily answered. These may have been answered last night, but the article does not cover it.

Ql. Is Ohlone going to continue to be the ongoing home for the program. This is a different question than should it be the home for the pilot program.

Q2. What will happen when the program reaches the higher elementary grades to increase class size as all other higher elementary grades? Is there any way of knowing whether we will have enough students to increase the class size? Will this be a permanent small classroom program?

Q3. If kindergarten applications fall below the 20 per class needed, will the program be suspended for that year or will it continue with an even smaller class size?

Q4. If attrition becomes a problem, how long will it take for the program to be suspended?


Posted by Long time parent, a resident of College Terrace
on Dec 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Combining grade levels is the district's most common way of dealing with enrollment ups & downs in any particular year.


Posted by maguro_01, a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 9, 2010 at 7:57 pm

Clearly immersion at an age younger than 9 or so is the best way to learn a language and speak it with a minimal accent. Humans are wired to soak up languages as small children and start to lose that ability as they get older. Mandarin is a major language and one of increasing importance to Americans going forwards in life and business. While English - usually British English - is the present universal language of choice in business, within China it isn't.

It's a disadvantage to negotiate in another language unless you are really, really fluent, so negotiating in English is an advantage. It's hard to BS in another language and even remember well what you really said from one week to the next. But if you have to talk to people in an organization - like a factory - you will be trying to communicate with people who don't know English to speak of. US corporations don't like to deal with just one or two people in an organization who speak English for many reasons including trust issues.

It may seem that there are so many people now in the US who speak Mandarin at home that it doesn't make sense for non-Chinese Americans to bother. Not necessarily - domestic speech is not enough for business. There are a number of non-Chinese Americans, fluent and literate in Mandarin, working in Zhuhai City/Shenzhen for Chinese companies for foreign dealings, especially with the US. Some of them show up at CES in Las Vegas every January.

As always, Palo Alto politics are bitter and contentious. Calling Mandarin, Spanish, maybe Hindi in the future "special interests" is unreasonable. As Americans we have to get over ourselves and our insularity fast, the door is slamming shut in our faces. And the real "special interests" are doing it - including what's going on in those industrial park buildings we drive by everyday.

We have enough problems otherwise. California is choosing to ration education by charging more for it. This Republican/Libertarian solution is dangerous and unwise as usual. It should be rationed if necessary by raising the bar and dropping majors like undergrad Journalism or Psychology. As minors maybe they work, as majors they are a luxury to implement the degree as an entitlement idea. That might even mean giving weight to language-free testing, then grading out people at the college level fairly ruthlessly.

Talent is quite distributed across populations and dumping the majority of the brightest in a generation because they don't have money is foolish. It also effectively kicks most the brightest of a generation out of the society which is very unwise. Note too that it's harder to protest being flunked out than priced out. These remarks are lent weight by the results of the immediate post WWII GI Bill, and by the results of places like CCNY or NYU in the years before they caved in on standards and the population of the city stopped giving them unqualified support as they lost respect.

We must do better by all the students, but saying that all students have to do well or they will all be judged dummies is also a very bad idea, mostly pushed by special interests who want more work visas and the politically correct with their peculiar version of elitism.

Thanks for the space.


Posted by anonymous, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 9, 2010 at 8:57 pm

Clearly, a specialty program most would consider luxurious, for a small, select population. Ridiculous program when taken in context of the overall interests and needs of this k-12 unified school district.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 9, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Why is it that those who are opposed to MI bring up race every time the discussion comes up?


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 10, 2010 at 8:39 am

Resident - good questions about what happens to enrollment in the upper grades (4 and 5). Looking at the enrollment this year, Escondido's SI program has 17 5th graders in one class and 18 in another, 4 of the other elementary schools have 24 in every 5th grade class, the others vary from 20-22 per class. It does not appear as if any effort has been made to add students to bring those classes in line with the rest of the district. I would say that have 7 less kids in my class, in addition to learning a language that no one else is learning at the expense of a public school district is unfair.

Long time resident - the immersion classes already combine grades. The rest of the district grows their 4th and 5th grade classes by 10-20% compared to K-3. The immersion program shrinks by 25% in 4th and 5th grade instead.


Posted by attrition, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 10, 2010 at 9:27 am

There should be a policy in place for class sizes that drop say 25% below the median to have classes combined. It is up to the immersion communities and district to make sure the classes are evenly filled.
If they can't do it, there obviously isn't the interest and a class should be removed.


Posted by Special-Interests-Win-Again, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2010 at 10:25 am

> Calling Mandarin, Spanish, maybe Hindi in the future
> "special interests" is unreasonable

Well .. given that this MI program was started with about $66K, of secret money, which the school district went to great ends to hide the names of those contributing from the public, that those promoting this program threated to petition for a charter school that would have had potentially devastating results for the future of the PAUSD, since every immigrant group that decided it didn't want its children taught in English, would have most likely attempted the same path to insure that they did not have to "assimilate" like previous generations of immigrants--it's a little hard not to label this situation as one of "special interests" (against the rest of us).

People who believe that leaning Mandarin will somehow be "career shaping"--giving their children a "leg up" on future jobs in/about some sector of the China, Inc.--might want to consider how China really works. The following is a clear example of how China will, more likely than not, want to deliver "turn key" solutions into the US market place, which have been designed by Chinese engineers, and manufactured by Chinese Industry--in China:

Chinese Firm May Build/Operate US Wind Farm:
Web Link

We are also seeing these same overtures with China offering to both bankroll, and build, the so-called HSR. It's very unlikely that China will be looking for very many Mandarin-speaking, PAUSD grads in the near, or far-term.


> We must do better by all the students

The US is currently spending about 8% of its GDP for education, funded at all levels of government. Some private estimates are that we are spending upwards of another 10% of GDP for education in the private sector (private schools through on-the-job training). We we may need to do "better by all students".. we are already pushing the edge of national bankruptcy (if we have not already plunged over the edge). The idea that the public school system has an obligation to walk away from its core values to please a few can only be seen as a trend towards national cultural suicide.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 10, 2010 at 11:34 am

yesterday i read a yahoo headline it is a survey about which country will offer most jobs and prosperities in the future. guess what 47% choose china only 20 something choose us, what a sad reality.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 10, 2010 at 11:37 am

by the way it is done by us in us with us people.


Posted by Special-Interests-Win-Again, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm

> i read a yahoo headline it is a survey about which country
> will offer most jobs and prosperities in the future

Yes .. but with China having about 20% of the world's population, and the US having, maybe, 5%-6%, China will always have more "jobs". As to prosperity, that is another question. The per-capita-income for China is about $3,700 (very near the bottom of the list of nations), the US per-capita-income is about $46,000--near the top of the list of nations.

The size of the economy of China will doubtless top that of the US one of these days, particularly when China starts to focus on consumer spending as necessary to grow their GDP, and increase the prosperity of the Chinese people.

List of Countries--Per-Capita-GDP:
Web Link

China has hundreds of millions of people whose income is less than $1,000 a year. It will take a long time to reconfigure their economy to see these peoples' incomes. But, this is not a zero-sum game. There are winners and losers. We should be looking at what kinds of education the US should be focusing up so that we will be more competitive with a "new China" in the not too distant future.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 10, 2010 at 6:41 pm

do not forget the cost of living there in those undeveloped area are so cheap you won't believe it.they can get by $1000 a year better than $40,000 year in bay area.


Posted by neighbor, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 10, 2010 at 9:16 pm

To me, this is not about racism, future jobs, or whatever. We are in lean times, and this is about priorities. I find it hard to justify making any program permanent that serves only a select few, whether it's Mandarin or anything else. The exception would be programs that target children with special NEEDS, not special INTERESTS (i.e., special education to move toward mainstreaming vs. spending money on a small group of students either learning a new language, or, in the case of those already speaking a language at home, learning subjects in their native tongue). In the latter case, I cannot see the justification for using public dollars to provide what amounts to small group tutorials for current Mandarin speakers. Of course I see the value in our children learning languages from a young age, but this doesn't address that deficit in our education system in any meaningful way. This program has the potential to satisfy a few insistent parents while potentially limiting resources for more essential needs.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2010 at 1:11 am

I note many comments about the unimportance of learning a foreign language and Mandarin in particular. Those writers are clearly uninformed. As a parent, you owe it to your kids to read up on the benefits of learning another language. Some of these are cognitive, some are related to your mother tongue, some are cultural, and some are economic. And if you don't think the ability to speak Mandarin is a valuable skill for an American, you are out of touch with international business.

Neighbor,

You are disingenuous, at best. MI does not take up additional resources--in fact, it brought money into the district.

You claim this is not about racism, yet you immediately complain about "insistent parents" who get free tutorials for their current Mandarin-speaking kids. We can all read between the lines, and your point is ugly.

Everyone in the district has a right to an education. Your kids' needs are not the same as everyone else's, and it is selfish to insist that others make the same choices you do. We have choice programs in this district to meet the diverse needs of the community, yet you harp on one ethnic minority. I wonder why.

As for special needs and mainstreaming, the district spends huge sums on individual pupils already due to federal legislation and litigious parents. What more do you want?


Posted by Parent, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 11, 2010 at 3:16 am

I love and support the learning of any language, and believe that language can be learned at any time in an individuals life - if the desire and motivation is there.

I learned Spanish at University level, although I was an engineering major.
It was my favorite and most fun class. I went on to teach science to Hispanic students in predominately Hispanic schools for a year during my senior undergrad year.
At around age 30, I learned a tonal Asian language while working is SE Asia. I was motivated because I loved the people and culture. Upon returning from my 5 year assignment, I had such a perfect tone on the phone, that people who spoke this language here, did not know I was not Asian (it was not Mandarin Chinese, although some Cantonese people are able to understand a few of the things due to overlap).

It is never to late to learn a language.

My love and understanding of both Hispanic culture and Asian culture was a result of my own personal desire to master the learning and understanding of both of these cultures.

I now have a student in beginning Spanish. He chose it himself.
He had never seen or paid attention to Spanish, although he hears and sees it all the time in stores around here. He was placed in a class with students from SI from Escondido and other students who have had experience with Spanish. He does not understand how to study a foreign language, and is failing. He told me that he feels he does not have a gift for foreign languages, and is angry about having enrolled in this class.

Sometimes a child may actually rebel if required to learn a language at a young age - especially at an age where kids are trying so hard to fit in, learn to become themselves, and fit in with other students. Some of his best friends abhor having to learn Chinese = forced by their parents. I know this since he has many friends. His friends confide in me, but preface it with "Don't tell my mom ...".

My feeling is this...I actually feel that kids will prosper from learning a language of their choice at a latter age.

I don't care what any graduate students at Stanford say. They need to say this to support their grants in teaching.

You can learn Chinese, French, Spanish, or any language if the desire and motivation are there.

Let your kids astound you when they are older, if they take an overseas study program, or decide to enroll in the language of their choice when they are older.

I know of quite a few professors at Stanford (in many science and engineering fields) who learned Mandarin after they married graduate students from China. They became quite fluent at a late stage.

Just my own personal opinion.


Posted by Parent, a resident of Jordan Middle School
on Dec 11, 2010 at 4:02 am

I forgot to add this...

Many children of Chinese families are interested in learning their ancestral language when they are older - to connect with their heritage.

It is their personal motivation, and their desire to connect with their heritage.

If forced by their parents, many of them have told me that their parents made them take it. The result is that they despise their parents when the get older - late 20's and up (after college). They start to really release "the truth."

Let your kids assimilate here, and when they get older most will show a genuine interest in their culture without the anger towards their parents. This anger is expressed when they are finally out of their parents control.

Just my opinion.

I have so many close Chinese friends, and other Asian friends who are telling me the same story.

There is definitely some truth to this.








Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 11, 2010 at 8:41 am

i have talked to some of the young chinese american adults, a lot of them blame their parents for not insisting them learning chinese after they themselves asked repetitively to quit. now, they are realizing what kind of opportunities they had given up upon. they are trying to learn more by old age but it is very hard.


Posted by trlingual, a resident of Crescent Park
on Dec 11, 2010 at 9:35 am

"learn more by old age but it is very hard."

No it's not. Languages are easy to learn at any age. It doesn't require any special skill set or ability to learn a language.
The *only* advantage in learning a language when you're young is to get the accent right.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 11, 2010 at 9:48 am

Many of the posters here should check the definition of "need" and "want". We all need food to eat and some of us want to eat lobster and caviar, some want meat and veg cooked well and others just manage on a nice salad.

The point to me is that if we are not teaching all our elementary students a language then we are giving some of our students something better by giving them immersion. If this was a case that there was immersion for anyone who wanted it and the rest got a couple of hours a week and it was at parents discretion, then I would have no problem with our immersion programs. But it doesn't work like that. We have some lucky lottery winners who get lobster and caviar provided by public schools. The rest get nothing. Is this really the way we want PAUSD public schools to work?

As Marie Antoinette famously said, let them go eat cake.As long as those that have it get their wants (not needs) met, who cares about the rest?


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 11, 2010 at 10:49 am

chinese is a very difficult language, not only you can not guess what the word sounds like by looking at it but also they have many many tones that american people can not say, a word with the same pinying,but means two different things, and there are thousands of those same pinying different meanings words. how can you learn it when you can not pronounce it right, you actually mean a different thing.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 11, 2010 at 10:59 am

sorry i mean two words with same pinying(a system using a-z to help pronounce the words).


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 11, 2010 at 12:11 pm

For many of us, Mandarin Immersion and Spanish Immersion are not about the language being taught, or even the value of learning a language. They are both programs in which, as Resident put it, a small group of students are getting lobster and caviar (Foreign Language Instruction) and the rest of the elementary students get nothing. Nothing. This is not a case of being taught the same curriculum in a particular manner (like Ohlone and Hoover). It is an academic advantage for a small group of students that is not available to the rest of the kids. Nor is it even available to all those who want it, hence the lottery.

Foreign language is an academic subject that none of the other elementary kids have. How would parents react if only a hundred kids in PAUSD got any science instruction? And those same kids had the advantage of smaller class sizes than the rest of the District? Would people think it was racist and selfish to protest? Immersion is the same, a privilege received by a small group, at the expense of others (at least in class size).


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 11, 2010 at 12:31 pm

it is the fault of our government. in china the students(everyone) get english lessons as early as second grade.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 11, 2010 at 12:41 pm

spending billions on an unjust war instead of this meagre money on education.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm

These analogies involving caviar are confused.

The choice programs meet the needs of some families but not others. That is why they are choice.

The fact that Palo Alto offers no language instruction in elementary has nothing to do with the choice programs, and blaming them is dishonest. It's particularly contradictory when some support some choice programs but not others.

There is no evidence that Palo Alto parents value languages enough to support their instruction in elementary.

Also, immersion programs do not teach any additional academic subjects. They simply have the curriculum delivered in a different manner (a different language).


Posted by Ohlone Mom, a resident of Ohlone School
on Dec 11, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Lobster and caviar? Not everyone cares for such delicacies.

Any of the "choice programs" (a/k/a Ohlone, Hoover, Spanish Immersion, or Mandarin Immersion) could be an academic advantage over the more mainstream programs in the neighboring schools. That depends on who you talk to. Arguably, each one of the choice programs only meets the needs of a relatively small minority of families (e.g., Ohlone and Hoover each enrolls about 8% of students). Also, not everyone is interested in the choice programs. Should these families all be called "special interests"?
Apparently, no one is pointing a finger at those non-MI Ohlone families (my own family included) for "selfishly" enjoying the Ohlone Way all by themselves.

Why single out MI?

I agree we should have language education at an early age.


Posted by saejin, a resident of Mountain View
on Dec 11, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I sent my son to Mandarin Immersion for grades 1 to 4 in Palo Alto. I thought it would give him a more competitive chance in the world. Nothing could be further from the truth. He, and now I, view it as a ignorant waste of his youth. He was subjected to the kind less training that pervades Chinese education and racists values and disrespect for everything not Chinese. It cost me over 100K in private tuition, and private tutors. The death nail was when he visited Taiwan and China. I suggest anyone that is thinking of going down this route try to find ANY American child that was subjected to Chinese immersion without native speaking parents that did not rebel in his teens (as most Chinese children do) and has lost nearly all ability before their 20s. To use tax payer money for this subversion of American cultural training, is a travesty. It helps build a sub-culture with great contempt for American culture. We should not only subject our children to this, but save the poor American Born Chinese children from this path. I suggest to people they send their children to learn Spanish, German, and French as they will learn all three for the cost and effort to learn Mandarin, and they will be able to visit pleasant places and enjoy what they learned. Been there, done that.... so sorry for my son....


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 11, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Gan - do you really think that " immersion programs do not teach any additional academic subjects. They simply have the curriculum delivered in a different manner (a different language)."
If you are in the MI program - YOU ARE LEARNING MANDARIN! aka as an academic subject, if you are in the SI program YOU ARE LEARNING SPANISH! - aka as an a academic subject. Guess what, you can major in Mandarin or Spanish in College. I don't think you can major in The Ohlone Way or Direct Instruction at Stanford.

To say that ANY foreign language immersion program does not teach an academic subject is an insult to any of our World Language teachers.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 11, 2010 at 11:00 pm


why does not one send his little one to learn three dead languages?he will become an expert in researching those histories.


Posted by Ohlone Mom, a resident of Ohlone School
on Dec 12, 2010 at 12:05 am

palo alto mom - It seems your concept of academic advantage is nothing beyond something that can be classified as an "academic subject" (a/k/a something "one can major at Stanford"). Well, in that sense, don't all the non-MI kids have an academic over the MI kids by getting more instruction in English?

BTW, speaking of Stanford, I just saw this article about its president, John Hennessy, on this website:

Web Link

> Not many years later, a chip company Hennessy co-founded here "is > entirely global" -- with engineering in China, Taiwan and India;
> manufacturing primarily in China and Taiwan; direct customers
> mainly in China and secondary customers -- including Cisco, Dell, > and HP -- across the globe.

> "This is the future," he said.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 12, 2010 at 5:38 am

palo alto mom,

You sound unfamiliar with immersion. The languages taught in immersion programs are not "academic subjects." These programs teach the same curriculum but in another language. You cannot have a little bit of immersion. It's all or nothing.

It makes no sense to complain that others in the district get nothing while immersion kids get the entire "subject"--you simply cannot have a little bit of immersion.

I have no way to make sense of your statement about not being able to major in the Ohlone Way at Stanford. The parents who send their kids to the regular Ohlone program do so because they think it benefits their kids. Same for the immersion programs.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] The fact is that pa parents do not value language, so perhaps you'd be better off paying for an after-school tutor.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 12, 2010 at 8:18 am

Gan -

My point is that Immersion Programs teach a language. I assume that the MI kinders are learning to read and write in Mandarin, and the SI kinders learn to read and write in Spanish. So they are learning a language in addition to learning reading, writing, math, art, etc. Just because the language is taught as part of an immersion program instead of as a separate class does not mean the kids are not learning another subject.

When you get to middle and high school, world languages ARE academic subjects. Ohlone and Hoover have different teaching styles, they are not teaching an additional subject.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 12, 2010 at 10:19 am

In china people eran less and they(including the oppressive government) know the importance of English,the students learn english in elementary school. I thought american has the money power in the world, and they igonore the next economic power of China of this century.the students do not start to learn any foreign language until 7th grade, by that time , the student have already developed their accents.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 12, 2010 at 1:19 pm

palo alto mom,

No, languages are not a subject--they are a means. In elementary immersion programs, they are not a subject. They are an alternative way in which the standard curriculum is delivered. But that is not getting us anywhere.

The problem is that you lost track of your own point--which as I understand it has nothing to do with what merits its own class at Stanford. You claim immersion kids get a special serving of something while non-immersion kids get nothing. I pointed out to you that immersion is not something you can chop up and serve around in small portions. There is no way to offer non-immersion kids a weensy bite of the immersion program. If they want to eat, they need to sign up for the whole menu.

If you value language, then sign up. If you don't, stop complaining about others making that choice. Frankly, your discussion seems driven by a fear that other kids are going to get a leg up in high school. Better to focus on making good choices for your own kids than on what everyone else is doing.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 12, 2010 at 2:58 pm

Gan

What you say makes some sense, but you have not got the whole picture.

There is no way that every parent who wants to get into an immersion program is able to. It is the lucky few who win the luck of the draw. That is part of the problem.

The other part of the problem is that the rest get nothing. Immersion kids get to learn to read and write as well as speak two languages. The rest get to learn to speak, read and write one.

Immersion is only of value if it is full time, I agree. But there are other ways of learning a language and our elementary kids are not getting it. Perhaps you think that learning to speak, read and write two languages is the exactly the same as learning to read and write one. Many of us happen to think that learning to speak, read and write two languages is not the same as learning through project learning or direct instruction styles.

When kids get to high school, the ones who have already been learning to speak, read and write a language other than English are able to take a more advanced class than those who have to start a language from the beginning. This is where the advantage lays. It has nothing to do with taking a course at Stanford, but more at what level the playing field is at the beginning of high school. A student with no French starts at French 1a, but someone who has been learning from a young age can skip that class and move into a more advanced level. This gives them a very big advantage when it comes to AP classes. In fact, if someone has been learning to speak, read and write a non-English language since kindergarten, then they will find the AP class in that language much easier than someone who hasn't started until high school. I think we can see that that would be an advantage for that particular student.

This means that the immersion kids are at an academic advantage over their non immersion peers.


Posted by mmmmMom, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 12, 2010 at 3:20 pm

Thank you, Gan, for reiterating what I have been saying about the MI program from the beginning. Which is, to quote you: "The rest get nothing." EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!! It is shamefully unfair for a small percentage of kids to get a foreign language, when the rest get nothing.

PAUSD must have foreign language available to all children.

And your description of what happens in the upper grades is spot-on. In fact, the discrepancy actually begins in middle school.

It is fine, & valuable, to discuss the merits of any immersion program (for any language). But until ALL children have access to the opportunity of learning a foreign language, than such programs are UNFAIR.


Posted by mmmmMom, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 12, 2010 at 3:22 pm

SORRY! I should be thanking "Resident" for her comments - not Gan.
My apologies.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 12, 2010 at 6:57 pm

those mi students' parents also paid their taxes to the country and to the city,they have their rights to say how the school should teach their kids, if they are not satisfied, they have every right to ask for a charter school. anyone in the school district if they have reasonable number of parents want to have their children learn different thing they can do it too.it is the law.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 12, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Gan -

You said" No, languages are not a subject--they are a means" maybe something got lost in the translation. but world languages absolutely are a subject. If you are not sure, please ask any of our World Language teachers if they teach a subject or a means.

My issue is not fear (my kids are already in high school and doing well in their language of choice). It is about fairness. If ALL the students who wanted to be of an immersion program were accepted, it would be fair. If all the kids in PAUSD got access to a foreign language ine elementary school, that would be fair. If all kids in grades 4/5 were in the same size class, that would be fair...


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 12, 2010 at 10:15 pm

mmmmMom,

Er, your point makes no sense. It's not up to MI to provide part-time French lessons to other pausd kids. I mean, you might as well blame AP biology for the same thing, according to your logic. And no, it's not shameful--that is just the way choice programs work. You have to opt in....

Palo Alto Mom,

No, sorry, language is not a subject in elementary immersion, as I explained.

You claim that you are concerned about fairness in the lottery system, yet you complain only about the language immersion programs. That is contradictory. It is plain you don't like the immersion programs and are searching for some justification for your dislike.

All lottery programs are limited--that's just the way they work. It is not Hoover's fault that the district doesn't teach, say, Spanish in elementary. The district cannot afford to make every lottery program open to every child. That would require additional funds and be UNFAIR to other children in the district. I'm sure you don't want to be unfair.

Since you have a passion for languages, you should work for introduction of them in elementary. Unfortunately, almost no one in Palo Alto shares your passion for languages, so you face an uphill struggle.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 13, 2010 at 10:16 am

that is exactly what the district trying to do.they just test the water first,step by step if there are enough demands,they will include every one who wants to enroll in the program in the future i guess.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 13, 2010 at 11:20 am

whowillbe#1

Since the district has not expanded Hoover, Ohlone or SI to meet the full demand at a kinder level, I doubt that any choice program will be open to every child that wants it.

Gan

I understand that Mandarin, Spanish, etc. is not a separate "subject" in elementary school. But it is an academic subject, that later in life, a child can major in. Immersion is a teaching method, as is the "Ohlone way" and Hoover's Direct Instruction. The kids who are at Ohlone (non-MI) and Hoover learn only the PAUSD curriculum. The MI and SI kids learn the PAUSD curriculum and how to read and write in another language.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Resident,

"It is the lucky few who win the luck of the draw." Sure, but that is true for all lottery programs around the country. Nothing unique here. Nothing to complain about.

"The other part of the problem is that the rest get nothing." Well, that has nothing to do with immersion. There is simply no link between immersion and the lack of language instruction. It would make as much sense to complain that the high school history classes are preventing the elementary schools from offering language instruction.

"When kids get to high school, the ones who have already been learning to speak, read and write a language other than English are able to take a more advanced class than those who have to start a language from the beginning." Well, I would hope so--if not, something has gone terribly wrong. You see this as an advantage, but not all parents agree and even those who agree believe the "trade-off" is not worth it. If you value this kind of education, then the rational thing to do is to sign your kid up for it. The irrational thing to do is complain at those who have done the rational thing.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 14, 2010 at 9:17 am

why pick mi while there are three choice programs. if there are enough students want to learn french, they can petition to have it as a choice program too.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 14, 2010 at 12:22 pm

Well, lovely example of the board indicating one thing--that it would open another elementary with the bond money and doing the other--turning Ohlone into a mega-school.

If foreign languages matter in elementary school then they should be widely available instead of to a small percentage of kids. Remember when Grace Mah claimed she was going to work for that? Oh, yeah, that's right, she hasn't.

MI, for which there is less demand than Ohlone main, makes it impossible to expand Ohlone main to meet more of the heavy demand for it. There are basic issues of equity here.

As for population issues--yes, there's a growing Asian population here--in Silicon Valley. Nationwide, or even statewide, we're talking a small minority. And, ironically, with the economic growth of China, that population isn't going to grow as quickly as once projected. (Which means, what we *should* do as a state is focus on keeping our kids in school and train some home-grown engineers instead of the import/export game of talent companies currently play.)

In other words, Mandarin will *never* become as useful a second language in the United States as Spanish. It's simply a numbers game.

And Palo Alto doesn't have a struggling ESL population. It's fairly hard to make your kid a native Mandarin speaker around here. I've seen parents struggle to do it. But kids want to speak the language of the playground and the TV.

China is booming right now, but as a manufacturing base because of its large pool of cheap labor. They're still not known for innovation--though they're getting quite a reputation for ripping it off.

And, of course, Hong Kong where business is actually done has a longgg history of doing business in . . . English . . . as does India.

Which is why China is working on having more Chinese speak English than anywhere else.

As for MI/Ohlone--the program's kind of a mess--inexperienced teachers, some poor classroom management. For Ohlone-main, the administration can really pick the best--teachers love this kind of teaching--not so much with MI.

And, yes, there's been an issue with getting volunteers and building a sense of community with the expansion of the school (and the eradication of most of its playing field.) There's a visibly different quality to the school than there was prior to the MI mess.

MI/Ohlone is just an example of how the board made yet another weak-kneed mediocre decision that doesn't even set the grounds for a decent MI program. If I actually cared about MI for my kid, I'd be up in arms about it.

So any guesses as to which overcrowded middle school going to get the MI program that the board said it wasn't approving? I'm guessing Terman.

And anyone want to make a guess as to what percentage of kids who started MI in K/1 are still studying Mandarin 12 years later?




Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 14, 2010 at 1:35 pm

If MI follows in the SI footsteps, the last grade there will be immersion is 6th grade anyway. 7th and 8th have more advanced Spanish, but the rest of the classes are in English.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 14, 2010 at 6:49 pm

have you guys ever seen the sun day gunn high chinese school,there are over two thousands students study there every week, i am sure they want to go to mi, but they do not have chance, why would not school add more class.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 14, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Whowillbe#1,

Let's see, of those 2,000 students what percentage of them actually live in the district?

What percentage of those parents would sacrifice their kids' academic performance (as shown by the test score issue with MI)?

Among families from East Asian backgrounds, Hoover's, by far, the more popular lottery choice. MI, as even Dana Tom admitted, has low test scores.

I'm just waiting to see when the MI crowd realizes that careful what you wish for, you might get it--is a curse not a blessing.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 14, 2010 at 8:16 pm

uit does not matter where they live they are coming here if we have mi program avaible to all then they will come here and our property value will increase 2000folds.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Fairmeadow
on Dec 14, 2010 at 8:32 pm

wait to see, palo alto will become cupertino and saratoga soon.they are both offerring chinese lesson in schools.IT DOES NOT MAtter you like it or not.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 14, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Whowillbe,

Hate to break it to you, but it takes money to move here. I've known plenty of people who wanted to live here, but can't afford it.

Nothing to do with the presence of MI--the district was already desirable.

And Cupertino's housing prices have not been helped by the perception that some of its schools are "too Asian". Caucasians look elsewhere because they don't want their kids to be a small minority at a school. Asian-Americans who've had families here for a few generation don't want their kids in that environment and savvy immigrants want their kids to be in a mixed environment because the reality of the United States is that Asians are small minority.

Palo Alto costs an arm and a leg because at this point, everyone still wants to live here.


Posted by whowillbe#1, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Dec 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 14, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Face it: we have a large Asian population, and it is growing. This has benefitted our schools, just as it benefitted those in Cupertino. And for those with a property price fixation, this will only lead to higher prices, as it did in Cupertino.

MI is not to blame for:
-the expansion of the Ohlone site
-the lack of language instruction in elementary
-your failure to volunteer
-the lack of room for plain Ohlone to expand
-global warming

Mandarin is:
-the most widely spoken second language in this area
-spoken by a billion people
-becoming a regional language of Asia
-the language of the world's number two economic power

And btw, immersion programs improve academic performance. The idea that Spanish is more useful than Mandarin is silly. A language is more or less useful depending on what you want to use it for.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 15, 2010 at 8:43 am

Gan - We certainly have a growing Asian population, whether this is benefitting our schools (and Cupertino's) is a matter of opinion. There have been several articles about families leaving Cupertino or avoiding moving there. Some value the raised test scores and some are concerned with the increasing level of stress.

MI is not to blame "for the expansion of the the Ohlone site or the lack of language instruction in elementary schools." But it is to absolutely to blame for the "lack of room for plain Ohlone to expand". Without MI, the extra space at Ohlone would be used for the regular Ohlone program. I also think many regular Ohlone program parents view the MI parents as being less likely to volunteer for school-wide events than the regular Ohlone parents. I know other elementary schools with growing Asian populations have experienced the same problem. Whether they are related or not, I have no idea.

There is evidence that "immersion programs improve academic performance" but mainly for ESL kids, not kids whose first language is English. Spanish is definitely more useful than Mandarin on a daily basis in the Bay area. What language will be most useful in 10 years? I don't know.

I think that the debate on whether we should be teaching our students Mandarin is silly, its a useful language to learn. The debate on whether we should have added another choice program is a valid one, especially since it was added because of the threat of a charter school.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 15, 2010 at 10:40 am

"But it is to absolutely to blame for the "lack of room for plain Ohlone to expand"."

Naw. That was the board. Also, no reason to think that Ohlone would have expanded if MI hadn't come along.

"I also think many regular Ohlone program parents view the MI parents as being less likely to volunteer for school-wide events than the regular Ohlone parents." Well, that is the propaganda put out by one parent.

As for the benefits of immersion programs, you have it dead wrong. The research shows it helps across the board--both ESL, native English speakers have better outcomes.

As I pointed out, it's a little silly to say that one language is more useful than another. On a daily basis, Mandarin is much more useful in the Bay Area for me. For you, it may be another language.

The debate over whether to add a choice program is over--we have one. Complaints about the program and disinformation about the participating parents are aimed at stirring up trouble, not at improving the district....


Posted by mmmMom, a resident of Downtown North
on Dec 16, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Gan..... HUH?!?!?!?

I never said MI had anything to do with any other language. I guess I will have to make this super plain: MI - or any other immersion program - should never be/have been established until ALL children have the opportunity to learn a 2nd language.

End of story.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 17, 2010 at 7:04 pm

Gan,

Ohlone had already been approved to expand a half strand BEFORE MI jumped in and the board caved to the charter threat.

So, yep, every reason to think Ohlone main would have expanded. Because, after all, it's a *much* more in-demand program than MI.

And, no, the research does NOT show that English-speaking kids do better. The claim is that they "catch up" to their mainstream peers. However, this score jump happens in 4th and 5th grades--AFTER kids who aren't hacking academically drop the program.

The claim pro-immersion types make is that the kids catch up AND they're bilingual.

I don't expect you to agree with me. I *do* expect you to know your side's own talking points.

And I'm not sure what you think you mean that Mandarin is the most widely spoken second language "in this area"--the number of Spanish speakers in Santa Clara County dwarfs the number of Mandarin speakers. This is also true of the Bay Area, California and certainly the United States. So what are we talking about here? South Palo Alto? Cupertino?

Mandarin isn't, by the way, a "widely" spoken language of business. It's spoken by a lot of people--in China. The number of non-Chinese who speak Mandarin is small. English, on the other hand, truly is widely spoken--it's spoken by far more people outside its land of origin than within it.

But let me know the next time you see a keyboard in Mandarin.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 17, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Very anecdotally - I have heard one or two conversations in Mandarin in the past year and hundreds in Spanish.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 18, 2010 at 11:45 am

OhlonePar,

You are entirely wrong.

The board never approved an expansion of Ohlone, although they did consider it after they temporarily caved into the threats against MI.

The research does in fact show that all the kids in immersion (English speakers and the others) surpass their monolingual peers. This is hard for neophytes to understand, so I suggest you read up on this before making statements in public. There are many neutral sources of information available, and some of them are on the web.

What area? You have not been paying attention to the discussion. We were talking about an appropriate choice for a second language in Palo Alto schools and what languages are spoken here.

Your point about English being widely spoken is entirely irrelevant to this discussion, which is focused on the choice of a second language. In case that isn't clear, let me point out that English is the first language in this case.

But the points stand: Mandarin is spoken by a billion people, is becoming a regional language of Asia, and is the language of the world's number two economic power. If you're talking about what language to learn for business, that is a slam dunk: Mandarin.

Your question about keyboards in Mandarin is staggeringly ignorant. Do you know why?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Gan,

No, as usual, I'm right. The school had been okayed for a three-classroom addition--i.e. a half strand.

As usual (and let's quit pretending that "Gan" is a different poster than "Q" and many other names.) you deny facts that you don't like. And, as usual, you supply nothing to support your assertions.

For example, show proof that native English speakers in dual-immersion programs outperform their mainstream counterparts. Make sure that the study accounts for attrition of underperforming students. This is a continuing problem with the pro-immersion research, by the way.

(And before you stamp your feet about who am I to notice such things--yes, I am, in fact, professionally qualified to analyze that sort of thing.)

So, yes, your claim that Mandarin is the most widely spoken second language in the "area" is absurdly limited to, yes, south Palo Alto.

Because, sure, the world stops at San Antonio and Oregon Expressway.

I don't know how to break this to you, but public education in this country is intended to go beyond that.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2010 at 2:27 pm

OhlonePar,

Well, that's just another load of disinformation.

If you're interested in this area, you'll need to do your own research. There are numerous studies showing that native English speakers in immersion programs outperform their mainstream peers. And no, there simply are zero issues in the research with attrition of "underperforming students."

Your puffed-up claim of authority in this area is not credible but more than a little amusing.

Er, no, you have it wrong again. Mandarin is the most widely spoken second language in the district, not just south palo alto, though you seem deeply confused about the boundaries of Palo Alto. It's not really possible to decipher your point in this regard. Suffice to say, Mandarin is a great choice for a second language, both locally and globally, in north palo alto and south palo alto, for all races, in private schools and public ones. Just great!


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Gan -

Less than 1% of people living in the US speak ANY form of Chinese, including Mandarin. Spanish is 10 times more prevalent. Per the US Census Bureau, the percentage people speaking a language at home:

English 82%
Spanish 10.7%
Chinese (includes Cantonese, Wu, Mandarin and Min) .78
French .627%
German .527%






Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Gan,

I *did* do my own research. I used to think dual-immersion was more effective than I do now. Before I read about the huge attrition issue in Canada, for example. Or what a catastrophic failure the Potomac MI program--one of the oldest in the country--has been.

Your fussing about the district just points to your basic error--that the only second languages that matter are within Palo Alto--given that we're in a county, state and country where the number of Spanish speakers is growing and dwarfs the number of Mandarin speakers.

By the way, just to clarify some of the parameters you need to take into account when judging the success of a program--also check for things like parental education levels and parental involvement.

The real giveaway is that in districts like Cupertino and Palo Alto, where there are many educated and involved parents, dual-immersion kids don't outperform their mainstream peers--even *after* the 2/3 attrition issue. Some catch up.

Really, the one thing we do know is that dual-immersion kids have relatively low test scores in the lower grades. That's shown over and over. The rest is a bit up for grabs.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2010 at 3:48 pm

OhlonePar,

Yes, so you googled around looking to confirm your own notions--but that isn't research.

As I pointed out, the research shows that dual immersion kids outperform monolingual peers. You claim that this is incorrect because it doesn't happen in a particular location, Cupertino. Please prove it--give us some of that confirming data you're sitting on.

(Still waiting....)

You won't because you can't. The fact is that even the Mandarin native speakers in Cupertino outperform native English speakers in English. Ouch, now there's a blow to your claims. (And no, there's no attrition issue, thanks.)

It's obvious from your statements about Mandarin keyboards that you are ignorant about Chinese, but the fact is that Mandarin is spoken by a billion people, becoming a regional language in Asia, and is the language of the world's second largest economy. These make it a great choice for a second language from an economic standpoint. Obviously, it's also a great choice locally because it is the number one second language in the area.

palo alto mom,

Do you have a relevant point?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Gan,

Again, you make claims you have yet to back up--under any name.

Your Cupertino comment, of course, doesn't say *anything* about CLIP--the Mandarin dual-immersion program in Cupertino. We all know that the school with the highest scores in Cupertino is Faria, which is, yes, heavily Asian and Direct Instruction--not dual immersion.

In other words, like Hoover.

Meyerholz, like Escondido (and Ohlone) has test scores nowhere near that.

Claiming that Mandarin speakers outperform English-only kids--well, sure, if you don't factor in things like socioeconomic status and parental education rates. (Though, by the way, this factoid argues against MI--obviously these kids don't need special language program. Oh, you mean you missed that big fat argument for immersion programs in public schools? You really don't research this, do you?)

Palo Alto mom's point is that Mandarin isn't spoken in the United States anywhere near the degree several other languages are spoken.

So for you to argue kids should learn Mandarin because it's the second-most common language in "the area" undermines itself. If you're going to make the lots-of-people-speak-it argument, Spanish wins hands down--locally and nationally.

As for keyboards--yep, ya gotta work a translation program off a keyboard with an alphabet. People aren't going to do that so they can speak Chinese.

The amazing thing about the Chinese languages is, given how many people do speak them in China, how little they are spoken outside of it. Even in China, 300 million people have learned some amount of English. It is, after all, the language of free thought and expression.

English, meanwhile, will continue to be widely used as the primary language of the U.S., Canada, Australia, NZ and Britain, and a widely spoken second language in India, Europe, Africa and South America.

But maybe that's only obvious if you don't have a strong emotional investment in the notion of China uber alles. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]




Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Gan -

My point is that although Mandarin is the second most spoken language in PAUSD, we are an anomaly. Only .78 of all American's speak any form of Chinese.

I don't have a problem with us teaching Mandarin. I have an issue with another choice program that may be hard to sustain. If MI can keep classes of 22 kids thru 3rd grade, then bump up to 24 or 25 in 4th and 5th grade like the rest of the District, than I have no problem. I would also like MI to retain teachers and students, there has been quite a turn over already. I would also like the test scores to more closely mirror that of the District.


Posted by Please point to research, a resident of Stanford
on Dec 19, 2010 at 8:36 pm

I've been looking for years for something that shows that immersion in a second language helps development of a primary language in an environment in which the primary language is prevalent.

Could someone please point out a study that shows this?


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 19, 2010 at 8:51 pm

Palo Alto mom,

My own issues with MI go a bit further. I really, really don't like the overcrowding situation in the schools. Bumping kids was an issue before MI and it continues to be one. MI has been a terrible diversion and, at Ohlone, an excuse to create a severely overcrowded campus. And we're not at the end of the growth yet.

I think, also, the MI debacle created a rift in the city--most people didn't want it, but because of the charter threat, the board rolled over. As a result there's a divisiveness in the city that was less noticeable before. Posters like Gan, who comes off as obsessively pro-China, don't help the matter. It simply confirms the perception of insularity and unwillingness to take into account other viewpoints.

Please point to research,

Let me know if you find it. I looked three years ago and found the American research focused heavily on the results for ESL learners. The Canadians have done a lot of research, but attrition is such an issue that the results become really skewed. Large long-term studies of dominant-language speakers in dual-immersion seem to be almost non-existent--again, there are Canadian studies.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 19, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Ohlonepar,

"Your Cupertino comment, of course, doesn't say *anything* about CLIP"

This thread is about Mandarin immersion and I responded directly to your false claims about CLIP. In other words, Chinese native speakers in CLIP outperform their monolingual native-English peers in English. You can celebrate these great results now!

There are many reasons to learn a second language, including who speaks it locally, global economic considerations, etc. Your attempt to reduce all those considerations to a poll of how many people speak Spanish across the nation reveals a deep naivite toward learning a language. You haven't thought about his much, and it shows.

Your remarks about keyboards are hilarious. It is clear you have no idea how Chinese is typed on a computer or even what the word translation means.

MI is not to blame for the expansion of Ohlone (that was coming down the pike regardless because Ohlone had the most space) or global warming.
[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 20, 2010 at 11:03 am

OhlonePar- Nearly all of our elementary schools are overcrowded, Ohlone's problem is worse because of the construction, not MI (though the extra kids cause an issue too.) We lived through the B for E construction, which was not fun, but we survived. Both high schools face several years of construction, our District is simply overenrolled...

I personally think we should reopen Greendell as an elementary school. I was there recently picking up a friend's daughter and there is an amazing amount of space. Perhaps enough for both Immersion programs (even DI) in addition to the Young Fives? Its in the south, where enrollment is going to grow immensely. Its obviously a commuter location with plenty of parking and a light that governs incoming and outgoing traffic, much better than the set up at Ohlone, Hoover or even Garland. That would turn Escondido (and maybe Hoover) back to neighborhood schools and allow Ohlone to use all its space for its own program.


Posted by yet another parent, a resident of Escondido School
on Dec 20, 2010 at 12:59 pm

Escondido doesn't need to turn back into a neighborhood school - there are not enough neighborhood kids to fill the available capacity. What Escondido needs is to trim the Spanish Immersion program to a size that doesn't affect and bump kids in the neighborhood strands.

A second SI should open at Greendell to meet demand and keep south PA families from driving across the city. I would even argue for a third SI in the north cluster, if the demand is there.

The attrition problem (and it IS a costly capacity problem) can be handled by combining classes in 4th and 5th grade. If SI were to do this, their class sizes would be the equivalent of their neighborhood counterparts.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 20, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Yet another parent - even if SI combined 4 and 5th grade classes, there would be 19 kids in each class compared 23-24 in the other Escondido 4th and 5th grade classes and 22-24 in most of the other elementary schools. VERY unfair.

Between Escondido and Nixon (just a couple of blocks away) 91 neighborhood kids are sent to other schools. It seems like with a few small boundary changes, it could be filled as a neighborhood school, especially with the new housing along Stanford Ave.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 20, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Gan,

That's what you were trying to say? In other words--you're confirming what we've been saying. ESL kids do better in dual-immersion programs than in English-only programs. Native English speakers, on the other hand, don't. In the lower grades they do demonstrably worse.

As I've been saying.

Do you even realize that your evidence supports what I've been saying, NOT what you've been claiming?











Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 20, 2010 at 5:46 pm

palo alto mom,

MI required a full strand as opposed to a half strand--so the expansion is double what was originally intended. And it makes a difference--three classes would be quite a bit more manageable and the expansion would have been more gradual.

600 kids is way too many. WAYYY too many.

MI also gave the board a way of dodging the overcrowding issue and dealing directly with the need to reopen the elementaries.

The district's addicted to the money from the school sites--but the district isn't supposed to be in the rental business.

YAP,

SI isn't a neighborhood program--and the second strand opened as a way of taking overcrowding from the north. I think if you get into a lottery program, you lose bitching rights about neighborhood convenience.

With the huge amounts of housing going up in south Palo Alto and the south end of Stanford, Escondido and Nixon will need space for neighborhood kids.

Greendell's well-sited (better than either Ohlone or Hoover) for a commuter school as it's at the end of a large parking lot. You could put the MI and SI strands there and keep the Young Fives classes. It's near enough to other neighborhood schools (and the city border that you're not doing a huge bump of neighborhood kids)

It's also not making a ton of money for the district.

Garland should also be reopened or Ventura, though that sounds more involved. I think Pinewood, though large, can stay as a rental property for the time being. I doubt that any large construction will happen in the PA Hills.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 20, 2010 at 10:03 pm

To repeat, the research shows that dual immersion kids (both languages) outperform monolingual peers in English. You made up some stuff about MI in Cupertino, and I pointed out the statistics show that both ESL kids and native English kids from that program do better than native-English speaking peers.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Dec 21, 2010 at 2:42 am

No, Gan. Your argument still doesn't hold together, even on its own terms.

Above you claim that native Mandarin speakers in CLIP outperform their monolingual English counterparts. That's a rather meaningless statement since you don't qualify who's who. CLIP participants DON'T outperform their English-only program counterparts at Faria, nor do they outperform kids at Hoover, another English-only program. So claiming they outperform their "monolingual" peers is demonstrably wrong unless you qualify who those peers are. And, of course, you don't.

You've never shown anything that supports your claim that kids in dual-immersion who speak the dominant language outperform their peers in mainstream programs, using studies that control for factors such as parental education, participation and income levels.

And, of course, you've never cited a single statistic, not even a bad one. You've simply made claims that you don't back up. You've tried to make a couple of claims that could be backed up statistically, (though I wouldn't count on it in your case) but you've yet to cite an actual statistic.

In Palo Alto, kids in both SI and (so far) MI, don't perform as well as their mainstream (and other lottery program) peers on tests. You get some amount of catching up by fifth grade, but not surpassing. And, of course, because of the noticeable attrition rate, there's a very real question of how much the test-score bump is the result of underperformers leaving the program.

It's quite possible that the native English speakers in SI would do even better in school if they'd been in another program. Certainly, when you compare test scores from the different schools in the district, it seems quite possible.

However, many SI parents are happy with good enough scores in exchange for bilingualism. I'll be curious to see if MI parents are willing to make the same bargain. There may well be some internal pressure if the scores don't tick upward to move the program to a non-Ohlone setting.

By the way, why do you assume that kids in mainstream programs are monolingual? This is yet another example of your imprecise thinking--children taught in English are, ergo, monolingual. Not necessarily. I can think of kids who speak Hindi, Spanish, Hebrew, French, Cantonese and German--and that's in one "monolingual" class.

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 22, 2010 at 12:51 am

OhlonePar,

It's plain you have not done much reading in this area and that you haven't understood what you read. It is also clear that you have an ax to grind and are careless with your claims. You made two wildly inaccurate statements.

1. You said dual immersion kids don't outperform their mainstream peers and that parents exchange lower performance for bilingualism. In fact, the kids do outperform, and that is the conclusion of study after study after study. If you can read and comprehend the research, that should be one of your take-aways from any reading you do. Can you point to even a single study backing up your claim?

2. You said the CLIP kids don't outperform their mainstream peers. Can you point to any evidence at all for this claim? Any? Data please.

In particular, the study of Chinese speakers in CLIP showed them outperforming their mainstream peers in English. In their case, they actually outperformed ESL kids in their district, English native speakers in their district, and PAUSD kids. Let's repeat that last part: Chinese speakers in CLIP outperform PAUSD kids in English.

(Your remarks about Faria and Hoover demonstrate a lack of familiarity with how populations are compared in statistical studies.)

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 22, 2010 at 8:56 am

Gan and OhlonePar

It would be helpful if you could post links to some of the studies you are citing.

Gan -

Regarding CLIP, while Meyerholtz (where CLIP is taught) STAR test results are good, they are NOT better than the rest of Cupertino. For example, Language scores in 2nd grade at Meyerhotlz, were 90% proficient or advanced in 2nd grade, Faria was 95%. Language scores in 3rd grade at Meyerhotlz, were 85% proficient or advanced in 2nd grade, Faria was 97%. Language scores in 5th grade at Meyerhotlz, were 88% proficient or advanced in 5th grade, Faria was 99%.

Math is similar, 92% proficient or advanced at Meyerholtz in 2nd grade, 98% at Faria. 94% at Meyerholtz in 5th grade, 100% at Faria.

Based on that information, the CLIP students do not outperform their peers in the Cupertino school district, though they are obviously doing very well.


Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 22, 2010 at 9:15 am

One of the things that this thread is proving is that two people with two different mindsets can look at data and arrive at two completely different conclusions. Statisticians can pose questions and present surveys to both people and data to skew the results to their way of thinking. Nothing new in this, it is done all the time. We have been reading about it here on Town Square about high schoolers' opinions on first semester finals, and what calendar is good for all students, as a typical example.

But a couple of points are clear.

One is that the more choice given, the more contention we have. Education is no longer a one size fits all and parents have as many choices in the private sector as their wallets can pay for and it appears that the choices we have in the public sector are in demand by some people and causing problems for those who are not able to get them or feel they are being bumped from their nearest (not necessarily neighborhood) school.

Another thing that is clear is that this district is getting more and more crowded. The original sites were not planned for the numbers of students attending any one of our schools. The size of the sites is problematic because the more building that goes on, the less field space is available. Not only that, but the access to our sites is not designed for the number of students and staff that need to get there and parking for cars and also bicycles can barely cope with the numbers, let alone the access streets for the traffic load.

Language instruction, whether by immersion or standard methods, is valued by a large number of families, and considered not so important by another large number of families. The facts are clear that language is both necessary for our graduation requirements at high school and the earlier that language is taught the easier it is for the majority of students to acquire it. Therefore we must continue to pursue excellence in language education and there is room for a great deal of improvement in our teaching methods. The fact that even learning latin can be shown to improve English language skills shows that learning a language is valuable in overall educational value. Therefore the choice of which language can improve English skills is irrelevant from that point of view. The choice then of which language a particular student ultimately learns is down to culture, bias, or researched preference, of the students and their parents individually.

Innovative solutions will have to solve the problems of overcrowding, calendar and language education. Unfortunately, those who feel that those who disagree with them must be prejudiced against them in some way shows an elementary playground type mentality. We will never find a solution that keeps 100% of the people happy as there will always be someone who will be smug about being proven "right" and someone who will be deeply upset because of feelings of being "downtrodden".

There will always be two sides to every story and two interpretations to a given study. Depending on what you are looking for, you will probably be able to find it. Depending on your views, you will be able to look at certain data and find what you want. That much is clear.

MI and SI are both causing problems. Lack of MI and SI would still cause problems. The possible attrition and smaller teacher/student ratio in the higher grades is something that should be addressed.
Trolling here will not help that very real problem.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 22, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Resident -

Thank you, that was very well said. To clarify one point, a World Language is NOT a graduation requirement in PAUSD (although it is required nearly all colleges). It is interesting that we require 4 years of History (although colleges do not) and no World Language, (which colleges require) but that's another thread.

I think you are right that many of the complaints are because we are overcrowded as a District and that is only going to get much worse. Perhaps the choice schools, which are commuter by definition, should be moved to a commuter-friendly location (like Greendell). And the lack of MI and SI would cause less problems than the existence of both, except for the Charter School threat... I actually think a World Language charter would be appropriate.



Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 22, 2010 at 11:01 pm

palo alto mom,

The results for Meyerholtz don't say that much about CLIP. Look at Lindholm Leary's data on the CLIP program itself, and you'll see what I'm talking about--by fifth grade the native Mandarin kids from CLIP are outperforming Cupertino mainstream kids and PAUSD kids in English. I didn't mention math, because I think the results are unrelated, but they also do better in math.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 26, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Resident, Palo Alto mom,

Well-spoken. At the time the board was considering MI--the whole discussion about magnet schools came up often. Programs like Ohlone and Hoover were approved in part because the district wanted to attract students. On a practical level, it made little sense to approve another program that would attract more students.

It makes even less sense for the board to do no long-term thinking about the overcrowding issue. We passed a building bond that itemized a rehaul of the Green Gables campus and then the board used a one-year blip in growth as an excuse to not re-open the campus--even though the district had already met its benchmarks for reopening a campus.

It's a weak board. And while I prefer the current super to the last one--I don't see anything that looks like skilled, thoughtful leadership. Let alone creative problem-solving.

While I think MI/SI aren't the right solutions for this district (We don't have a bunch of kids who are underperforming and need to be mainstreamed. It's also an unneeded diversion from developing a district-wide approach to foreign-language instruction in the elementaries.), I do think an SI/MI language elementary school at Greendell would solve some problems--south Palo Alto could use a school and a specialty program means less uprooting of neighborhood-school kids. And Greendell's the one school site that's actually better suited to a commuter school than a neighborhood school--huge parking lot and near three major arteries--Middlefield, San Antonio and Charleston.

Then, if possible, I'd see about PSF and Young Fives sharing the Ventura site owned by the city. There's a childcare facility there, but it looks underused to me. Ventura's less trafficky than Greendell (which is good), but still centrally located.

And I like the idea of an IB program starting at Cubberley. I think it would attract more students than a trade-oriented program or a constructivist/Ohlone or DI/Hoover-style high-school program. This is a natural town for an IB program. (And, no, I don't have a vested interest in this, it just makes sense to me, given the demographics of the city.)

(Meanwhile, Gan misrepresents data yet again by claiming data about native Mandarin speakers in a dual-immersion program applies to native English speakers in the program. Other errors as well. No surprise there--so I'm putting Gan on time-out. Bye Gan.)


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 27, 2010 at 1:26 am

OhlonePar,

You made unsupported claims about CLIP (you said CLIP kids don't outperform their mainstream peers), and I pointed out that the research shows your claims are entirely false. Clearly, this data undermines your worldview, but you must realize that you can't make your claims true (or even believable) merely by repeating them, right? Chinese speakers in CLIP outperform (in English) not only ESL peers in mainstream classrooms but also English native-speaking peers.

Unfortunately, your mistakes here are representative of the false "information" you provide about immersion programs in general. It's not surprising you are unable provide any support for your statements. None.

It is fortunate that propaganda campaign by you and other anti-MI gang members did not derail the reasonable adoption of a well-considered, thoroughly researched choice program.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 27, 2010 at 4:51 pm

Gan - I couldn't find anything about CLIP and Lindholm Leary research, just lots of articles on immersion in general. Do you have a link? I would also be curious as to whether an MI classroom contains the same number of kids with special needs, IEP and 504's as a regular classroom. If it isn't than the results may be do to that as much or more than the immersion program.

OhlonePar - I think Gunn is looking into hosting an IB program.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 28, 2010 at 1:26 am

Mom,

Have a look at her website and try a library.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 28, 2010 at 11:08 am

Gan - Based on your sarcastic response and refusal to respond to my request for a link to the research, I'll assume that it doesn't really exist. If it did, you would be willing to share it to back up your currently unsubstantiated claims instead of telling me to "go to a library". I went to her website and didn't see anything that referred to CLIP or to Chinese speakers outperforming their peers. I'm not going to read all her articles, when you could easily point to the one(s) that support your claims. To use your words from above "you must realize that you can't make your claims true (or even believable) merely by repeating them, right?"


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 28, 2010 at 11:59 pm

palo alto mom,

No sarcasm--you asked about the research, and that is where you should look.

You made claims about the academic benefits of immersion, and I pointed out you were wrong and where you can find real data. If you were truly interested in facts and supporting your statements, you wouldn't need me to spoonfeed you the info.


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 29, 2010 at 9:14 am

Gan - again, guess it doesn't exist... otherwise you could easily provide all these readers with the info. The only academic info I provided was the STAR test results for the Cupertino elementary school which hosts MI. The state doesn't break out the test results by class or specific to an Immersion program and the results for that school, while really good, are not as good as some other elementary schools in Cupertino Union.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 30, 2010 at 3:25 am

palo alto mom,

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

As I pointed out, the your star tests are irrelevant. The relevant data show that CLIP Mandarin-speakers outperform (in English) their ESL peers as well as their mainstream peers.


Posted by yet another parent, a resident of Escondido School
on Dec 30, 2010 at 10:33 am

Gan, you made the following assertions over the course of the conversation:

1. Chinese native speakers in CLIP outperform their monolingual native-English peers in English.
2. To repeat, the research shows that dual immersion kids (both languages) outperform monolingual peers in English.
3. I pointed out the statistics show that both ESL kids and native English kids from that program do better than native-English speaking peers.
4. The study of Chinese speakers in CLIP showed them outperforming their mainstream peers in English. In their case, they actually outperformed ESL kids in their district, English native speakers in their district, and PAUSD kids. Let's repeat that last part: Chinese speakers in CLIP outperform PAUSD kids in English.
5. Look at Lindholm Leary's data on the CLIP program itself, and you'll see what I'm talking about--by fifth grade the native Mandarin kids from CLIP are outperforming Cupertino mainstream kids and PAUSD kids in English.
6. Chinese speakers in CLIP outperform (in English) not only ESL peers in mainstream classrooms but also English native-speaking peers.
7. There are numerous studies showing that native English speakers in immersion programs outperform their mainstream peers.

I agree with Palo Alto Mom – it'd be helpful if you could provide links or cite specific studies, otherwise it's a spitting match.

You then wrote, "You made unsupported claims about CLIP (you said CLIP kids don't outperform their mainstream peers), and I pointed out that the research shows your claims are entirely false. Clearly, this data undermines your worldview,"

First, none of your own claims are supported.
Second, you did not point out research, you made unsubstantiated claims. There's a difference.
Third, you provided no data. (Not sure why someone's worldview would be undermined under these conditions.)

Suppose I considered myself an expert on some topic that mildly interested you, or that you were new to, and suppose I tossed out to you an intriguing and possibly controversial 'fact'. Then suppose that you asked for my sources so you could learn more, or so that you could put the controversy aside and accept my view as the truth. What if I then withdrew from the conversation and told you to figure it out yourself. Where would that leave you? And where would it leave me and my position – more or less credible?

(If you're so sure of yourself, give Mom the links and be done with it.)


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 30, 2010 at 12:35 pm

yet,

You object that I haven't supported my statements, yet I have given directions to a website that gives full support. Moreover, none of my statements would be controversial or even surprising to anyone who has even glancing familiarity with immersion.

Suppose you corrected someone who made obviously false statements about a subject you knew something about. Suppose you directed this mildly interested person to widely known, easily available information that everyone mildly interested in the subject is familiar with, and then they complained you had not combed the source for exactly the piece of information they wanted. Suppose they immediately repeated their false claims, cited irrelevant information, and began trying to discredit the data with made-up objections even before reading the data. You might begin to suspect they were not even mildly interested in the facts.

Suppose you were stupid and did the work anyway--how would they react? Dollars to donuts they would invent new unsubstantiated claims. (Remember, they're not interested in the facts and they've ALREADY invented objections to data they haven't bothered to read.)

So, no, I won't be wasting my time feeding the beast.

But since you are so interested in facts, I'll check back to see when you demand to hear the factual basis for the claims that started this (CLIP kids don't outperform their mainstream peers), which you somehow neglected while taking copious notes on my own statements (flattered).

Those who are well informed will find my claims uncontroversial; the interested will just do the reading for themselves; those looking to confirm their own theories will keep inventing "counterfacts."


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 30, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Gan -

You never provided directions to any website or study supporting your claims, you just repeat them over and over and tell us to do the research. I can do the same thing:

OhlonePar's research shows that Immersion program students underperform their dual immersion peers on standardized tests. Furthermore, immersion programs have significant attrition problems. Research on the Canadian Immersion programs support this data - but go find it yourself.


Posted by yet another parent, a resident of Escondido School
on Dec 30, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Gan wrote, "You object that I haven't supported my statements, yet I have given directions to a website that gives full support."

Where, exactly, did you give directions to a website? I just scanned through all your posts (search for "posted by gan" - it's not a big deal) and don't see a single link or reference to a specific website. Your credibility is deteriorating rapidly. Why not just provide a link instead of this tedious back-and-forth?


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Dec 31, 2010 at 12:56 am

palo alto mom,

Er, no. I did direct you to LL and her website. As I said, I won't be digging out the facts from the pile for you.

"OhlonePar's research shows that .........."

Well, just like Ohlonepar, you haven't supplied any references, any studies, any websites, any names of researchers of this "research." Since all of these claims are contrary to the wide body of research out there, you need to support your claims. You have zero credibility.

yet another parent,

"Where, exactly, did you give directions to a website?"

Well, let's see: I said: "Look at Lindholm Leary's data on the CLIP program itself ... Have a look at her website ..."

Now, by googling "lindholm leary immersion," you will find her website at or near the top.

Also, I'm still waiting for your continued pursuit of truth. Where are your demands for the factual basis for the claims that started this (CLIP kids don't outperform their mainstream peers)?


Posted by palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 31, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Gan -

My comment about "OhlonePar's research" was supposed to be comical - providing claims without any back-up.

I did your suggested google search for" lindholm leary immersion", for those interested, here's the link - Web Link (See, it wasn't too hard post...) I read through her front page, I see no references to CLIP or the fact the dual immersion kids out perform their single language peers.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 31, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Palo Alto Mom,

At one point, I did quite a lot of research on MI--back when it might have mattered. There were several other people on the Forum who did so as well. [Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

According to Wikipedia's entry on CLIP, Lindholm-Leary's evaluations of the prograam are not made public as part of an agreement with the board.

That said, at the time of the MI controversy, PACE put forth some figures on CLIP (it's interesting just how protective Cupertino seems to be about those figures. Immersion programs really should have scores that are broken out from the rest of a schools as a matter of course.) From that one of the other Forum posters "Parent" was able to deduce that CLIP, which started in 1998, had an issue with attrition which was enough that it could affect the scores--i.e. was the improvement in 4/5 scores the result of how well the language program worked or the result of underachievers dropping from the program?

In 2008, Lindholm-Leary made a presentation at a Bilingual Symposium at the International School from which Gan seems to be drawing its assertions. I've looked at the presentation as it is online
www.lindholm-leary.com/present.../ISTP_BilSymposiumOct08_4web.pdf
and Web Link. As has been the case with Lindholm-Leary's work before, it's difficult to judge as to how well she's controlled the parameters--i.e. are these kids doing well because they're in an immersion program or is it because students who don't do well drop? We also aren't given basic information as to when they entered the program.

Sometimes she compares groups using parental education levels, sometimes she doesn't. Thus, you get bar graphs where the district peers aren't compared by parental education levels, but the state peers are. She tells us that the immersion kids are 75-80 percent ethnically Chinese, but we don't know if her mainstream control groups are. That's going to muddle things--are the kids doing well compared to their peers because of the Mandarin or because they come from families who culturally value high academic performance?

It's very cut and paste--I'd actually want the peer comparison with parental income and educational levels at the school and in the district given the huge variation in funding between districts. It also tells you something about parental motivation. (The immersion kids don't outperform those at Jordan, by the way--just as a point of comparison.)

Lindholm-Leary has a vested interested in immersion programs--she's paid consulting fees, by districts like Cupertino, and she's pretty much staked her academic career on pushing bilingual programs. To some extent, she looks for evidence that supports her a priori beliefs. I don't think she does it to deceive, I think she does it because she's a "true believer." Though her unwillingness to address the possible effect of attrition (particularly given the research of the Canadians) is dubious.

I won't go heavily into the Canadian research right now--I've written about it before, but it's an interesting counterpart because the Canadians can't afford to be simple boosters a la Lindholm-Leary and the MIers. They actually need answers as to why immersion doesn't work better.





Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 1, 2011 at 2:16 am

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

OhlonePar,

Another litany of false claims by the anti-MI gang. These were all purely fabrications by the anti-MI gang:

--attrition numbers (There never was an attrition issue, as CUSD stated and as PAUSD concluded after studying the figures. The attrition "problem" was simply made up.)

-- "Underachievers dropped out." (This was an inventive lie designed to discredit all programs everywhere. Again, pure fabrication.)

--Lindholm Leary is a shill. (Telling lies about the researcher is easier than challenging her data.)

--By poking around randomly on the web, by cobbling together a bar graph from one presentation and a figure from another, one can see gaping holes in the research. (Obviously, the anti gang has no understanding of educational research. Deeply funny that they think this random googling amounts to research that has uncovered previously unknown gapping holes. Step away from the google and do some real reading.)

Bottom line is that even the Mandarin speakers in CLIP outperform pausd kids in English (and of course their peers and mainstream kids in cusd, too).

(Oh, and I did notice that you've backed away from your false claim that CLIP kids don't outperform mainstream peers. It would have been more honest if you had said that explicitly.)

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 1, 2011 at 12:48 pm

Gan,

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Lindholm-Leary is an immersion booster and her research has holes in it. I've pointed out a couple. I also find it interesting, by the way, that MI supporters never cite anyone but Lindholm-Leary who actually argued in favor of PA/MI. After weeks of vague claims, it turned out that Lindholm-Leary was, indeed, your one big source.

It's also pretty clear that because her views jibe with yours, you can't look at her work critically. You parrot instead of analyze. And I'm talking about some fairly basic analysis--i.e. how did L-L reach her conclusions? What are the parameters of her study groups?

It's odd to me how upset you get about this and the kind of accusations you fling as a result. It's not, by the way, an effective defense of L-L's work--just smoke and mirrors. Though fairly typical of what passes for online political discourse--shout loud enough and no one can have a discussion.

But, anyway, Lindholm-Leary simply isn't a disinterested party and, as she's paid by Cupertino to assess the CLIP program, she has a financial incentive to keep and grow the program. Academics at state schools like nice consulting fees.

It's really the same kind of issue that makes claims by the Tobacco Institute dubious. There's a conflict of interest.

Attrition may not be an "issue" (though that's quite arguable), but the fact is it occurs for many reasons and Lindholm-Leary needs to address what effects, if any, that attrition has on her results.

Because, yes, children drop out of immersion programs and because immersion programs are small, a few kids dropping out, particularly if they're having academic troubles, changes numbers. The numbers can change even more if underperformers are replaced by high achievers who are already bilingual.

You simply can't assess the effectiveness of a program without studying who drops and why. Or come up with a meaningful bar graph.

It's just another indication of an ongoing sloppiness with Lindholm-Leary's methodology. She makes Marilyn Cook's report look like a brilliant piece of research.

It's a shame, really, because kids deserve better than that.







Posted by Palo alto mom, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Gan -

If the Immersion kids in CLIP were "outperforming their English only peers", one would assume that the Cupertino Union District would say so. Instead, their website has a disclaimer about the resulting test scores:
"Children in this program will be tested the same as other children within the Cupertino Union School District. Just as test scores vary among children within regular programs, test scores will vary for children in this program. Realize that your child is learning the same curriculum as other children in the Cupertino Union School District, but in two languages. You can't accurately or adequately compare your child's performance against children in a regular program."

If the test scores were higher, the District would not need the above disclaimer.


Posted by OhlonePar, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 1, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Palo alto mom,

I got a similar speech from the principal of Escondido when I was checking out SI and the various lottery programs.

Personally, I think there's a lot more to education than test scores--as is pretty obvious given my moniker. I also think the immersion and other choice programs should be more upfront about which kids are going to have the easiest time in them. Ohlone's not the best choice for kids who aren't self-directed. Hoover's not great for a kid with a huge imagination. SI and MI aren't great for kids who don't have pretty solid preliteracy skills.

And kids who don't have a native speaker of the immersion language at home can expect to need a tutor.

(There are some educators who argue that immersion programs should be delayed until third grade, in part, because it's easier to detect learning disabilities before a child's in an immersion program. You still get the benefit of the preadolescent exposure.)



Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 2, 2011 at 12:15 am

Ohlonepar,

Yawn.

More lies about LL, more false claims about CLIP, more disinformation about immersion.

You go on in this high dudgeon because you cannot support a single statement you made.

Here is a partial list of the lies:

-LL is a shill.

-Academic losers drop from immersion programs and academic winners replace them

-CLIP kids don't outperform mainstream peers

Can you offer any evidence to support any of these? (Please note: just repeating your claims does not constitute evidence.) Any at all? .... Nope, didn't think so.

As for sources, you weren't reading carefully. There are many sources on immersion, but a kind reader asked how I knew you were wrong about CLIP and I shared the only public source of info: LL. When you get away from your obsession with CLIP and the Chinese race, you'll find that there are many studies showing that kids in immersion programs with various languages wind up reading better than their mainstream peers and derive other cognitive benefits as well. It's not just the Chinese language. I suggest doing some reading instead of writing.

Palo Alto Mom,

If you reflect, I think you can see that your reasoning is a little silly.


Posted by immersion is not the issue, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2011 at 10:55 am


Gan,

immersion in anything is only as good as the number of hours of exposure. Immersion in a sport, immersion in a musical instrument, immersion in a craft.

All modern language classes aspire and mostly are an immersion experience, whether it's three hours a week or three hours a day. is the issue is really immersion?

the issue is actually the CHOICE one makes to immerse more of one's time into one thing or another.

Ohlone par seems to point out these choices are not for everyone, which makes sense. I guess that's why they call it choice programs.

for young kids here, MI and SI are the only options for any language immersion in school. That degree of immersion is not for everyone, and will remain a personal choice.

But plenty like myself would value some language immersion in school, in a dosage more like sports, music, and art -a few times a week, starting earlier than High School.

fighting about degrees of immersion that may or may not apply to the general population in a public school is pointless.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 2, 2011 at 12:58 pm

immersion,

Well, generally, the more hours the better (so 90/10 is better than 70/30 is better than 50/50), but there are some other variables. And when we talk about immersion programs, we're talking about at least a 50/50 split (though definitions vary). Another key criterion is that students are learning other subjects (e.g. math or history) in the target languages.

Also, teachers of modern language classes try to "immerse" their students, but that merely means using the target language as much as possible. Different meaning. So yes, modern language classes aspire to "immersion," but that is not immersion.

I strongly value language, but I haven't seen research of FLES in elementary that convinces me of its value. Even so, if the community were strongly in favor and willing to pay for it, I would support it.

It seems to me you face an uphill battle in this area convincing parents that the value of language in elementary is great enough to justify a hefty reallocation of budget resources. There is a strong bias for math and science here, and a devaluing of humanities.


Posted by immersion is not the issue, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2011 at 3:37 pm


Gan,

"I haven't seen research of FLES in elementary that convinces me of its value."

I have heard and am convinced that FLES is how the rest of the world learns English, this is not packaged research, but good enough for government work

"it seems to me you face an uphill battle in this area convincing parents that the value of language in elementary is great enough to justify a hefty reallocation of budget resources"

What battle? as far as I know FLES issue is mute.

the only "battle" I hear about is the one for the choice programs - which like it or not are irrelevant to the majority of the population

I chipped in to merely comment that immersion is not the issue, SI and MI use the term immersion which is only an issue of degree, not some major revelation - may it be 50/50 for these choice programs, or zero for the rest.




Posted by Resident, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 2, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Gan

Most of Europe learn a second or even third language in the style of FLES. Regular language classes during the week plus immersion style camps which involve play/recreation time as well as classroom time during the summer and other breaks are very common practice. I myself at one time in middle school years was learning 3 languages other than English. The value of learning many languages, apart from become fluent, is that each language advances the understanding of English because grammar, word order, tenses, cases, and even spelling, all become immediately apparent after studying the various rules in other languages.

A well rounded education is automatically taking into account at least one language other than the student's primary language in many other countries.

Look beyond this country if you want to understand how languages are really taught well.

If you are more than just a troll you will take the time to look for evidence of European language education and successes there.


Posted by Gan, a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 3, 2011 at 12:27 am

immersion,

Ah, well, Europe is another matter. They typically start learning English around fourth grade and add another language around seventh grade. They devote significant instructional time--not just a few times a week for a few minutes.

"as far as I know FLES issue is mute." I think you mean moot--but I don't know what you mean to say. To my knowledge, no one is pursuing this within the district. Every time it gets raised, the district simply points out it would cost millions, and support for it disappears.

Resident,

Yes, many Europeans learn another language in the style of FLES, but it is FLES heavy--as in a serious commitment of time and resources and a high expectation for mastery. Also, it typically doesn't start until late elementary. Immersion camps are not wide-spread. These FLES programs are not costly because they are typically taught in the beginning phases by one's regular teacher, who has enough mastery of English to lead the first couple/three years of instruction. Last, most countries have a strategic vision of language in that they pick a primary second language (English is a no brainer) and a couple second-tier languages.

My concern with FLES is with the American variety--a little time sprinkled over the curriculum with no serious plan for mastery. My sense is that this is costly and bears little fruit. Ideally, we would have a state-wide policy on which languages would be taught so that we don't have the problem of Johnny moving from PA to Cupertino and having mismatching languages. This would probably be Spanish. The alternative is to have a district policy mandating a single choice across all elementaries. In that case, the choice would probably be Mandarin.


Posted by immersion is not the issue, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 3, 2011 at 10:16 am

Gan,

I did mean mute, not moot

regarding language choice,

Primero Hay Que Aprender Espaņol. Ranhou Zai Xue Zhongwen.
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF

Web Link

on this note, I'm exiting the thread, as I don't have much more to add to my original point that immersion is not the issue


Posted by Mom, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 6, 2011 at 7:02 pm



So can we have a FLES choice school? Just like the other schools, but with an extra 1/2 hour a day, with Spanish or Chinese for one hour a day? That sounds perfect to me!