The Delaware World Language Immersion program is in many of our school districts. Students in Kindergarten start learning Spanish and Chinese (Mandarin) and continue through school learning one of the languages. Spanish I can understand. Chinese? I know China is a major world power, but come on! Okay, this is old news. But what happened when Delaware Governor Markell sold the idea to Delaware Superintendents? Mike Matthews has the scoop!
Gov. Markell (speaking to a roomful of superintendents): “OK folks, we’ve had so many education successes in my eight years. Race to the Top. Priority Schools. Educator Compensation. Lots of brand new successful charter schools. Smarter Balanced. Time for something new. I want you all to put language-immersion programs in your schools.”
Superintendent: “That’s a good idea, Governor, but how are we gonna do that?”
Gov. Markell: “Well I’ll leave all of that up to you, but I want Spanish and Chinese in our elementary, middle, and high schools, and I want them now.”
Superintendent: “Well, we don’t have enough Spanish- and Chinese-speaking educators in this state. Our Districts will have to bear great costs of not just the salaries of these folks, but the fees associated with getting them into the country and getting them work visas as well as the fees of the programs sponsoring them.”
Gov. Markell: “So…?
Superintendent: “And this will be very disruptive to our schools. At elementary levels, we will need to get rid of two teachers per grade level so we can bring in the Spanish- and Chinese-speaking teachers. And not to mention all the content-area teachers at the middle and high schools who will be impacted.”
Gov. Markell: “And the problem is…?”
Superintendent: “Well, Governor, have you actually thought any of this through? Are you going to be funding these positions above and beyond the unit count so the teachers with whom our students have built relationships won’t be impacted by this huge change?”
Gov. Markell: “Funding additional positions? No. But we do have a few thousand dollars in grant money your districts can fight over to get the ball rolling.”
Gov. Markell: “So who’s gonna go first?!?!?”
And fight they did for the paltry sums to get this program going. This was actually a lampoon written by Mike Matthews on Facebook. I have to imagine there have been many similar conversations with all of Governor Markell’s education programs. This is Delaware. If it sounds to good to be true, we throw caution to the wind and do it anyway! I’m sure half of Delaware has seen this already since Mike seems to be friends with about half of the state. But for the other half…