This letter comes directly after the cancellation of an excellent and diversity-oriented Dual-Immersion program at Hemingway STEAM School. I am always amazed at the ease with which the School District sends in letters to the newspaper but how rare it is to see action—the number of “discussions,” “public information sessions,” etc., that rarely mirror public sentiment. I see this now with their conviction to stand against racism. They also tout that they are always student-oriented and that they strive to be a “world class” school district. All around the world countries strive to have their students learn a minimum of two languages but often three and four.
Let me dispel some myths for everyone: 1. It is not about the languages but about how they are taught and the brain synapses that are increased with language learning; 2. Language learners show an increase in empathy when taught in the Dual Immersion form of language learning; 3. Students that learn more than one language are behind in testing till grade six, when they surpass their peers.
All of these have been proven with our Dual Immersion students. However, the success of the program is also based on teacher and administrator support. That has always been lacking in our district and makes sense as it is run by monolinguals. Do not be deceived by funding or teacher recruiting as this is due to administrative efforts, not financial. Alturas was excellent for my children and as they were dyslexic, I can dispel the myth that language learning is not for all children. Other countries are ahead of the U.S. and know the benefit from learning languages. Ideally, a world class district should focus on “world learning” methods and give the district a reason to vote for the upcoming levy, not chatter.
Sheri Thomas, Hailey