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Una de las intervenciones más aplaudidas de la reunión de la Junta Escolar, el miércoles 13 de mayo, fue la de María Acosta. A continuación la reproducimos íntegramente:

Many in our community have expressed our concern about the phasing out of Spanish and Spanish S and SL programs and the expansion of the Extended Foreign Language (EFL) Program across our schools in Miami-Dade. It seems the district has listened to our concerns and is suggesting to “improve world language program opportunities” hopefully for all our students.

It seems to me that the district made the decision to phase out the standard Spanish Programs and expand the EFL program with very little transparency, consultation and communication with all stakeholders who have felt totally disregarded and not respected.  This has resulted in a lack of trust in the good will and honesty of the district and school Board.

It is very important that any new plan and responses be consulted with stakeholders and with experts in the field of language acquisition and world language and dual language programs.

Let us stop placing world language programs in opposition to instruction in English.  Both are important and one supports the other.  What is learned in a language other than English contributes to the overall achievement of students.  The right to acquire a second language is not a luxury but a need in today’s globalized economy and interdependent world.  We cannot continue to claim our motto “giving our students the world” and not offer the opportunity to acquire bilingual skills to all our students, not just some, not just the elite, but to all our students. Learning a second language does not  preclude certain academic skills or intellectual superiority.  All over the world children in border towns speak two languages even when they have little formal education. Are our students less capable?

Public school’s curriculum must respond to the interest of the community it serves and in doing so M-DCPS had become a leader in world language education and programs. It seems that much has been dismantled in a very short time. It is time to reclaim our history and move even further. Let us offer a variety of world language programs so that the needs of our diverse student population are served.  We cannot fit everyone into the same mold.  But we can certainly offer some thing to every one.

Many people have said that today’s parents were not interested in world language education for their children.  If that is so then it is the role of this School Board and the school district to educate parents in the importance of multilingual skills in the 21st Century.  To neglect this need is to fail to fulfill the promise of giving our students the world.

None of this will be possible unless the district proves it’s willingness by investing funds in the world language programs  In other words put your money where your mouth is.  We cannot pretend to “improve” or implement quality programs if we are not willing to invest in them.

Yes, technology is important and we certainly are investing in it…but so is multilingual skills.

In the long run the School Board is accountable to the community it serves and this community is saying “respond to our interests, to the best interests of our students, and count us in.”



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