I'm struggling with the whole EPC process and I'm hoping to get a reality check from your readers. Will they be as outraged as I am over my situation...or will they tell me to suck it up and wait in line like everyone else?
5 sibling families were denied assignment to their siblings' immersion program for kindergarten at my school this year. According to EPC, the district is strictly enforcing the language ratio across all immersion programs (more of a priority than siblings): 13 target language speakers to 9 English speakers. At my particular school, there were 14 siblings (all designated English Speakers), vying for 9 English spots, so 5 siblings were assigned to the school's general program instead of immersion.
I asked the language department and EPC to reconsider the ratio (down to 11 target to 11 English speakers) if it meant more hardship appeals or siblings could get in for Round 2. They denied my request. They were adamant that 13 - 9 was consistent for all immersion programs, and no exceptions will be made, "to ensure equity". So I can only get a spot if another English speaker drops out (fat chance because they are all taken by other siblings). Although my child does speak the target language a little, apparently, it was not good enough to "pass" the target language test (it's all or nothing).
So I asked around some of the parents at my school and it turns out that there were at least 2 native target language speaking siblings that I know of (and they indicated that on the enrollment form). However, they were only called in for English testing, not target language testing. So presumably, they must have been designated native English speakers (even though they are not).
The EPC process has just been killing me. My native speaking mother lives with us. I LOVE how my daughter has grown so much closer to my mother since she's started her immersion program. I can't imagine giving one child the opportunity to learn about her heritage, culture, and language (and develop a more meaningful relationship to her grandmother living in the same household)…and not give that same opportunity to my other child. It has also been horrible for our school's sense of community. The district has put all the denied sibling families in a position where we are competing directly with each other for any possible future openings, creating a very divisive environment of distrust.
There are two separate issues. First, I need a reality check. For all the parents out there looking for an immersion school, and have tested as a "native speaker" of a language other than English, do you think it's unfair to ask for special dispensation of the language ratio to accommodate for family hardship grants and/or siblings?
Second, there seems to be inconsistency of language testing and designation. For all the parents who put a language other than English as a home language, were you tested for both English and your home language? Although certain students identified themselves as native speakers of another language, because EPC didn't test them (for whatever reason), they were arbitrarily designated English. I've asked EPC to review this prior to Round 2 assignments and I'm awaiting their response.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Hot topic: Sibling preference in immersion programs
This from a reader:
Labels: Language immersion
Posted by Kate