Should we push for English to be declared our official language?

I hate to beat this dead horse, but it seems like something new pops up in the news everyday about government officials making things easier for those who cross our borders to live here who refuse to learn to speak English. Occasionally, you’ll have one who takes a stand, as was the case in this story:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a bill yesterday by a South County legislator that would have allowed California to test students in Spanish to measure whether schools are meeting federal education goals.


The legislation by state Sen. Denise Ducheny, D-San Diego, cites a clause in the federal No Child Left Behind Act that allows students to be tested “in the language and form most likely to yield accurate data on what such students know.”

State tests to measure whether schools are meeting federal goals for students’ proficiency in math and reading are administered in English. Ducheny’s bill proposed developing Spanish-language tests and allowing students who have attended schools in the United States for less than three years to take those tests instead of English-language exams.

“Forcing newly arrived students to test in English measures their language ability, not knowledge of school subjects,” Ducheny said in a statement released by her office. “The bill didn’t exempt students from taking the tests and wouldn’t keep us from our goal of teaching them English; it simply would have given us a better tool to test what they know in science, math and other subject areas.”

The Chula Vista Elementary School District, San Ysidro School District and Sweetwater Union High School District are among 11 in California suing the state to stop English-only testing.

I went into a Wendy’s fast food restuarant a couple of weeks ago to have lunch with a friend, and while standing in line I noticed a plastic document holder that had been nailed to the wall that contained job applications . One set was in English. The other in Spanish. I sighed and shook my head. We’ve all encountered things like this in our daily lives: for example, when we call a customer service number, you often hear “if you’d like instructions in English, press 1” and then it gives the Spanish translation to that for those who need instructions in Spanish, or when you go to an ATM machine and you have the option to get instructions on how to use the machine in English or Spanish.

My personal thought is this: if I moved to France, or Germany or any other non-English speaking country to live and/or work, I would take the time to learn their language. I certainly would not expect them to offer school books in English for my kids (if I had any at the time I moved) and I certainly would not expect them to offer me an English menu in a French restaurant (for example). Some of the blame can obviously be left at the feet of the people who come here who don’t even know how to say “hola” (hello) in English, but a big part of the blame rests with our politicians on both sides of the aisle, who don’t want to risk offending even a tiny minority of a big voting group by taking a stand that may offend those who are here legally and who can vote. Arnie is obviously an exception to this rule.

What can we do, if anything?

Hat tip: Flopping Aces

(Cross-posted at California Conservative)

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