Amanda Grace Mack
ENRU 1100/ Section 26
27 March 2001
Public Relations Address – Multiculturalism Celebration
Saturday, April 7, 2001 – Central Park
Keep bilingual education programs in New York City’s Public Schools
Buena tarde, Bonsoir, Gutenabend, Buoa sera…Good evening! I would like to thank you the Concerned Clergy Organization for inviting me. And I would also like to acknowledge my esteemed fellow panelists, Dr. Hopkins and Sarah Jenkins (nod in respect).
For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Amanda Grace Mack. And I am running for mayor of New York City. I proudly stand as Chancellor of New York City Public Schools, a devoted wife and parent of three, and alumni of Fordham University. I currently hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Studies, a Master’s degree in Linguistics, New York State Teaching certification, and a Doctorate in English. I have received many awards and accolades. Why do I tell you these things about myself on this New York City’s third annual Multiculturalism Celebration? Not because I am trying to solicit votes, but because I care for the people of New York. And also because I am an example of the positive results of bilingual education.
Bilingual education is the gradual immersion of non-English speaking students into classes exclusively instructed in English. Today, nearly one third of the total student populations in New York City schools are immigrants, and the proportion is rising steadily. So, tell the city officials and Board of Education President that you don’t want to hear them say that there is no need for bilingual education programs! I am not afraid to stand hear today and tell you that I am a product of a low-income home. I grew up right here in Harlem. Both of my parents were immigrants from Senegal and they did not speak English. Naturally, I had a hard time in school. I was ten years old in the fourth grade, near failing yet another year of school when I was finally placed in a bilingual education program. Some one was willing to help me advance and that is why I can stand here today and assure you that New York City Public School Bilingual Education Programs work.
... home, rather than in public or even private schools. Education in our public schools has been on the down slope for over ... books (Klicka 56). Furthermore, virtually all sex education textbooks used in public schools throughout the country teach that any kind of ... -reliance that enable them to excel in our intellectually challenging programs of study". Unfortunately, more colleges are now having their ...
The critics have so much to say about Bilingual education in New York City. In a recent article of the New York Times, Rosell and Baker, two of the harshest critics of bilingual education, are quoted as saying that there is a need for an alternative to Bilingual education. Without any claim or care for our children, these two critics would like to see the New York Public School system implement the ESL program (English as a Second Language).
The ESL program is different from bilingual education programs in the way that English is not considered a foreign language for the students and “ it allows the immigrant student to break away from their native language in order to learn English.” Rosell and Baker claim that the program was proven successful in the California school system. But Rosell and Baker have no clue about what is good for the people of New York because Bilingual Education is the only way to preserve our children’s culture.
In the early 1930’s when my parents migrated to New York City from Africa, they were greeted by a 152-foot woman that stood in the center of the Hudson River holding a tablet in one hand and a torch in the other. This woman greeted my parents with kind words. If we go to the Harbor toady, she still stands there – The statue of liberty. The statue has greeted millions from other lands who crossed the ocean in search of freedom and opportunity. It was a symbol to the world ideals of liberty upon which our nation and form of government were founded. By restricting the native language of the people in New York, we are restricting our infinite beauty in diversity. By ridding ourselves of bilingual programs we are distorting everything that the Statue of Liberty stands for. We are telling immigrants that they are welcomed only if they agree to assimilate and give up their language – their identity.
... will become the official U. S. languages (Hayakawa 72). The bilingual education program seeks to permit non-English speaking children ... S. I. "Why English Should Be Our Official Language." Language Awareness. New York: St. Martin's, 1990 ed. Lambert, Wallace ... America, 1962 ed. Rodriguez, Richard. "Caught Between Two Languages." Language Awareness. New York: St. Martin's, 1990 ed. Romaine, Suzanne. ...
Today, as we celebrate Multiculturalism in New York City, we must remember that although we may not all speak the same language, we all have a voice – a collective, resounding voice. We are New York City, located in the United States but with borders much more far reaching. We come from the lush fields of Ireland, the sandy beaches of Puerto Rico, the deserts of Africa…we are diverse and we are beautiful. We should celebrate this today and everyday. And we need to make our voices heard, in English, en espanol, etc. On April 17th, when you go to the polls think about my parents and your parents. They were strong people who graced the shoreline with their arrival, and despite efforts to shackle their dreams, the human spirit could not be contained. They refused limitations and replaced them with genius. Through simple acts of courage they stood up for all human dignity. And they cultivated leaders for the next millennium. On April 17th, when you go to the polls, think about our children. They deserve all the city has to offer them. They have been closed in silence for so long, bring them out to know themselves and discover the sounds of their own voices. Lastly, on April 17th, when you go to the polls, think of me because I am always and unyieldingly thinking of you. Thank you and enjoy the festivities.