I received a very nice note today from a true gentleman who knows I’m a student of history. He found this item, detailing the conquering Empires of the Middle East over about 5000 years. It’s a great animation and a wonderful “high altitude” view of the area over time.
(Requires Shockwave plug-in.)
In the Washington Times this morning, Paul Greenburg has an op-ed article up about the correct direction we should be taking with performing the federally-required testing of students in our schools.
Question: Why would the U.S. Education Department insist a kid who has little or no English take his year-end tests in English? There are some 4,000 such students in Arkansas alone. Everybody knows they’re going to flunk the test. Why make them take it?
Answer: So we’ll know who these kids are, where they are, and just how far behind in English they are. That way, we can concentrate on helping them pass the test later.
Absolutely. The answer to the problem of a student not knowing a subject that is absolutely required to make it in American society is to teach him or her the material, not water down the tests.
While we are on the subject, we should revisit the idea of conducting the business of American governments, from federal down to the smallest village, in English. A common language is a requirement for clear communication (even where agreement turns out to be impossible) and its role in promoting societal assimilation is well and clearly known. The savings in time and resources of not providing the same services in multiple languages cannot help but be a good thing. And, finally, having a common language allows all the citizens to participate in the democracy we have here. It’s a valid approach and a good set of goals.