In fact, as odious as the Korean finds this law, it was the perfect opportunity for the Korean to practice one of his guiding principles in his life -- If you don’t understand why people are doing certain things, you are the one who is stupid, not the people. And on some level, the Korean can understand what drove these people to pass the Arizona law. The Korean disagrees with that reasoning, but at least one can make a fair argument that the law was not (primarily) motivated by xenophobia, but by legitimate concerns over safety of persons and property.
But this article from the Wall Street Journal (no friend of illegal immigrants) made the Korean fucking lose it:
Arizona Grades Teachers on Fluency
State Pushes School Districts to Reassign Instructors With Heavy Accents or Other Shortcomings in Their English
PHOENIX—As the academic year winds down, Creighton School Principal Rosemary Agneessens faces a wrenching decision: what to do with veteran teachers whom the state education department says don't speak English well enough.
The Arizona Department of Education recently began telling school districts that teachers whose spoken English it deems to be heavily accented or ungrammatical must be removed from classes for students still learning English.(Emphasis the Korean's.)
State education officials say the move is intended to ensure that students with limited English have teachers who speak the language flawlessly. But some school principals and administrators say the department is imposing arbitrary fluency standards that could undermine students by thinning the ranks of experienced educators.
The teacher controversy comes amid an increasingly tense debate over immigration. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer this month signed the nation's toughest law to crack down on illegal immigrants. Critics charge that the broader political climate has emboldened state education officials to target immigrant teachers at a time when a budget crisis has forced layoffs.
"This is just one more indication of the incredible anti-immigrant sentiment in the state," said Bruce Merrill, a professor emeritus at Arizona State University who conducts public-opinion research.
Margaret Dugan, deputy superintendent of the state's schools, disagreed, saying that critics were "politicizing the educational environment."
In the 1990s, Arizona hired hundreds of teachers whose first language was Spanish as part of a broad bilingual-education program. Many were recruited from Latin America.
Then in 2000, voters passed a ballot measure stipulating that instruction be offered only in English. Bilingual teachers who had been instructing in Spanish switched to English.
Ms. Dugan said some schools hadn't been complying with the state law that made English the only language in the classroom. "Our job is to make sure the teachers are highly qualified in fluency of the English language. We know districts that have a fluency problem," she said.
Arizona's enforcement of fluency standards is based on an interpretation of the federal No Child Left Behind Act. That law states that for a school to receive federal funds, students learning English must be instructed by teachers fluent in the language. Defining fluency is left to each state, a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education said.
"The teacher obviously must be fluent in every aspect of the English language," said Adela Santa Cruz, director of the Arizona education-department office charged with enforcing standards in classes for students with limited English.
The education department has dispatched evaluators to audit teachers across the state on things such as comprehensible pronunciation, correct grammar and good writing.
Teachers that don't pass muster may take classes or other steps to improve their English; if fluency continues to be a problem, Ms. Santa Cruz said, it is up to school districts to decide whether to fire teachers or reassign them to mainstream classes not designated for students still learning to speak English. However, teachers shouldn't continue to work in classes for non-native English speakers.
About 150,000 of Arizona's 1.2 million public-school students are classified as English Language Learners. Of the state's 247 school districts, about 20 have high concentrations of such students, the largest number of which are in the younger grades.
Nearly half the teachers at Creighton, a K-8 school in a Hispanic neighborhood of Phoenix, are native Spanish speakers. State auditors have reported to the district that some teachers pronounce words such as violet as "biolet," think as "tink" and swallow the ending sounds of words, as they sometimes do in Spanish.
These teachers "are very good educators who understand the culture" of their students," said Ms. Agneessens, Creighton's principal. "Teachers should speak grammatically correct English," she acknowledged, but added, "I object to the nuance of punishment for accent."
"It doesn't matter to me what the accent is; what matters is if my children are learning," said Luis Tavarez, the parent of sixth- and eighth-graders at Creighton.
"Student achievement and growth should inform teacher evaluations, not their accents," said Kent Scribner, superintendent of the Phoenix Union High School District.
John Hartsell, spokesman for the Arizona Education Association, a union that represents 34,000 teachers, said the recent focus on fluency was a distraction from more important issues. "This is not the time to be pressuring districts to deal with accents that have nothing to do with quality teaching; we are trying to figure out how to best fund operations" because of cuts in education, he said.
State education officials deny any discrimination against teachers, saying they are acting in students' best interest.
Ms. Santa Cruz, the state official, said evaluators weren't looking at accents alone. "We look at the best models for English pronunciation," she said. "It becomes an issue when pronunciation affects comprehensibility."
"Teachers should speak good grammar because kids pick up what they hear," said Johanna Haver, a proponent of English-language immersion who serves as an adviser to Arizona educators. "Where you draw the line is debatable."
After evaluation and despite completing an accent-reduction course, some teachers at Creighton were ruled still unsuited to teaching English-language learners.
That poses a dilemma for Ms. Agneessens, the principal. In kindergarten, three of four classes are for English-language learners. Two of those three classes are taught by immigrants whose English didn't pass muster.
Ms. Agneessens said she was trying to find a way to retain those two teachers by shifting them into classrooms not designated for English-language learners, even if that meant teaching a different grade. Both teachers declined to comment for this article.
Recently, she informed one experienced kindergarten teacher that she would have to be reassigned to a mainstream class in a higher grade in the fall, if she wished to remain at the school.
"We both cried," she said.
WHAT. THE. FUCK.
The Korean's first point:
It has become clear that "Arizona" (used as a shorthand for the people who make the decisions in Arizona and the majority of the electorate that backs those people,) as of now, will attempt exploit every little loophole in the laws to screw over the people Arizona does not like. The No Child Left Behind Act has a common sense requirement that in order to teach English-learning students, the teacher must be fluent in English. The requirement was obviously not designed to demand the teachers to lose their accent. But Arizona has taken one concept -- "fluent" -- and stretched it beyond recognition. Most Dutch people speak English with ease, although with an accent. Now, Dutch people would be considered fluent in English everywhere in the world, except in Arizona school districts.
This willingness to twist the words of the NCLB is highly relevant for the way the new immigration enforcement law will be implemented. The supporters of the law point to the provision that require "lawful contact" for the police to demand a proof of citizenship from a person, as well as the provision that race or national origin cannot be the sole consideration for making such a demand. Relying on this, supporters of the law characterize as if the new law will only come to play at a traffic stop after an infraction or following an arrest. (For example, the author of the linked New York Times op-ed uses the example of a minivan pulled over for speeding, in which the police sees a dozen Mexicans packed in without identifications.)
Well, shit load of good those provisions will do now. Arizona just displayed the willingness to stretch one law -- the federal law that it did not author -- beyond the breaking point. How can one expect that Arizona will strictly adhere to the most disciplined interpretation of the law that it wrote for itself? If Arizona intended to screw over immigrants -- legal and illegal alike -- there are ample means to do so within the meaning of the new law. And that's what really makes this new law so odious.
Here is an example of how that law can be enforced. A "lawful contact" include stop-and-frisks, otherwise known as "Terry stops." A police officer can lawfully stop-and-frisk anyone without probable cause, as long as the officer has a reasonable suspicion that a person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. And the crime can be any crime, including misdemeanors. And here is something everyone should know about misdemeanors -- if all misdemeanor laws were strictly applied, you can be thrown in jail for breathing. (For example, did you know that using a leaf blower in Santa Monica was a misdemeanor?)
Here is an example. You know what's a misdemeanor in Arizona? Loitering, which is so helpfully defined as being "present in a public place and in an offensive manner." So, under the Arizona law, the police can stop-and-frisk anyone, and demand a proof of citizenship in the process, as long as the police reasonably suspects that the person was, is, or is about to be present in a public place and in an offensive manner. And there are minimal restrictions as to what "offensive" means here.
In this context, the prohibition of using race or national origin as the sole consideration is completely meaningless, because the police can only needs to prove that he had a reasonable suspicion that someone was about to loiter. In other words, the police in Arizona is now given a blank check anyone produce a proof of residence. Now, Arizona is demanding the police to go hunt down illegal immigrants. Gee, the Korean wonders if they will stop-and-frisk any white people for "loitering"?
Of course, this type of search is unreasonable, and relies on the most strained interpretation of the law. And that's the Korean' point here -- Arizona is ready and willing to twist the law (which it conveniently wrote for itself with broad authorization and hollow restrictions) in a way that will screw over immigrants.
The Korean's second point:
As the Korean previously stated in the post about his process of learning English at age 16, he believes that grammar is one of the most -- if not the most -- important thing to learn in a language. But on the flip side, the Korean does not believe for one second that having an accentless speech is important. In fact, when the Korean put up the post about learning English at age 16, a number of Korean Americans emailed the Korean, asking, "Your speech has no accent at all. I came to America late, like you. How do I get rid of my accent?"
The Korean always replied: "Don't worry about the accent! There are some ways to get rid of it, but there is no need to kill yourself doing it. Having an accent did not stop Henry Kissinger from becoming the Secretary of State, nor did it stop Arnold Schwarznegger from being the governor of California. America is a fair place; as long as you can communicate, you can succeed as long as you can show you are smart, educated and hard-working."
Now the Korean feels like an idiot for having believed in his country enough to give that kind of advice. If rank xenophobia was thinly veiled in the Arizona immigration enforcement law, it is completely naked in Arizona's accent-related demotion of teachers. With the immigration enforcement law, there is at least a possibility of semi-plausible excuses -- illegal immigration is illegal, some illegal immigrants have known to commit crimes, illegal immigrants are a burden on the American society, and so on and so forth.
But none of those excuses applies in this situation. The accented teachers are lawful residents of Arizona. They committed no crime. They already have a job that requires having a degree and passing a test, and are not a drain on the welfare. They are not even accused of being bad teachers. In fact, some of them are praised for being "very good educators" by their principal. No matter -- if you have an accent, you cannot teach English-learning students. Arizona has clearly stated: "Having an accent is bad, and we don't like that. So you cannot teach the next generation who is learning English, because we don't want you transmit that disease you have." With this accent-punishment, Arizona effectively declared that Americans who speak English with an accent are second-class citizens. And what animates Arizona is clearly revealed: it is xenophobia, xenophobia, xenophobia.
Some supporters of Arizona's immigration enforcement law speak of how they are in favor of legal immigration, while opposed to illegal immigration, and Arizona is only acting to curb illegal immigration. Bullshit. Arizona hates immigrants altogether, legal or illegal. It hates anyone who looks different and speaks differently. If that was not obvious before, it is obvious now.
Got a question or a comment for the Korean? Email away at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It's always been amazing to me how many people who only speak English can be contemptuous of those who speak heavily accented English. Just plain boggles the mind.ReplyDelete
At the same time, I do remind myself that the vast majority of people I've met in life are kind and gracious and it can be fun to have a laugh together at the difficulties in pronouncing a foreign tongue.
Heh, and you know who else pronounces think as tink and three as tree? The Irish. I wonder if there were an native born Irish teacher with a heavy accent, would people be alarmed?ReplyDelete
British accent? Australian accent? Southern accent? What is proper English, anyways?ReplyDelete
The Korean accent is very obvious and one of the best in the world. It sounds very funny. The Spanish accent sounds sexy. You should write a post about it.
I would recommend that Korean accented people not be allowed to teach English in the US, because if the students started mimicking the teacher, some very fatal consequences could occur. Can you imagine the Mexican with the Korean accented English? HILARIOUS.
Arizona hates immigrants altogether, legal or illegal. It hates anyone who looks different and speaks differently. If that was not obvious before, it is obvious now.ReplyDelete
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All I gotta say is, I'm getting a very nice tan and a good amount of exercise protesting against these numbnuts. The tan part is probably not going to help me out in the near future, I think...ReplyDelete
How about eubonics? is that an accent or because it did not come from outside the US that it is good English?ReplyDelete
I like very much to listen to Korean English.ReplyDelete
I think it can sound like singing.
Koreans also write English in a different way.
They write each sentence on a new line.
So, I think Korean English sounds like poetry.
Oh. Pure rage. I love how they let everybody BUT teachers stick their fucking nose in on the issue of education in the US. Joe blow off the street has an opinion today, and we should take it into consideration, because this is America and we all get a say. Except for the people who actually have a clue what the hell is going on.ReplyDelete
What about the fact that a former second-langauge learner, particularly from the new second-langauge learner's same native language, can understand the intrinsic ins and outs of what it's like to acquire the second language in a way that a first-language speaker will never, ever understand? How many languages will the new, unaccented teachers be required to speak? If we're seriously that worried about our little immigrant children (which is obviously the motivation here, right?), then shouldn't we also make sure they have teachers who have first-hand knowledge of second language acquisition?
Nevermind the fact that, growing up in a working class smalltown in Texas, most of my English teachers were prone to saying "ain't", "y'all" and "gonna". They're making American mistakes, so that's fine....
I think I'm having a heart attack.
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Sorry I keep messing uo my posts I said:ReplyDelete
Oh the irony!
When I arrived in Sokcho last year on the way to Seoul I passed a sign that said 'English village' I had to go and look.
I found rather a lot of Korean children who spoke English in a Southern American drawl. Initially I thought they were taking the piss as TCG was assumed to be a Kyopo (btw there is another combat rider called Joon Kim who did my motorbike trip backwards).
Bizarrely I also found a ton of Germans teaching English in Seoul that passed their heavy accents on as well.
On a lighter note:
On the other point the Korean made about being stopped and searched everywhere. WELCOME TO THE UK 2001 Anti terrorism act, the police don't so much stop brown people, they stop EVERYBODY.
Taking photos? anti terrorism law says no.
Record a cop giving a beating to an innocent civvie? anti terrorism law says no.
Record a police officer on tape : anti terrorism law says no
Cop doesn't like your face anti terrorism act gives them the power to arrest you for NO reason at all, no even any need for suspicion.
The worse part is that the law was purposefully badly written so that there is NO COMEBACK and no oversight in the administration of such a law. Which means the police routinely abuse it. It effectively means Rodney king type beatings are completely legal!
I don't know what's up with Arizona, but I can recall that even in the fine (almost) northern state of MD, the sentiment against Latino-Americans was heavy. AZ being in the south, and closer to the border, I can only imagine how terrible it must be to live there.ReplyDelete
If I were in AZ, I'd move out ASAP...
This post angered me, and I'm not even American. If Arizona knew how stupid and provincial their decision-makers were making them look, from the outside... but that's the whole point, isn't it?ReplyDelete
"tink" - I have a friend from Preston, England who says "Fink" and "fank you"
It sounds like Arizona took a move out of the Republic of Korea's playbook here.ReplyDelete
this makes me sick to my stomach.
completely arbitrary Jim Crow B.S.
If Arizona knew how stupid and provincial their decision-makers were making them look, from the outsideReplyDelete
Well, it seems "the outside" seems to think Arizona ain't so stupid:
Of course, if by "outside," you mean, "Canada," well, I suppose the state of Arizona has much to apologize for, then, such as its shameful lack of state "human rights committees" to investigate journalists for writing things that hurt minorities' feelings.
I love people who don't get that they're racist, while they're arguing that something else isn't racist, because they agree with it, and so do other racist people who are part of the majority. If the majority agree with something, it's not racist, even if it is.ReplyDelete
That's my favorite. Really.
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As an attorney and graduate of the University of Arizona's law school I'm quite interested in the issue.ReplyDelete
1. Let me say that law enforcement has ALWAYS been able to be selective in cracking down on minor infractions. Too many bumper stickers in your back window? Too much stuff hanging from your rear view mirror? Cracked tail lights? Failed to use a turn signal? Gotcha right there. Or not, depending on the Cop's mood. What if everything is by the book and the cop simply doesn't like the looks of you for some reason? Cops routinely follow cars for miles and simply wait for a violation to occur. It's going to happen eventually. I did a ride along in Tucson where the cop did that for a car with blue bandannas resting on the dashboard (gang colors). Lo and behold, the kid (16 or so) eventually screwed up something, and we stopped him. Cop found drug paraphernalia and weapons (confiscating them and ticketing the kid for the traffic violation, but not the other stuff). Got a hunch someone's a drunk driver? Follow them and wait. In fact, cops often do that so they can document several violations to beef up their report and nail down having PC to stop them. Heck, what if the driver gets nervous about the police car following him and makes a mistake because of that? Too bad, he should have been driving more carefully. But that's nationwide, and let's not kid ourselves that Driving While Black/Brown/Yellow isn't still in practice everywhere. Oh, and even if you WERE pulled over for being the wrong color, that's not a defense if you actually were speeding or something (Whren v. U.S). Cop may be a racist dick, but you still broke the law.
However, in those cases, the cop saw you break the law. Terry stops of vehicles without an infraction would need a concurrence of factors, for example: packed vehicle, Sonora plates, northbound on a smuggling route near the border, excessive dirt on the vehicle (from driving offroad) and likely several more.
2. Loitering is an offense, but read the text again, it's not as broad as you describe it: "Is present in a public place and in an offensive manner or in a manner likely to disturb the public peace solicits another person to engage in any sexual offense" That means there are two components: (a) being present in a place, and (b), solicits another person to engage in any sexual offense, either "in an offensive manner" or "in a manner likely to disturb the public peace." You must be soliciting sexual activity; the "offensive manner" bit is simply one alternative of how one is doing the soliciting.
3. "Racial incongruity" can be a factor (but not the sole factor) in forming reasonable suspicion. That means a black guy walking around an all-white neighborhood can raise some eyebrows. But since it's only one factor, there better be something else as well, such as a radio report of a crime in the area and description of someone looking like him, or he reeks of pot or something. The irony is that with Arizona's high percentage of Hispanic residents (over 50% in some counties), "racial incongruity" is significantly eroded as an RS factor.
4) Anyway, the text has been modified somewhat recently (see HB 2162). One of the major changes is the removal of the word "solely" from the section describing reasonable suspicion. That means that race, ethnicity, color or national origin NOT be considered in forming RS. At all.
My basic point is this: if there are ugly aspects to this law, they're nothing new in AZ or anywhere else. In fact, given that cops are now prohibited from using race/ethnicity/national origin/color as an RS factor, it's probably even more deferential to individual rights than other states that have not legislated on the matter.
Why aren't any of you "up in arms" about those countries forcing their populations to seek illegal entry and employment in the United States who then have the audacity to cry foul at the U.S. when those remittances back home are threatened, especially when so many of the those countries have horrendous records of their own when dealing with illegal immigrants? (Sarcasm for those who don’t get it): I especially like their audacity at sticking up for illegal murderers of a young “virgin” girl strangled with her own shoelaces by illegal immigrant in Houston by trying to force other countries (Texas is basically its own country) into doing their bidding.ReplyDelete
At my high school, at least when I was attending, there was an ESL teacher or two who had heavy Japanese accents. Heavy enough that, despite living in HAWAII (land of accents), there was the odd word I didn't understand. While I think it's silly to expect a standard American accent of any sort from all the faculty, I think that some cases should be investigated. Even in Korea all language teachers are trained to lecture in the standard Seoul accent before they enter a classroom of foreigners. However, once the students leave the classroom they're on their own of course. I have a Japanese friend who not only has a heavy Japanese accent, but speaks English with a heavy "dude" accent that makes him difficult to understand. Likewise I've heard about a man who learned English by listening to radio DJs...ReplyDelete
I had a teacher once who told me to raise my hand if I wanted to ax a question.ReplyDelete
Would she also be redistributed for that, despite having lived her entire life within the US?
When I was an undergrad at U of A, I had several professors and TAs from overseas who had practically impenetrable accents, and they were teaching course like MIS, accounting, and Middle Eastern History (but not, to my knowledge, ESL). Many people vigorously complained about them, but nothing could be done. I'd say that was a problem that was fundamentally unfair to tuition paying students, and should have been solved with the same policy that AZ is adopting toward the non-native English teachers.ReplyDelete
Some commenters have brought up the possibility that some teacher's accents are too strong for a native English speaker to understand and that it would be unfortunate for English language learners to imitate those accents. (Although, this is relative: in Ireland, English is spoken natively, but my mom, who is fluent in American English as a second language, couldn't understand a thing anybody said there when we toured it. I had to translate for her from English into English.) Well, part of the ESL teacher's job is to teach English, and if the kids aren't learning how to speak English, the teacher isn't good and should be fired for that reason. If the kids are learning comprehensible spoken English, the teacher's accent obviously isn't such a barrier. Unfortunately, no one here is actually looking at student performance, so if the principal says that someone is a good teacher and a parent says that the person isn't teaching good English, no one knows who's right. The state is just wrong,though, to equate teachers with accents with poor teachers.ReplyDelete
Without actually hearing the English, it's hard to judge. Correct modeling is important, especially for newcomers learning the sounds and sound-letter correspondence. Some naturalized citizen teachers choose to teach higher grades because they don't feel comfortable teaching phonics. While teaching overseas in China, I observed that Asian students mastered the sounds of English faster if the classroom teacher was a fellow speaker of North American English, rather than an Australian or a British national. It's a matter of consistent early modeling, not a valuing of one accent over another.ReplyDelete
Don't assume that because these children live in the US that they are exposed to a lot of English outside the classroom or have opportunities to interact in English with native speakers. The Spanish-speaking population in my town comprises only about 6%, but they're clustered in a few neighborhoods, so the children tend to socialize with each other in Spanish after school. I've had US-born kindergarteners start school virtually unable to speak English and demonstrating listening comprehension of 50 words or less. They pick up language quickly, of course, but consistently good modeling helps, especially if many of their limited English speaking and socioeconomically disadvantaged peers do not communicate in English well.
Correct modeling of language is important not only for non-native speakers but also low SES children, who often use noticeably grammatically incorrect English, have a very limited vocabulary, and do not use polite speech. Teachers at my school are reminded of the importance of modeling and correcting language.
If only two of the non-native teachers evaluated were deemed unfit, then it doesn't sound like anyone with a foreign accent was re-assigned.
correction: It doesn't sound like everyone with a foreign accent was re-assigned.ReplyDelete
Hey, I often have a difficult time understanding my doctor, who hails from India. ;) Nobody is saying she isn't qualified to practice medicine in the USA.ReplyDelete
Of course, I try to make sure I understand her. However, misunderstandings do happen, such as when she recommended I eat yogurt for a snack and I thought she said yoga. So, I signed up for a yoga class. heh. Other patients, especially her elderly ones, might end making more serious errors to their health and well-being.
"This is the reason why your headache didn't go away: That's actually pronounced analgesic, not anal-gesic. Sir, the pills go in your mouth."
-Dr. Christopher D. Turk-
One huge problem with AZ politics is that they don't let independents vote in primaries; thus, candidates tend to be either extremely right-wing or extremely left-wing. And the trend gets worse because moderates get disgusted by extremist platforms and turn independent... which gives candidates more incentives to appeal to the extreme ends of the political spectrum.ReplyDelete
That's how you get state senate full of (let's face it) bigots and nutjobs wanting to hunt down the illegals, but actual protester size for/against SB 1070 is 50:2500
Question for the Korean:ReplyDelete
Would you be willing to send your future children to a weekend Korean or weekday dual immersion Korean-English school if some of the teachers teaching in Korean were non-native speakers, say, at the level of the Metropolitician (fluent but definitely non-native), or Korean-Chinese speaking the Korean dialect of northeastern China? After all, you and your wife speak Korean at home, too, and interact with other Korean speakers, so native proficiency in Korean shouldn't be necessary for Korean teachers, right?
My experience with the South Korean expatriate population in China is that they didn't mess around with the Korean language or Korean language education. All of the non-foreign language teachers at evening cram schools and Korean international schools were South Korean nationals, according to South Korean students and a parent liaison.
Honestly, TK, would you really feel okay in your gut about teachers with less than native-equivalent Korean teaching your children the Korean language or academic subjects in Korean?
As it is, this country already has numerous people with "native" accents... Texas, New York, Boston, Wisconsin, down South, Native Americans, etc. I'm told we even have an accent here on the West Coast (I don't believe that one, but then again I was raised out here). Considering Spanish speakers make up at least 10% of the population, would their accent be considered foreign?ReplyDelete
What it comes down to is whether or not "one" accent will be made the standard English. It kind of reminds me how Communist China made the Beijing dialect the official "Standard Mandarin" for the entire country...
Just with respect to your point 2, here is the full text again:
A person commits loitering if such person intentionally ... is present in a public place and in an offensive manner or in a manner likely to disturb the public peace solicits another person to engage in any sexual offense[.]
Frankly, this is a poorly drafted language. The relationship between the clause that starts with "solicits another person" and the rest of the law is not entirely clear. Your interpretation is valid, but so is the Korean's. And again, AZ state government has displayed the willingness to interpret (and twist if necessary) the language of the law toward maximum detriment toward immigrants.
John from Daejeon,
Because people can choose to address one issue at a time. And also, PLEASE show the Korean how re-assigning accented teachers will stop or slow illegal immigration. Seriously. The Korean is all ears.
Apples and oranges. Korean language has a standard pronunciation set by National Institute of Korean Language. English does not, and accordingly there are numerous regional variations and accents that are considered acceptable, even desirable.
"Korean language has a standard pronunciation set by National Institute of Korean Language."
And this is a given fact, or a result of some kind of policy? I mean from a sociolinguistical aspect, it's very hard to tell where are the boarders of a language, but in some countries, some version of a language (e.g. a dialect) considered superior ( standard). But in other countries they are considering versions of a language being equal. So...from this point of view the only problem seems to be here, that some people are just confused about which model to apply to...
While there is room to argue over the intentions of the AZ legislature in SB 1070 (and HB 2162), and room to argue over whether the law is facially discriminatory or not, there isn't any room to argue over the meaning of Article 1 of ARS 13-2905. It's always been about solicitation, and could not be as broad as you interpret it for the simple reason that it could not survive if it were your interpretation. Defense lawyers would have been all over that (and rightly so), and it would have been stricken down very quickly.ReplyDelete
Let me say that I am somewhat qualified to opine on the interpretation of Arizona's criminal statutes: during law school, I spent a year working for the Pima County Attorney's Office a clerk for the prosecution; my job was to write response motions to any number of motions to dismiss/suppress from defense counsel. In addition to researching previous court decisions, it meant parsing statutory text pretty much all day, every day.
Let me make the statutory text clearer by emphasizing "and" and adding parentheses:
"Is present in a public place AND in an offensive manner (or in a manner likely to disturb the public peace) solicits another person to engage in any sexual offense"
In your interpretation, the "and" becomes unnecessary. Not only that, if the "and" refers only to the "offensive manner" bit and not the solicitation and manner in which it is done, then you have two totally unrelated offenses within the same sentence, rendering that sentence ridiculous. One offense is "being in a public place and in an offensive manner" and another is "in a manner likely to disturb the public peace solicits another person to engage in any sexual offense"? It would make no sense to have two offenses in the same sentence. That's why the statute is broken into separate articles for each distinct offense.
Besides, every other offense in ARS 13-2905 involves (i) being in a public place, AND (ii) doing something wrong. That general characteristic is a strong indication that the first article follows the same structure. (cont'd)
(continued from previous post)ReplyDelete
But Korean, please, please don't let your passion over the greater issue become a factor in your interpretation of the language. You say that "And again, AZ state government has displayed the willingness to interpret (and twist if necessary) the language of the law toward maximum detriment toward immigrants."
One of the things that makes The Korean's opinions so compelling is that they are always grounded in reason and logic. Usually they are quite unbiased. Sometimes they are more passionate. But here, The Korean seems to be letting passion get the best of him, and the above statement reads like an ad hominem attack against a faceless group rather than a logical factor to support his argument.
The Arizona State Government (if by which The Korean means the Legislature) has no need to twist or interpret anything, since they draft the laws and do not enforce them. It would be in their interest to make things as clear as possible if the executive agencies are to carry out their intended policies (and the courts to abide by them). But if you do not mean the legislature, who? The Attorney General's office? Terry Goddard has solid Democratic credentials and running as such for Governor. Can't be his office (trust me, I know, I also clerked in the AG's office and it's overwhelmingly staffed with Democrats). The cops? Even a racist cop's "interpretation" of whatever statute will be overturned by the courts if he gets it wrong. And the courts? Yes, they do the interpreting, but judges are overwhelmingly Democrats, even in Arizona.
The Korean's opinion on the greater issue (SB 1070, the "accented teacher" policy) is not mine to denigrate. I'll provide some additional color (no pun intended) to the issues, but I won't even say he's wrong on those things because they are, by their very nature, personal opinions. But please, Korean, don't use your passion as a factor in support of your argument. You're a far more effective advocate when you keep your cool.
"Apples and oranges. Korean language has a standard pronunciation set by National Institute of Korean Language. English does not, and accordingly there are numerous regional variations and accents that are considered acceptable, even desirable."ReplyDelete
By inference, Korean regional accents and dialects are not acceptable or desirable. If your point is that Koreans have less tolerance for language variants than Americans, I agree with you.
However, I still disagree with your main post. Teachers of specific subjects do not need native-equivalent English, but teachers of ESL and teachers of preschool and early elementary children do because children learn language mostly through modeling. At-risk children need the best teachers, and the best teachers of language possess both native or native-like proficiency and outstanding teaching skills.
As a teacher, showing that you are smart, disciplined, and well trained in what you teach categorically outweighs in importance an inability to speak with perfect native level accent. Besides, it is often preferred that an ESL teacher is near native speaking in English and near native or native speaking in the the child's native language as opposed to simply being native in English and that's it. (There are obvious advantages to the teacher being bilingual) This means that it's kind of a push when it comes to weighing the benefits and costs of being native in one vs near native in both. So in the end it comes down to basic qualifications such as discipline, training, and talent.ReplyDelete
Sonagi, even you have to admit that bilingual teachers can often be more effective in teaching language skills to an ESL student. If you can admit that much, you also have to admit that going so far as to reassign or remove a teacher for the *only* reason of not having perfect or near perfect accent is completely absurd, thereby causing a reasonable person to wonder about the true intention behind such a move.ReplyDelete
JW -- Exactly.ReplyDelete
People are getting too bogged down into the total nonsense that this is actually about language learning.
If that were so, then why aren't they contemplating kicking out all the Spanish teachers who don't speak Spanish natively, or all the German teachers who are actually American?
Because that would be total nonsense. To eliminate a huge portion of language teachers because they may not be *perfect* in the language that they are teaching, often to students who are on a ridiculously low level, is a stupid and unrealistic idea.
Once students reach the level where they will be focusing on things as distinct as accent and the finer points of grammar, they're moved into "regular" English classes, anyway. Not to mention they are surrounded by native English speakers all day everyday. It's not as though their ESL teacher is the only influence on their English.
In an ideal world, we'd all learn languages from flawless native speaking instructors. Unfortunately, being an immigrant child in the US is not living in an ideal world. And this horse-and-pony nonsense is just ridiculous. They're lucky to get half-decent ESL instructors in public schools, no matter what they're native language is.
This is about xenophobia and that's it. Thinly veiled, and poorly disguised.
The Korean is not too proud to defer to a person more knowledgeable about a given topic, so he will take your word for it with respect to AZ loitering statute. But just as an FYI point, the Korean is not speaking from total ignorance either -- he also spent some time at the LA County DA's office prosecuting misdemeanors. He has seen enough examples of overzealous cops arresting people for nothing, only to have the DA's office or the court act the backstop -- and that happens at the arraignment at the earliest, after the person has been arrested and has spent up to 24 hours in the tank already.
At any rate, the Korean's main point -- that currently, Arizona is determined to hold immigrants, legal or illegal, in terrorem -- does not depend on the interpretation of a particular misdemeanor statute. This is so because, among other things, selective enforcement is always possible as you mentioned earlier.
In particular, your objection of --
The cops? Even a racist cop's "interpretation" of whatever statute will be overturned by the courts if he gets it wrong.
-- precisely illustrates the Korean's point. Stated differently, it means that it takes the court, which is often slow to act, to stop a xenophobic government official's actions. (The Korean is refraining from the label "racist" because he does not think that's correct.) What about the numerous instances where things do not go all the way to the legal challenge? The Korean is comforted by the idea that Arizona state courts will act as a backstop, but that only marginally helps the day-to-day experience of immigrants.
The Korean makes a good point: little comfort it is to the victim of racial profiling to know that the courts will come to his rescue...somewhere down the line, long after his dignity (or worse) has been injured.ReplyDelete
But that's how it is with most civil rights. All we can do is depend on the courts to save us-- to provide a check against police power. Eventually, the police realize it's bad policy to engage in practices contrary to civil rights, because it opens them up to civil rights claims. And the individual police realize that it may jeopardize their career to do so.
One of my summer clerkships was with the AZ AG's office as I mentioned (Liability Management Division), and our job was to defend the State in tort claims, some laughably groundless, some very grave indeed. There's no reason for anyone to believe me if I say "believe me" on this, but believe me, the State agencies (Department of Public Safety, i.e., highway patrol in particular) are deathly afraid of getting sued. Department management doesn't look kindly upon getting slapped with a lawsuit.
I will disagree with your assessment of Arizona's intention to harass both legal and illegal immigrants. I will agree that SB 1070 is a bit ham-fisted and clumsy (it's already had to be revised, for pete's sake), but I'm not ready to ascribe that motivation to the State. Were it any other state, I would probably agree with The Korean. But it's hard for most non-Arizonans to really grasp the climate of frustration people have with illegal immigration-- it's not just "brown people comin' in" (Arizona has always had a very high minority population) or "they're gonna steal our jawbs" (illegal immigrants rarely displace legal workers) or some other hick mantra we might expect.
Rather, it's crime, drugs, weapons, environmental concerns (see http://www.nyu.edu/classes/keefer/EvergreenEnergy/oakesr.html for some pretty ugly pictures of garbage strewn around smuggling corridors) and untold millions of state dollars being diverted to addressing these things. These are not illegitimate concerns. The problem is that they are (mostly) attributable to Mexican and Central American Hispanics, and that, in order to combat such problems, one must necessarily pursue people.
But I say this with complete conviction (awaiting the barrage of naysayers who would declare me ignorant or racist), but I truly believe if our southern neighbors were Caucasians, Arizona would react exactly the same way.
As a teacher, showing that you are smart, disciplined, and well trained in what you teach categorically outweighs in importance an inability to speak with perfect native level accent.ReplyDelete
You and other commenters are confusing native proficiency with native-like or near-native proficiency, which is not "perfect." K-12 and tertiary ESOL positions routinely state that "native or near-native/native-like proficiency" is required, so apparently school principals, ESOL/bilingual program directors, and college departments weigh language proficiency more heavily than you do.
Sonagi, even you have to admit that bilingual teachers can often be more effective in teaching language skills to an ESL student.
Can be more effective than whom? If the students all share the same native language and have very limited proficiency in English, then a bilingual teacher is preferred IF a) the teacher is highly qualified; AND b) the teacher's English is native-LIKE or native. I can speak Spanish, but I do not use it except with newcomers who are true beginners, and mostly I use it for giving instructions and directions at first and then wean them off Spanish into English. Modeling and teaching the language of school and learning is part of my job. Children do not learn language through grammar explanations or looking up words in the dictionary. They learn through consistent, comprehensible modeling and opportunities to use the language.
Once students reach the level where they will be focusing on things as distinct as accent and the finer points of grammar, they're moved into "regular" English classes, anyway. Not to mention they are surrounded by native English speakers all day everyday. It's not as though their ESL teacher is the only influence on their English.ReplyDelete
Accent? Children generally acquire native accents naturally and early without any explicit instruction. I have young students with native-like accents but very limited vocabulary and fluency; that's why they're in ESOL.
As for the language environment, it depends on the school. In some large urban school districts, Spanish-speaking children may comprise a large majority of the student body because immigrants tend to move to neighborhoods already inhabited by others form the same country. It is illegal in many states to forbid a student from speaking another language, so students in Spanish-dominant schools or Spanish-dominant ESOL programs may use more Spanish than English during the school day and after school. In my district, Spanish-speaking students use mostly English with each other during class time, but in the middle and high school that is not the case. Moreover, native English-speaking classmates may live in poverty homes and may have limited social and academic language. The ESOL teacher may not be the only influence on their English, but the ESOL teacher and other teachers may be the only CLEAR and CORRECT models. "Clear" doesn't only mean pronunciation. It also refers to the ability to express one's thoughts.
"To eliminate a huge portion of language teachers because they may not be *perfect* in the language that they are teaching, often to students who are on a ridiculously low level, is a stupid and unrealistic idea. "
And one that DIDN'T happen in Arizona. The story stated that SOME teachers did not pass state language proficiency standards. By simple inference, at least some non-native English-speaking teachers did pass and retained their jobs. I'm amazed to see people stomping their feet because SOME, SOME, SOME teachers (10? 10%? 20%?) were found to have English proficieny levels inadequate for teaching. None of us here knows what these teachers sound like when they speak English, so none of us can judge that these individual teachers were treated fairly or not. I will say again that language proficiency is an important factor in hiring decisions, regardless of the type of educational institution.
typo corrections: form - from; proficieny - proficiency.ReplyDelete
You and other commenters are confusing native proficiency with native-like or near-native proficiency, which is not "perfect." K-12 and tertiary ESOL positions routinely state that "native or near-native/native-like proficiency" is required, so apparently school principals, ESOL/bilingual program directors, and college departments weigh language proficiency more heavily than you do.ReplyDelete
I'm honestly not sure why you are saying that I'm getting "near-native" and "perfect native" confused. I was working under the assumption that school principals or administrators would *not* hire any ESL teacher who are at a minimum capable of "near native" ability in the English language. The article clearly points out that at least a few teachers were faulted for *merely* being somewhat off in their pronunciation of certain words, which is what I'm calling complete bullshit. There is no reason to suppose that these teachers cannot speak with "near native" ability in their composition of grammar and vocabulary, and their principal's support of their otherwise satisfactory teaching ability backs up that hypothesis.
Can be more effective than whom? If the students all share the same native language and have very limited proficiency in English, then a bilingual teacher is preferred IF a) the teacher is highly qualified; AND b) the teacher's English is native-LIKE or native.
Again, there is no reason to suppose that these teachers are not native-like or near native in their English ability. You'd have to seriously question the judgment of the people who hired these teachers in order to question that ability, which is fine by me (but not by your own standards). And the fact of matter is, the article states that being somewhat off in their pronunciation of certain words was good enough to get them flagged. If you agree with that judgment -- that teachers ought to be penalized for hard to erase accents that does *not* necessarily indicate their inability to speak English with near native ability -- well, then I would just say that you are wrong, because like I said, having perfect native accent is just not that important compared to the fundamental qualifications.
I dont ever remember America being this polarized. Having being a product of an immigrant family education comes from home, not from schools or teachers.ReplyDelete
If teachers are demoted for lack of a better word "immigrants", then how do we treat other important professional who have moderate-to-have accents.
Bottom line: White people are pissed off the fact that the land (America) they rightfully thought it belonged to them is no longer at the cusp of their fingertips. For example, did you notice how many Tea Party movements there are in the U.S, and majority, if not all, of the are white people. In essence, this whole bill is to teach minorities that America is still a "white people owned and operated country". And, frankly, the bill has absolutely nothing to do with improving our education.
Maybe I'm reading a different article .... but where does it mention demotions? Everything seems to be saying those teachers can still teach, they can teach English, they just can't teach ESL class's (kinda retarded though). Do teachers get some sort of bonus money or pay difference for ESL vs standard or other subjects? I'm really failing to see where the demotions are coming to play ... or is that just sensationalism...ReplyDelete
"I was working under the assumption that school principals or administrators would *not* hire any ESL teacher "ReplyDelete
OOps, I mean they would *only* hire an English teacher who's near native capable in English.
I would suggest that losing your preferred position against your will for any reason and being re-assigned to another position would qualify as a "demotion" regardless of salary comparisons.
"I was working under the assumption that school principals or administrators would *not* hire any ESL teacher who are at a minimum capable of "near native" ability in the English language."ReplyDelete
And you would be wrong. Principals hire the best person they can find who is highly qualified under NCLB. According to the story, the teachers in question were originally hired as bilingual teachers. There used to be a huge demand for bilingual Spanish-English teachers, so schools hired whoever had proper certification and a decent command of both languages. Some states like Arizona have eliminated bilingual instruction in favor of English-only while others retain bilingual education. The Illinois district where I used to work is always looking for at least one highly qualified bilingual teacher, and posts often remain vacant for months before being filled with a temporary hire.
"You'd have to seriously question the judgment of the people who hired these teachers in order to question that ability, which is fine by me (but not by your own standards). "
See above. The teachers were originally hired as bilingual teachers.
"There is no reason to suppose that these teachers cannot speak with "near native" ability in their composition of grammar and vocabulary, and their principal's support of their otherwise satisfactory teaching ability backs up that hypothesis."
Pronunciation is assessed either directly or indirectly as part of comprehensibility when determining language proficiency. The principal objected to teachers being re-assigned on the basis of "accents," but the state evaluators stated that the accents affected comprehensibility.
Pronunciation really matters when teaching early childhood or early elementary. Teaching sound-letter correspondence and how to use sound-letter correspondence to read and write words is fundamental in early literacy. Kids can't learn to distinguish, read, and spell sounds that a teacher herself cannot distinguish in speaking. Vowels are a particular problem. In discussing how to teach short vowels, I once had a foreign-born ESOL teacher tell me, "But I myself cannot distinguish /i/ and /I/ when I speak." The need to model and distinguish the sounds of English in teaching phonemic awareness and early phonics is why many non-native teachers voluntarily choose to teach intermediate, rather than primary grades. Native English-speaking teachers with strong regional accents may likewise be assigned to higher grades if they live in areas where the accent stands out. I live in a small town in Virginia, and either by coincidence or by choice only one primary grade teacher has a strong southern accent at my school.
Sonagi92 -- Now you've worked your way back to one of The Korean's original points. I guess you think having an accent is a problem. Some of us don't. Coming from a family and town with a "strong regional accent", I personally resent the implication that my English is less than anybody else's. Now you're actually getting into issues of *classism*. I'd also be interested to hear if you think the English, Scottish, Irish, Australian, New Zealand, South African accents are valid as "good" English, how you rank them, and their regional accents as well. While we're at it.ReplyDelete
This is interesting. If Sonagi is right, they originally implemented a policy of hiring bilingual people at the expense of hiring those who are first and foremost native or close to native capable in English. But all of sudden those in authority had a change of heart and decided nahhh they don't want to go that route any more. But how to get rid of all these suddenly "incompetent" teachers without breaking any laws and without admitting that they are unsure of what they are doing and thereby embarrass themselves? Oh I KNOW! We'll just blame the bilingual teachers for not being able to pronounce words like "think" just the way white southerners like them to be pronounced. How very convenient.ReplyDelete
"I guess you think having an accent is a problem."ReplyDelete
We all have accents, don't we? It is a problem when beginning language learners are exposed to a variety of accents. They cannot tune in as effectively to the sounds of the language. Eventually learners do sort out sounds and arrive at their own approximations, but it takes longer if there isn't consistent modeling. The children I teach are below grade level and trying to catch up. They don't have extra time.
" Some of us don't."
That's nice. We're all entitled to express our opinions.
" Coming from a family and town with a "strong regional accent", I personally resent the implication that my English is less than anybody else's. "
As I stated in an earlier comment, it's not a matter of one accent being preferred over another. It's a matter of consistent modeling. If I were a teacher in Britain or Australia, I would not be comfortable teaching ESOL to beginning language learners because my vowels significantly differ from the standard speech of the people of those countries, so I could not provide an effective model for beginning learners to get the sounds of the language and learn sound-letter correspondence.
"Now you're actually getting into issues of *classism."
Teaching standard English to poor children empowers them. I speak from experience. My dad was a high school dropout. My mom barely escaped high school with a degree. We received food stamps for a period, I got free or reduced lunches while attending public schools, and we actually lived in a trailer park for a year. I am who I am today because my parents, though not articulate or successful in school, valued education enough to buy a cheap house in a solid, middle-class school district.
"I'd also be interested to hear if you think the English, Scottish, Irish, Australian, New Zealand, South African accents are valid as "good" English, how you rank them, and their regional accents as well. While we're at it. "
See my response to your first quote. It's not a matter of valuing one accent over another. It's a matter of consistent modeling of sounds to beginning learners. My English is ideal for my students. It would not be for beginning ESOL students in Britain, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.
"But how to get rid of all these suddenly "incompetent" teachers without breaking any laws and without admitting that they are unsure of what they are doing and thereby embarrass themselves? "ReplyDelete
Please reread the story. The teachers aren't being fired. They are being re-assigned. Re-assigning a teacher to a different grade or subject is NOT a demotion, as an earlier commenter claimed. It happens every year in my district. Re-assigning a teacher to a different grade or subject is certainly not a dismissal, and it is legal. My contract, like many teaching contracts, contains a clause permitting my district to assign me any teaching job that falls within my certification areas.
But Sonagi, the article also states that the state education authority is giving school districts the power to reassign OR remove the teachers depending on what a particular school district may want to do at any given moment.ReplyDelete
I have no problems with firing incompetent ESL teachers. But let's be clear here. If these teachers are being penalized for having an accent, they are being held up to an incredibly high standard that you have to ask yourself if it would be reasonable to apply across the board. Do you want to penalize black ESL teachers for having an accent? What about those with a congenital lisp? What about those who are perfectly native in pronunciation but whose range of vocabulary is below average? I mean, the list can go on and on if you want start penalizing people for every little shortcoming that does not necessarily imply the ineffectiveness of their teaching ESL kids -- which can only result overwhelmingly due to lack of basic qualifications. Long story short, it's not even close to being reasonable and that's why you can only conclude that it's at least partly the result of xenophobia. Now if there are some teachers who were brought over mainly to teach in Spanish and are clearly not capable of teaching in English, then that's a different story in my opinion. Of course if that was the case, one would not even have to base any decision on a teacher's mispronunciation of certain words.
correction: degree -> diplomaReplyDelete
And let me clarify further on this comment:
" Coming from a family and town with a "strong regional accent", I personally resent the implication that my English is less than anybody else's. "
A teacher with a local accent is an acceptable choice because the children are routinely exposed to that accent in their community. Children who grow up in an area with a strong regional accent have two language models: the local accent and standard English. A native Bostonian is an appropriate teacher for kindergarteners in Boston. A native Bostonian with a strong accent wouldn't be the best choice for a kindergarten in Georgia.
My principal often emphasizes that program and staffing decisions are made with the best interests of the children put first. Staffing decisions aren't about rewarding or punishing teachers. They are about choosing the person best able to meet the needs of students.
I don't know about your language learning experiences, but I can tell you based on my own and those of my students that it is STRESSFUL listening to and trying to learn in a second language one is not proficient in. The less proficient one is, the more stressed one feels after 6 hours of listening and learning in that language. The added stress of coping with an unfamiliar accent is a stress that a BEGINNER doesn't need or benefit from.
My colleagues from Latin America have some trouble understanding our non-teaching staff who have strong local accents. These Latin American teachers are highly proficient in English and experienced in using English with native and non-native speakers, yet they still struggle to cope with strong accents. How much more difficult would it be for young beginners? It is desirable to expose more proficient students to a variety of accents, but beginners, no.
"Of course if that was the case, one would not even have to base any decision on a teacher's mispronunciation of certain words."
You apparently have little if any experience in teaching young learners not literate in any language to read and write in English. Early literacy is heavy on sound-letter correspondence, so a teacher who mispronounces words is not the best teacher for young learners. I spend a good part of my teaching time uttering sounds and words to help students make sound-letter correspondences needed for decoding and spelling. Vowels are especially important because students struggle with reading and spelling them correctly. For the umpteenth time, pronunciation matters when teaching beginners and young learners. Sorry if that inconvenient truth bothers you, but then, you're not held accountable for getting learners with limited English reading on grade level by the end of the year like I am.
Let me close by repeating, JW, that teaching assignments are to create an optimal learning enviroment for students. They are not about rewarding or penalizing teachers. A staffing decision that best meets the needs of students and is in compliance with relevant laws is the right decision.
Arizona should have control of their own educational system, so I don't see an issue with the law. Just because a law hurts your feelings isn't reason to end that law. I'm not a native speaker and though my accent is slight, I do have an accent. Being around persons with heavy accents, I can understand the concern that the Arizona government has that children aren't learning english properly. Language immersion is the most effective way to learn another language and that gets difficult when the teacher isn't a native speaker.ReplyDelete
They aren't firing teachers simply for having an accent either. They're just moving them into other departments, away from teaching ESL.
This law is certainly unconstitutional and will soon be struck down.ReplyDelete
Dogbert, please give some explanation as to WHY it's unconstitutional.ReplyDelete
thank you for posting this. i'm an aspiring elementary school teacher and i'm reading and learning a lot about ELL learners. the education system is absolutely insane all the politics makes it what it is. i hate that administrators and politicians who have no education related background have the authority to make decisions that are supposedly in the best interest of the students. bullshit. i appreciate your opinions.ReplyDelete
I would recommend that Korean accented people not be allowed to teach English in the US, because if the students started mimicking the teacher, some very fatal consequences could occur. Can you imagine the Mexican with the Korean accented English?ReplyDelete
can't believe it!ReplyDelete
whats the problem with accents? everybody has them: newyorkers, bostonians, irish, english, texans
... so Arizona pretends to be the the capital of the purest english speakers? thats creppy
even small countries like the UK have accents, and they live with it
in a few years Bewer will be next to Hitler in every google search ... shame
....and Godwin's law officially applies. Time to close the comments.ReplyDelete