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limitations. Brooks’ bill presumably could include kindergartens as the starting point for a bilingual program, but seems to be interpreted to mean first through third grades, or through sixth grade with the parents’ permission. Ogg’s bill, on the other hand, specifies beginning with the first grade and goes, eventually, through the sixth as a matter of course. That neither bill provides for bilingual education past sixth grade could be a severe limitation considering that the dropout rate for chicanos begins to peak in the eighth grade. There are also transfers and new arrivals from other states and even countries outside the U.S. to consider. However, I presume that both sponsors feel language problems should be taken care of by sixth grade. Legislators should carefully scrutinize Ogg’s gradual, grade-by-grade enlargement idea. That means that the full program would not be operative until fall, 1978. In that time, how many more chicanos will have been failed by the system which dooms them to fail simply because they don’t speak the language sufficiently? Also, how many children would be overlooked by Ogg’s provision that a school district need have 10 percent or more Spanish-surnamed students before it has to have a bilingual program? Shouldn’t all students with language problems in English be provided for? 12 The Texas Observer In IN In WO MN MB 11111111111M% I can PICK’ 1 1 1 1 I Before You Pack 1 FOR 1 1 HOUSTON 1 1 I Enjoy real money-saving value, and relax at the 1 1 p ALBERT 1 C 1 1 MOTOR INN 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 S IN ONE SENSE, Truan’s bill seems clearly too permissive. It lets the schools decide on the right grades in which bilingual education will be taught, cleat and present danger in the light of the schools’ performance in the past. Any grade will not necessarily get the youngest children, the ones most in need of bilingual training. “Taking affirmative steps can be interpreted very loosely. All the bills aid, urge and encourage totally bilingual teachers, but none demands them. \(Actually, they couldn’t. There are precious few such teachers around. All the eight colleges in the state which have bilingual teacher education programs have pilot programs and none were in existence more than three years requires the bicultural outlook so necessary to bilingualism. No bill involves a system of common standards for bilingual programs, nor does any bill say that the programs should be monitored \(as the few federal powerless if push comes to shove. Brooks’ bill does have hints of monitoring, but nothing is spelled out. Carlos Truan said on this point, “There are at present not enough trained personnel for bilingual education, and there is no money for bilingualism. Those are the keys to the program, I feel. It may be true that my bills are not as ‘tough’ as the senate bills. I am certainly not opposed to a stronger bilingual bill getting through. Indeed, I’m all for it. But in Texas you have to be practical about these matters. There’s no sense in jeopardizing the whole idea by proposing the toughest bill possible. If you provide enough money for a school board to bring bilingualism in; if you provide a way to train the needed teachers I think the school districts will rise to the occasion. At least I hope so. We will see what happens.” Mark Davidson, Ogg’s administrative assistant, in true conservative manner, talked mostly of costs. “We’ve tried to write a balanced, reasonable bill,” he said, “one the state can afford. Initial cost estimate on Truan’s bill is something like $10 million. Ours is only $4 million for the first two years. Of course it would build. Brooks’ bill? Well, it is detailed and specific. To that extent, I suppose it has its advantages. But it requires providing a teacher and training for 20 students in any one school district if there are kids with any language disability. Suppose you’ve got these three Greek families who’ve just moved into Houston from Greece. It’s certainly plausible. Each family has seven school-age kids who speak only Greek. That means you have to provide complete bilingual training including a teacher for those kids under Brooks’ bill. Can you imagine how expensive that’s going to be?” Davidson is not quite right on Truan’s bills according to Truan’s office. Costs are currently being estimated at $6.4 million for the first two years, building to $12 million at the end of the first five. IN TRUE liberal fashion, Chet Brooks’ administrative assistant, John Payton, all but dismissed the costs. “Well, we haven’t seen a cost estimate on our bill as yet,” he said. “We are trying to get one now. [The recently completed estimate is $4 million for the first two years.] But after all, good education is expensive. It’s also necessary. Don’t we want the best education possible for our children? We have to be able to afford it. Our main concern was with writing the best bill possible. Our bill isn’t aimed just at the Mexican-American. It tries to meet all the bilingual needs of Texas children. If it gets through, it should improve education in Texas generally.” Brooks himself said: “Only a short four years ago did we even start to look at language and learning disability problems. We’ve come a long way. The present bill has broad support. It should. We used the advice of many educators and officials over at T.E.A. Now it does come at a time when many are saying, ‘No new taxes.’ That could be a danger sign, but I hope not. The hopes for accomplishing something are higher than I’ve ever seen. We’ve got fresh, new leadership in both the Senate and the House, and things are moving.” Not that there are no problems. The bills are getting a fair share of opposition, mostly from certain school districts with large numbers of chicanos, and even some educators’ groups. Truan’s H.B. 145 almost got through the House recently but was delayed and sent back to committee on a technicality: current House rules have it that no bill that requires state spending can be voted on until March 19. As Dan Kubiak, chairman of the House education committee, has indicated, this may create a logjam situation at the end of the session, especially this session when so many bills have been proposed. Only one bill \(or two can finally meet the approval of both House and Senate. If, during the legislative dickering and compromise period, the session ends, all will come to naught, or to a bill so watered-down as to be worthless. In the light of the history of miseducation and malign neglect of the chicano in this state, if a decent bill does get through, it will be none too soon. The Nixon administration recently informed T.E.A.’s migrant division to expect a 40 percent cut in its bilingual programming for next year. A new state bilingual program would certainly come at the right time there. The need for bilingual education and education generally among the migrants is a most desperate situation. We should be at least as hopeful as Chet 3301 Southwest Freeway at Buffalo Speedway Heliport and Airport Bus Terminal near by Color TV in every room Restaurant & Lounge Heated Pool Family Plan Free Parking Meeting and Convention Facilities for up to 375 ALL AT MODERATE RATES RESERVATIONS: CALL TOLL FREE American Express Space Bank 800 -AE 8-5000 ma me NM NM 1111111111111.1 MN MI in MI