February 16, 2012

Budget Cuts Threaten Milwaukee Immersion Programs

From http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/mpss-language-immersion-programs-face-cuts-ko4592p-139138234.html

MPS's language immersion programs face cuts
More school reductions translate to lesser quality, parents say
By Erin Richards
February 10, 2012

When Delara Chaoui travels with her family to Morocco or France, her third-grade son serves as the group translator, switching easily between English and French.

It's a skill he's developed at Milwaukee French Immersion School, one of a handful of language immersion programs in the city that are a magnet for many middle-class parents who value bilingualism, a world-focused curriculum and a diverse student body.

But a growing sense of concern about how another heavy round of budget cuts could affect the quality of the schools has moved Chaoui and other immersion parents to action in recent weeks, seeking greater public attention for programs they fear are threatened.

"We're in survival mode," Chaoui said. "But I hate to say our school deserves more than another school because a lot of it boils down to family and households and parents, and some schools don't have the luxury of having a lot of involved parents and volunteers."

The state's reductions in school spending and general aid and the loss of a class-size reduction program in French Immersion increased class sizes to 37 students in Chaoui's son's third-grade class.

In a letter a parent forwarded to the Journal Sentinel, Principal Virginia McFadden wrote to her superiors on Jan. 26 that she could not balance the school's projected budget for next year "and also sustain the integrity of the school's program."

Read the full article at http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/mpss-language-immersion-programs-face-cuts-ko4592p-139138234.html

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