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What Should We Do?

             Many different people, many different ethnicities, many different languages, and many more different whatever's make up this great country of ours. We all live in the same country, but with the existence of all these many differences how can we treat everyone similarly and fairly in our education system? The conservatives, like Richard Rodriguez, advocate assimilation into the English speaking society, even if it means that a significant part of a person's heritage must be given up. On the other hand, multiculturalists, like Ferguson and Howard-Hamilton, suggest that these differences be left alone and schools adjust to their needs. I believe the answer to this problem lies somewhere in between, a point at which someone can assimilate into the English speaking society while preserving their roots.
             In his piece Speaking a Public Language, Richard Rodriguez described his childhood as difficult, and often scary, when he was unable to speak English. His responses to questions were often mumbled as he was resisting his teacher's duty to teach him English, a duty to teach him a public language. His resistance persisted, making his education and more burdensome and delaying his learning of society's language. His evasion eventually led his learning of English homebound. Nuns, only in his and his siblings" best interests, suggested that his parents speak only to them in English. A game at home and reinforcement at school eventually turned Ricardo into Richard, a person ready to answer a question and able to be understood by all. He had been accepted by the public. However his increasing performance resulted in separation at home. His family no longer was as close knit as they once were. The gap between the generations became evident as time went one; the children had an increasingly difficult time communicating with their parents in English. Richard also become uncomfortable addressing and calling the attention of his parents.

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