HoLa! supporters look forward
With the defeat of the HoLa! Dual Language Program at the Hoboken Board of Education this week, key advocates Jennifer Hindman Sargent and Camille Korschun Bustillo sent this note to their followers:
A missed opportunity in Hoboken
“Dear Friends of HoLa,
We are sad to report that last night, the Board of Education voted not to move forward with the implementation of a dual language program in Hoboken Public Schools for September 2009. Thank you to all of the supporters who attended the meeting and spoke last night, as well as to those who have supported the program over the last several months.
Unfortunately, anger and deliberate disregard of the facts led to the no vote, despite our attempts to shine light on the amazing benefits of dual language education for all students who choose to participate. We are disheartened by the outrageous behavior and misdirected anger of some opponents in attendance last night, as well as the misrepresentation of information and events leading up to the vote on the part of certain Board members. The proposed dual language classrooms would not have cost any more to operate than traditional monolingual classrooms and our proposed start-up costs were minimal, a mere 0.1% of the total budget. This is certainly more of a benefit to the taxpayer than a detriment. The existence of a dual language program would not have taken away from other areas in need of attention but would have strengthened the district as a whole.
We believe not implementing a dual language program is a missed opportunity and defeating this program does not benefit anyone. Instead, it denies all incoming Kindergartners and First Graders another option within the Hoboken Public Schools, at a time when there are waiting lists at the private, charter and even the Public Schools. Two-way immersion programs are remarkable in that they benefit children from all backgrounds and provide the opportunity to bring together diverse elements within communities such as ours. We firmly believe that dual language education is a true fit for Hoboken. We have laid the groundwork for a strong program that has the support of the team of researchers, educators and experts in the field who we have formed relationships with through the development process.
We are taking some time to consider next steps but hope that we can find a way to build on the work we have started. As always, your thoughts and ideas are welcome!”