Interview – Dr Leo Gomez, one-way and two-way dual language education

Date of Interview: May 25, 2018
Interviewed By: Chuy Ramriez
Posted: July 24, 2021

Dr. Leo Gómez, Retired Professor
Dual Language Training Institute
PO Box 420
Edinburg, Texas 78540
Office (956) 467-9505
leo@dltigomez.com

Dr. Leo Gomez is a retired university professor, having taught at Texas A&M University and Pan American University (predecessor to University of Texas Rio Grande Valley) and currently owner of the Dual Language Training Institute. Dr. Gomez attended college at Pan American University, Brownsville where he obtained both his B.A. and M.A. degrees. In 1994, Dr. Gomez received his Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Bilingual/ESL/Multicultural Education. He has acquired a reputation as an expert in the development of dual language instruction models and has developed education models currently in use in numerous school districts, including Houston, Dallas, La Joya and Pharr San Juan Alamo.

Dr. Gomez founded The Dual Language Training Institute (DLTI), a consulting firm dedicated to providing professional development services and technical support to schools and districts interested in educating all of their students through either a one-way or two-way dual language education, thereby providing greater educational equity and biliteracy opportunities to the students they serve. The Gomez & Gomez DLE Model is committed to the belief, as evidenced through research, that successful Dual Language Learner (DLLs) (inappropriately referred to as ELLs or LEP) that achievement is largely based on the extent and quality of native language instruction (L1). Increasingly, One-Way Dual Language Programs now serve as THE bilingual program successfully serving ALL DLLs.

Results of enrichment bilingual education models continue to demonstrate that the route to “academic English” and long-term achievement for DLLs is through a strong education in their native language and well-balanced and sequenced English instruction. Although instruction in Spanish (native language) appears counter-intuitive to English language acquisition, it is the best route because it is focused on academic learning that involves cognitive and linguistic development and on-grade-level learning. In late-exit transitional bilingual (sometimes referred to as “maintenance”) programs where DLLs exit native language instruction late…after 4-5 years, and dual language programs, where bilingual learners continue native language instruction through at least 5th grade, there is greater long-term success of these students. However, only one-way or two-way dual language programs effectively close the academic achievement gap for DLLs based on long-term standardized assessments. In contrast, remedial BE models (transitional or ESL) only partially close the gap (Thomas & Collier, 2004)
For Dr. Gomez’s publications and writings, see Appendix A

The text of the interview is edited for grammatical reasons and space demands..

 

Chuy:  Today is May 25, 2018, and I am speaking with Dr. Leo Gómez about dual language instruction. Dr. Gómez, with respect to all dual language instruction models, where the issues lay — and that is always found in the literature I have read– is “fidelity” to the program (dual language program).  And without that fidelity, what happens?

Dr. Gomez.:  Right. You don’t get those strong results. It’s like anything else, you have to implement it with as much fidelity as possible. Nothing will ever be perfect, but we need as much fidelity as possible to get the best results. There are really three major factors that we’re talking about here, and it applies to each dual language instruction differently.

One, you’re thinking about the social factors, maintaining a legacy language, maintaining the children’s culture, the marketability of acquired skills, the future, the opportunities, the market from a socio-economic factor. My own emphasis has been “all of this is always there, that’s always going to be a plus.”

Two, my focus, as for getting folks to understand dual language instruction, is that it is primarily an educational purpose. In other words, the educational factor. This is the only instructional program that is closing academic gaps between native Spanish-speaking children or children with languages other than English and native English-speaking children, whether they are Hispanic or not. And I think this is going to lead into your main focus of what’s going on. Why? You see, when children develop biliteracy, which means they are equally academically proficient in at least two languages across the curriculum, not just speaking, reading and writing, but in math, science, social studies, todas las materias, when they reach that level, for 5th grade biliteracy, 8th grade biliteracy or high school, depending on that level, but relative to that level, these kids have also developed higher cognitive abilities.

Biliteracy or mastery of two language systems means being able to manipulate those two languages in our everyday conversations and in academic settings. This enhances our cognitive skills. And, education is all about academic proficiency and cognitive proficiency: the ability to think, the ability to problem-solve, and the ability to think critically.

When we develop two languages, our brains are more developed, if you will. There are many studies that support this as far as student achievement. As a matter of fact, as a rule of thumb, this is true for any child that is served through a well-implemented, dual language program, whether he/she started as a native Spanish- speaker or native-English speaker. No tiene que ver. Whether he/she was impoverished, or he/she was affluent, when they are educated through a well-implemented dual language program for at least five to seven years, they are out-performing their counterparts.

Chuy:  And their counterparts being whom?

Dr. G.:  Somebody equal to them who did not receive this kind of education.

Chuy:  Okay.

Dr. G.:  So, let’s say I’m a White, very affluent, and a well-supported child. Ya vengo preparado. And I have a lot of support at home with resources, con los padres y todo and all these experiences. Typically, those kids do well in school. Right? It is because they have a lot of support, they have a lot of experiences and we keep providing that, and parents stay on top of this. Those kids typically do well. Yet, kids in a dual language program, outperform those affluent kids. They’re outperforming those kids. So, in other words, any child, who has now mastered two languages has increased his cognitive ability over his counterpart who is equally proficient but only in one language. They may both be on grade level, but this Dual Language Instruction student has higher academic skills so his academic ability to learn, to achieve in school, increases over time So, the results show that these dual language instruction participants have higher results as they continue in school, even if the dual language program ends in 5th grade.

PSJA (Pharr San Juan ISD is the only school district in the entire country that has taken on a large-scale dual language learning into the secondary grades. They have thousands of kids learning in two languages in middle school and high school. All of their eight middle schools have dual language classes. All of their five high schools have dual language classes. And of course, so do all their elementary schools. That is unheard of, anywhere in the country. I tell them, “We’re leaders down here and we need to promote it.” And we try to promote it and they do too. Pero, como Hispanos, we are not the type to blow our own horn.

Chuy:  Right.

Dr. G.:  We just do our thing. But, that is very powerful. If you have an opportunity as part of your study, to interview some of those high school dual language students, you should do so. They’ve graduated the 10th cohort this year. These are students that have gone through at least eight to ten years, since kindergarten, since first grade, and have been learning in two languages. So, now we’re talking about biliteracy and cognitive abilities at the high school level. It’s very different from just 5th grade level.

Chuy:  Totally.

Dr. G.:  Now, these kids’ ability to think and process is going to be demonstrated in their success when they go to college. In other words, their achievement levels are going to be stronger when they go to college than those of other kids that graduate from high school who are not as proficient. They may both be bilingual. But bilingualism and biliteracy mean two different things.

Chuy:  Right.

Dr. G.:  Almost everybody in the Valley is bilingual. And bilingual can mean: “I know a little bit of Spanish.” Bilingualism means I can speak both languages equally. I may not be able to read them and write them. But that is bilingualism. With biliteracy, you’re into the academic level. I can read and write in both languages with equal proficiency, relative to my age group or at the grade level we’re talking about. And I also know the vocabulary and the concepts in both languages. So, whatever I learned in math and science, I can explain it to you in English or Spanish and I know all those key terms. That’s the definition of biliteracy. So, the reading and writing aspect of it is the easiest to achieve and kids pretty much get there. The hardest part is to get everybody to become really proficient in the subject areas. So, there are more and more studies. The bilingual education field and the dual language field and brain research fields are coming together increasingly. And we’re seeing it out there in the literature, and you’ve probably seen a lot of that. Dr. Ellen Bialystok (York University, Toronto),[1] that’s her niche. She is looking at brain development and the impact of the brain as it relates to bilingualism. She doesn’t necessarily connect it to dual language but that’s where you develop it, right?

Chuy: That’s a language area.

Dr. G.:  With Alzheimer’s, there’s typically a delay in the development or in the onset of Alzheimer’s in bilinguals. The more biliterate you are the longer the delay and sometimes you don’t get that versus monolinguals.[2] All of that is all positive.

But, factor number three, for me, my biggest emphasis has been equity.

Chuy:  Equity. Meaning?

Dr. G.:  An equitable education for all. All children deserve an education, whether you come from a Spanish-speaking family or whether you come from an English-speaking family. We should not be seeing gaps in achievement. It is well-known that our Latinos or Spanish-speaking or bilinguals are performing at a certain level. Poverty goes across the spectrum, because White children of poverty also struggle in school. So, poverty is a factor for everybody. When you remove poverty as a factor and deal only with language differences, native English-speaking students, typically White, and even Hispanic native English-speakers, of the third, fourth, fifth generation, tend to out-perform these kids who come to school speaking Spanish exclusively or who are dominant in Spanish.

So, there are two issues here. One is: one group of kids deserves a quality education just like the other group of kids. Our educational system is typically designed for this population of native English-speakers. What we’ve been doing, and the reason I really got into this field way back—is people have been trying to fix the problems of these kids: “They don’t speak English. We have to give them that and remove their problem, which is Spanish. And that has been the focus for many years since the ‘70s. Hence, the programs called ESL (English as a Second Language) or transitional bilingual programs which meant we’re going to teach in Spanish for a few years but then, we’re going to transition you out.

Chuy:  Describe the ESL program which was in effect, exclusively, probably beginning in the ‘70s?

Dr. G.:  Before the ‘70s, there were no bilingual education programs. It was what the literature called “sink or swim.”[3] Basically, everybody learned in English, y se acabó. Everyone was mainstreamed. Si hablabas español o hablabas inglés, todos estaban juntos.  So, of course, los niños que no hablaban inglés, well, they would fall behind academically. They would learn English but fall behind in content and skills.

Chuy:  So, we didn’t start seeing bilingual education until ’69, ’70?

Dr. G.:  Until the early to the mid ‘70s, when the federal law was rescinded which was in 1969.

Chuy:  Okay.

Dr. G.:  In 1968, it was the beginning of bilingual education—the Bilingual Education Act of 1968, through President Lyndon Johnson. And this may be something interesting for you to share in your writing: President Johnson is the only education president, up until today, we’ve ever had.

Chuy:  Is that right?

Dr. G.:  His background was in education.

Chuy:  He was a teacher in Cotulla, Texas.

Dr.:  He was a teacher. That’s right. So, he was a teacher in Cotulla and who was he teaching? Mexican children—Spanish-speaking children. And of course, the law was—les enseñas en inglés—not even ESL—nadie les ayuda. So, he would see how poorly the kids would do and so on. So, when he became President and had all these people lobbying and advocating for bilingual education, he remembered. He said, “We need to look at that because I remember that what we’re doing now is not the answer.  I don’t know the answer, but that is not the answer. I don’t know if what you have is the answer.”

There was no research on that area in this country although bilingual education had been around in other parts of the world. So, that’s where he got Senator Ralph Yarborough and all these folks to pass the Bilingual Education Act. And it was simply exploratory. “Here’s money. Start coming up with programs.”

So, all these people across the country started talking. Part of that act was to rescind the English-only laws to give people freedom to try different things. And that is why it was removed in 1969. What basically happened is that across the country or where there were large numbers of Spanish speakers, there were two major camps: the “only English” camp, basically saying, “What these kids need is English and as fast as possible and they’ll be fine. The sooner they get it the better. Using Spanish or other languages will only delay that.” The “dual language” camp was saying, “These kids need instruction in their native language and English—in both—all day, every day.

Chuy:  And prior to that, there was nothing, there was no model?

Dr. G.: Nada.

Chuy:  So, the advocates had some idea about what dual language was, but there were no existing models?

Dr. G.:  Right. It doesn’t mean that a few things weren’t going on in other places but just not on a large scale, for the masses. So, what ended up happening was a compromise: “What resulted was that we were going to promote through the Bilingual Education Act, what bilingual education meant, and it became a transitional bilingual education program.”

Chuy:  Which is the ESL?

Dr. G.:  No, that’s not the ESL. Transitional bilingual education means children will receive native language instruction but only up to three years while they learn English. Because the argument from the dual language group—which is now my position—was: If you don’t understand the lesson, then you don’t understand the content. If you didn’t understand the water cycle in science, you’re behind. If you did not understand how to add because you did not understand the language, you’re behind in addition. So that was what was going on. Kids were learning English but falling behind in the content and skills because they did not understand the lessons. So, if you teach them a lesson in a language they understand, there’s a better chance they can keep up with the curriculum.

Under the bilingual education program, they said, “We’ll use the native language for three years and at the same time they’re learning English. After the three years they should have enough English where they can continue in all-English instruction. Hence, the term “transitional bilingual education”. The thought was: We’re going to use native language and English and then transition you out of the native language into 100% English instruction.” That was kind of the dominant model in the ‘70s an d ‘80s.

Chuy:  But that was not ESL.

Dr. G.:  No, that was not ESL.

Chuy:  Did ESL precede that?

Dr. G.:  No, that (transitional bilingual education) was the dominant model, but there were other people—this was not the law—it was the recommended model. People could still experiment with a variation.

Chuy:  People were still experimenting?

Dr. G.:  In 1974 it became legal. In 1974, there was a lawsuit in California. You probably heard about it—Lau vs. Nichols[4].

Chuy:  Yeah.

Dr. G.: Lau vs. Nichols went up to the Supreme Court and the irony was that it wasn’t hispanos, it was chinos, who brought the claim. But, either way. The irony is that the parents were making the same case, “Wait a minute. My child doesn’t understand.”

So, the Supreme Court ruling, that famous line: “Teaching them in a language they don’t understand is the same thing as putting up a wall.” In other words, you are not letting them have access to the curriculum.

The ruling was telling the states, “You must provide a language program—”, and this is the key as to why it became so ambiguous, really. It’s, “You must provide a program that supports the students with language assistance—special language assistance.” They didn’t say native language instruction. The Court didn’t say ESL or special languages for them to participate in. That opened it up for it to be almost anything.

Chuy:  And the states followed suit. It’s pretty much up to the school districts to be creative.

Dr. G.:  Right. So, some states, depending on where they were, said, “We’re doing ESL and that’s it. That’s special language assistance and we meet the law.” Because, remember, it was federal funding.

Chuy:  So, at districts who were using these methods, describe what a child would experience with that model.

Dr. G.:  ESL?

Chuy:  Right. What would that experience be?

Dr. G.:  They felt in their own mind—I believe that no educator does anything maliciously—they just think it’s the right thing to do. They just don’t know.

Chuy:  Right.

Dr. G.:  But, in their minds it was the right thing for kids to learn English, but with support. ESL is nothing but 100% English instruction with very deliberate strategies which is called “sheltered instruction”. It means, “I am not just going to give you instruction, I’m going to use visuals.” So, ESL is “comprehensible input”. What we are using is comprehensible because we are using gestures and pointing and pictures, examples and all of that. That’s all it is. It’s “hands-on” versus lecturing.

Chuy:  My wife, who was a teacher in first, second and third back in the ‘70s, tells me they had a teacher, an Anglo teacher, who was teaching the kids something in Spanish. So, they would send the kids who were having problems to this special teacher to provide some kind of support.

Dr. G.:  See, ESL turned out to be two types of ESL programs. One was ESL Pull-out, and another was ESL Content-Based. ESL Pull-out is the most common and is still going on in Texas today and in many states. What that means is, say that I have, twenty Spanish-speaking kids in a class, first, third grade, whatever. They are going to be mixed with the regular education English-speaking kids. They are all mixed and they are getting instruction from the mainstream teacher—the regular education teacher—their science, their math, and social studies, all in English, but with no ESL strategies. But when it comes to language arts, they are sent to the ESL teacher. The ESL teacher’s job is to help them learn English as a Second Language.

The problem with that model is that it is so ineffective, and the research has totally demonstrated that it’s the worst thing you can do. It is almost 1950s sink or swim model because the kids are mainstreamed. They are falling behind in math, in science and in social studies and they are learning English (language arts) here.

The next best thing to ESL Pull-Out is Content-Based ESL. What that means is that the teacher teaching all the subjects is ESL-Certified so that he/she will make everything a little bit more comprehensible and the kids have a chance to learn a little bit more. And, the kids would not be mixed with English-speaking kids. They would be homogenously mixed in the classroom. So, there would be twenty Spanish-speakers learning all subjects with an ESL-Certified teacher and they do not get pulled out. It is a little bit more effective.

Chuy:  So, it’s more effective than Pull-out.

Dr. G.:  Pull-out is so ineffective, this has been witnessed and evidenced for so many years.

Chuy:  We’re still using that?

Dr. G.:  Still using it on some places. In other places, it’s still very common. But, let me explain the Texas law. Some years ago, a former director of NABE[5] said, “ESL Pull-Out is so ineffective, and this so well-documented that continuing to use ESL-Pullout is tantamount to child abuse.” That was his statement.

Chuy:  And that’s basically true.

Dr. G.:  And basically, these kids are going to fail.

Chuy:  True.

Dr. G.:  You know that. It’s been evidenced everywhere. But, that’s what a school has been doing. That’s the practice they have had and that’s just what they do. So, that’s the worst thing we can do. Texas, though—as much as we need to grow and get better—it is one of the strongest bilingual states. And, let me tell you why. In 1978, after all the debate and discussion where everyone had to come up with their brand of action to address these kids, some states said, “ESL y ya.

Chuy:  This plan was being submitted to the U.S. Department of Education?

Dr. G.:  Yes, because the Office of Civil Rights was overseeing all this, so you needed to comply. And remember, it was all for funding because Title VII was also part of the 1968 law. Nineteen sixty-eight was a huge landmark year because that’s what brought in Title VII. Title VII was the title, back then, that was going to begin to provide federal support for educating non-English speaking children. Back then, they referred to the students as “LEP” kids.

Chuy:  Limited English Proficient.

Dr. G.:  Right. So, you didn’t get a dollar if you didn’t have a plan. ESL was enough to meet that criteria. In Texas—and I credit a lot of the leadership and the legislators because it was all debated up there—Texas came up with probably one of the strongest plans. What Texas said—and it’s still there today—this is the rule, it is in state law—“If a district has twenty or more students that speak the same language other than English at any one grade level—that’s the rule and if the district meets that requirement—it must provide them with a bilingual education program.”

Now, the sad part is what kind of bilingual education program was left open. It could be dual language, or it could be Early-Exit Transitional Bilingual Education.

Chuy:  This is ’74 that you’re talking about?

Dr. G.:  This was ’77, ’78. Something like that. If you do not meet the twenty (non-English speakers) and you have very few Spanish-speakers in your district—the Valley (Rio Grande Valley) meets the rule everywhere, but elsewhere, if you don’t meet the twenty, then you give them ESL. That’s the Texas law. And for secondary students, you give them ESL. For secondary, recent immigrants, newcomers, 6th to 12th grade, you must provide an ESL program. So, almost every district meets the rule in South Texas and in many parts of the state, now. There are very few districts that do not meet the Twenty-Rule now. But that is still in place right now.

As a matter of fact, I just came back from Fredericksburg. The way my program has evolved is all word-of-mouth. So, they called me from Fredericksburg. Y me enseña: “Yes, we’re going to start in one school. We have so many kids.”

So, I asked, “Are all those your Spanish-speaking kids?

“No, there’s more. We have a bunch of ESL kids in elementary.”

I said, “What do you mean, you have a bunch of ESL kids?”

“Yeah, we have these in the bilingual program and then we have these who are ESL.”

“Okay,” I said, “Share more information with me. Why are they ESL kids?”

“Well, because of the Home Language Survey. The students take an English assessment. If they score a little higher, they are considered English speakers and get ESL and if they score a little lower they are considered Spanish speakers and they get bilingual.”

I said, “No, you’re violating state law.”

“What?!”

These are districts that have been doing this for twenty years and nobody told them anything. Where’s TEA? Nadie sabe. They’ve been violating the law.

“You’re out of compliance.”

We were on the phone and they wanted to learn. They were very open.

She said, “Oh, my gosh! Are you serious? Where is this information? I’m right here on my computer. I just opened Chapter 89[6]. Oh, my gosh. You are correct.”

“It’s not an either/or”, I told her. “You can’t give them this or that. You meet the Twenty-Rule.”

Chuy:  You must.

Dr. G.:  I said, “You must give them a bilingual education program.”

I started them with dual language.

Chuy:  You got another client.

Dr. G.:  They had started a bilingual program, but they wanted to change it to something stronger. But they didn’t think these kids were supposed to be in there.

Chuy:  Right.

Dr. G.:  So, now all the kids are engaged in dual language. But how many kids had they hurt?

Chuy:  I understand ESL now. So, is ’78 the first time that the legislation or the administrative programs provided for dual language?

Dr. G.:  No.

Chuy:  When does that come into play?

Dr. G.:  Back then, the law required bilingual education, but it did not define it. It just said kids should receive instruction in their native language and English. That’s it.

Chuy:  Whatever that means.

Dr. G.:  What percentage was up to you. TEA took the statute. Of course, TEA, the Commissioner Rules, and the Texas Administrative Code, TEA interprets all that. To address this misinterpretation by TEA, several years ago, we formed a group of university professors to try and fix all this. In the interpretation, TEA interpreted all that as defining the bilingual education program as a three-year program simply because federal funds were provided for up to three years.

Chuy:  Okay.

Dr. G.:  See, TEA made it so, even though the law didn’t say that. The law does not say students should receive a transition. It just says a bilingual education program. As a matter of fact, it does say they should learn in their native language and English throughout elementary school. It says that, in the law.

They took that and said, “We have to write the guidelines.” That’s what the districts follow. They don’t look at the law, they look at the Commissioner’s Rules, or Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 89.  When they wrote the guidelines way back in the ‘80s, they interpreted, “But, we’re only being funded—based on federal funds available—for three years. The state provides bilingual funds and basic ed funds. We’re getting federal funds for three years, so, shouldn’t that (three years) be enough for the kids now to transition to English? So, that then, became the TEA guidelines for transition, to exit the kids from the program. TEA came up with criteria on when a student should exit from the bilingual program to an all-English instruction program. And, that criteria, has actually gotten worse over the years, all based on their interpretation. It used to be that they would not exit earlier than third grade. They have to achieve at 40%[7],  I think, on the state (now the STAAR) exam in English. Later on, they can be open to any assessment where they show that they are doing well, and they accept it as the kids then being ready to exit the program. Then, they brought the criteria down to first grade. They can now exit by the end of first grade. That’s where we are today.

So, of course, in the end, the results for transitional bilingual education in Texas were not very good. These programs were not good. So, bilingual ed got a bad rap. In 1999 or 2000—and I don’t know who started it—I became involved with a group of university professors from UTSA reviewing the poorly written TEA guidelines, with the goal of changing them to reflect the actual law.  We did not get anywhere with this at TEA.  But, in 1997, a bill was introduced for dual language instruction. Now, they were thinking—the bill introduction by a legislator was intended for the English group, que aprendan dos idiomas. Pero estos necesitan ayuda para aprender inglés. Pero estos ya saben inglés. So, let’s add another language. And, so, of course, I’m sure, Anglos, or whatever thought, “Hey, they have dual language in California.”

So, they introduced Senate Bill 471. And in the introduction of the bill, the good thing is, it didn’t say it’s just for the native English-speakers. It says for all students because some legislators are “bilingual-friendly”, if you will. Latino-supportive Representatives and Senators said, “Hey, wait a minute, it can’t just be for that group. Everybody can learn in two languages. Everybody should be included. That bill was called Senate Bill 471[8]. It was unanimously passed by the House and Senate. They have a whole document with all these reasons: You learn more cognitively, world marketability…todos los whys.

Chuy:  All the right things.

Dr. G.:  Everybody signed on. It went into effect and that is part of our state law: dual language programming. Again, it doesn’t say who. It says this is an optional program. There should be parent permission. That was awesome.

Chuy:  We have that in place right now?

Dr. G.:  We have it right now. And soon it became time to develop the dual language guidelines. So, I then became a big part of that at that time.

Chuy:  And where were you at that time?

Dr. G.:  I had just started all of this because my dual language program started in 1996.

Chuy:  PSJA?

Dr. G.:  PSJA. That was my first job with a district. I was at the University.

Chuy:  Okay. And, so, you were teaching at the University? Were you working on your own?

Dr. G.:  On my own.

Chuy:  You had already set up a private effort?

Dr. G.:  Well, yes and no.

Chuy:  You were in transition.

Dr. G:  I had written a proposal. It was for a U.S. Department of Education grant. That’s where it all got started, really. I’m a professor. I’d started my career. That was my second year as Assistant Professor at UTPA (University of Texas at Pan American,  Edinburg, Texas).

Chuy:  Oh, wow.

Dr. G.:  And there was a call for proposals, for grants, to start dual language programs in the country. This is during President Clinton’s second administration. I give the Clinton Administration a lot of credit because his administration—if you remember Richard Riley, Commissioner of Education—was really big on this idea that we needed our people to graduate bilingual/bicultural/multilingual and all of that. So, they dedicated millions for this purpose. If you wrote a proposal having to do with dual language, you were going to pretty much get it funded.

Chuy:  The proposals were being prepared by whom? Institutions?

Dr. G.:  School districts and universities, but the school district had to be the fiscal agent. But, it could be in collaboration with universities. I remember reading about it and being so excited because I’d read about dual language through my doctoral program. I thought, “Oh, that would be great for the RGV.”

My thinking was, “Why are we talking about more English, more Spanish? Why aren’t we talking about both. Which are what bilingual education pioneers were talking about forty years ago (consider Dr. Severo Gomez and Al Ramirez, of Region One Education Service District). But the political atmosphere was not there to be able to entertain that. So, I wrote the proposal and that’s where I conceptualized the model, in this proposal with PSJA, and, actually, with Connie Guerra. That’s where I met Connie Guerra. The person who came to talk to me—we were having a meeting with the College of Education with some school district leaders and I asked several ISDs about their interest in participating in this DOE proposal—Dr. Marla Guerra[9] was the one who said, “Dr. Gomez, we’re interested.” I believe she was the Coordinator of Elementary Programs or something similar at PSJA at the time. We had a meeting and she brought Connie Guerra, Bilingual Director and that’s when I first met her. So, we had our discussions and the proposal was created and funded. Five million dollars across five years. We started dual language at PSJA.

Chuy:  What grade levels?

Dr. G.:  It started at pre-k, k in two schools.

Chuy:  Two schools?

Dr. G:  Two schools. The following year, I wrote another proposal for Brownsville and for Mercedes and got funded, as well. So, we got those going.

And my perspective was, “I’m working. That’s my job as a professor, not just teach my students in classes but, also, to impact my community.”

So, that’s what I’ve always believed. So, that’s all I thought was going to happen.  I didn’t think it was going to go anywhere. “I’m just working and maybe, hopefully, they’ll change their programs to do something better and make a difference for kids.”

Those two schools (at PSJA), and to some extent Mercedes and Brownsville, but definitely the ones at PSJA started getting a lot of publicity. People started coming and visiting and by third, fourth grade, the kids were doing so well. Everyone was asking, “What are you using?”

Pretty soon, I started a dual language program in Rio Grande City and in Monte Alto.

Chuy:  Generally, I take it the program was succeeding. And why was it succeeding? What was different about it?

Dr. G.:  It was succeeding because Number 1: Nobody knew about it in the Valley. There were dual language programs in the country in 1997, but there were few. Let’s say two or three hundred programs in the whole country. And I knew where they were. There was a directory of programs across the country and I studied all that before I wrote the proposal. The concepts had already been proven. There were dual language programs. The first one was in 1962, in Florida, in Coral Way. That was the first program, los Cubanos did it because they said, “Estos niños están perdiendo el español. Hay que aprender los dos idiomas.” Eran de dinero.  So, they started dual language together with English speakers. But, back then, the model was ten native-English-speakers—White Anglo kids—and ten Spanish-speakers. Put them together. That was like very selective, if you will.

En California también empezaron muchos más. They had a lot of that happen. They called it Two-Way Immersion. They bring together the two groups.

The second dual language program was the Oyster Dual Immersion Program in Washington, D. C.  The programs were very selective. You take the kids who are the cream of the crop and you know things are going to go well with both groups.

But, when I started here in the Valley, aquí la mayoría no son two-way. La mayoría son español. And even the kids who speak English, la mayoría son hispanos. So, it’s a little bit different. I actually credit myself to be the first one to begin what is today called, officially called in the literature, “One-Way Dual Language”, which means you don’t have the two separate language groups. The majority of the kids speak the same language and they’re going to learn in two languages with the same goal. And that’s what was started here.

Chuy:  So, did you begin with One-Way, from Day 1?

Dr. G.:  One-Way from Day 1.

Chuy:  So, before we go into that, when did the other models come in? The 90/10…

Dr. G.:  Those models…some were already in place, mostly in California.

Chuy:  But not well-known?

Dr. G.:  No. When I looked at that, I looked at the different models. I looked at 90/10s, 50/50s. I looked at models that divided the two languages by subject.

Chuy:  Who were the primary proponents at that time? Do you remember?

Dr. G.:  The primary proponents at that time were from California. Rosa Molina. The CALP (Cognitive Academic Language Proficiency?)[10] were very big in D. C. But they were all talking from the two-way perspective and they were coming from the native-English speaker’s side.

Chuy:  Were they relying on Collier?

Dr. G.:  That came later.

Chuy:  Oh, later?

Dr. G.:  Thomas and Collier didn’t come until 2002. But, the difference is this. My drive was about the Spanish-speaking children learning in two languages to increase academic achievement and with the goal of biliteracy.

Chuy:  This population.

Dr. G.:  Their drive was about the Anglo kid teamed up with Spanish-speaking kids so that the Anglo kids became bilingual and biliterate.

Chuy:  Exactly. I see that now.

Dr. G.:  The English group was driving all that.

Chuy:  And that is kind of implied, if you look at it. Right?

Dr. G.:  Right. That really is. That’s why when people would read research, primarily about two-way programs, I would get, “Dr. Gómez, but that’s not what we’re learning.”

“No, but that’s not the same group. We don’t have that population.”

So, here’s what happened. We have to always keep that in perspective because their emphasis has been to work with affluent White children and then, bring in a few strong mexicanos para que les ayuden, for Spanish language support. And they benefit too. But, they’re not going to bring in weak Spanish-speaking kids into the program. They’re going to bring strong Spanish-speaking kids into the program. That’s the kind of stuff that was going on in California. There was a lot of that going on in California, up until today. Bilingual educators like myself are just beginning to understand what one-way dual language means because what the previous experts have done and studied is two-way. That’s why they lost bilingual ed with Proposition 227 back in 1998, because they had poor bilingual programs just like we did. Less than 10% of Spanish-speaking children in California were served through quality late-exit transitional bilingual programs (also referred to as developmental BE programs), most were in ESL or Early-Exit TBE. But, by 1998, we were starting to grow stronger bilingual programs in Texas. We had more late-exit transitional programs. A lot more; and dual language programs started to come up.

When Proposition 227 passed in California and bilingual education was removed, it was a wake-up call for everybody. And they said, “Look bilingual educators, we have to make sure that we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot. We are promoting bilingual education, but in practice, it’s very poorly done. So, we have very poor results. Our results are being used against us.”

Chuy:  Right.

Dr. G.:  So, we can’t just let people implement all these poor programs because that’s what happened over there. I don’t know if you know the story, but, in California, Ron Unz[11], business man, got involved. He basically used the poor bilingual programs and very bad data for hispanos in middle school and high school and to some degree in elementary school, to show that bilingual education did not work.

Chuy:  And did bilingual education work in California?

Dr. G.:  Well, what didn’t work was poor bilingual education. That’s where people don’t get it. There are different types of bilingual education.

Chuy:  Is that still true today?

Dr. G.:  That’s still true today. In some respects, quite a bit. More than we think. I didn’t realize all of this before. Now, I can see more of that. I felt we needed to do something better than what we were doing here with bilingual education. I knew we were not doing well in the Rio Grande Valley. So, when dual language instruction got started, the results started coming out. The kids were academically and linguistically stronger, and I started saying, Dual language works for two reasons. Number one: We use the native language of the child, not for one, two or three years but for at least five to seven years, and Number two: dual language programs use instruction considered “best practices”, similar to the type of instruction used in gifted and talented classrooms.

Chuy:  To be proficient? Or why?

Dr. G.:  No less than 50% of the time. Not so much to be proficient, but to get access to the curriculum on level. In other words, in order to get kids on level, you have to use the language they understand. Viene el niño al kinder y viene atrasado porque vienen de lugares en donde no están estimulados. They don’t have a lot of oral language or a lot of experiences. So, we use the native language and at the same time English; we use both. But, because we use the native language, we can get them on grade level—like reading on level, writing on level—by the end of   first grade. Now, these kids are reading and writing on level and the skill of reading and the skill of writing transfers to another language because knowledge and skills are not tied to any language. They are universal concepts, whether you learn them in French, Spanish, Japanese, it doesn’t matter. How to add, how to subtract—you learn this—and you do so at the level you should learn it. You know how to read and write at first grade level. Once we have students on grade level in their first language and we’re developing their second language, now they’re transferring the reading skills from Spanish to English. Now, they’re reading on level in English, as well as in Spanish, so they’re reading on grade level in both languages.

Chuy:  What is the transfer of reading skills. What does that mean?

Dr. G.:  Transfer is the cueing system. When we read, first of all, basic stuff, we read from left to right. That’s a skill.

Chuy:  Para comenzar.

Dr. G.:  I know I start left to right. Then, how to sound out words. What is called decoding. That’s a skill that transfers to another language.

Chuy:  Applies to both languages.

Dr. G.:  Yeah, applies to both languages. But, if you did not learn it, and you can’t read very well, that’s what you’re bringing over to English: weak skills.

The cueing system is how the reader takes the print and processes it in his mind to make sense of it in terms of language. He sees the word cow, c-o-w. His brain makes an image of a cow. Aunque aprendiste tú, “vaca”, en español, but you know what it is in English the minute you read it. It is not so much on pronunciation as it is in meaning. You are getting meaning out of what you are reading. So, all of that, reading is a skill. We only learn to read one time. We don’t learn to read again. Por eso, esos niños que vienen de México bien preparados, bien educados ya saben leer. They get here in third or fourth grade and we don’t have to teach them to read again. They learn English, and the minute they develop the language, they apply the rules and they are reading in Spanish and they’re reading in English. That’s what they’re doing, transferring skills. In general, parents do not understand this, y por eso muchos padres dicen, “Yo quiero que aprenda inglés.”  Well, yes, but if he only learns English, he’ll get behind in the content areas, knowledge and skills. He has to learn both the content and the English language. Dual language provides that and that’s why the key to academic success is using the native language and English.

I always like to tell people, it’s not a mystery or a secret. Why are the native-English speaking kids out-performing Spanish-speaking kids? They are learning in their native language and they are being tested in their native language. The system is designed for them.

Chuy:  It’s not a fair playing field at all.

Dr. G.:  That’s right. So, we equalize the playing field. That’s exactly what we do. We say, “Okay, then we have to do the same thing.”

Chuy:  At what point does it become equal for the English speaker?  Let me tell you what I mean. When I went to school, I don’t recall, but I went to kindergarten at the Baptist Church. In public school, we were all segregated at PSJA. We went to segregated schools until the 6th grade. So, all of a sudden, you show up at the 6th grade and it’s the first time you meet an Anglo and you didn’t even know what an Anglo was. It’s the first time you’re in an integrated classroom. I don’t recall that I did not feel competent. But, I do recall that my English-speaking skills were weak. And I also recall that those of us who could do a little better in English were kept closer to the Anglo kids and everybody was kind of delegated down the hall to the worst groups.

Dr. G.:  Yeah, the low group kind of thing.

Chuy:  So, in that situation, are we saying that kids like me, back then, everything that was acquired was acquired in English? Back then, it would have to have been. Five years of that. So, how would dual language have affected those kids from that generation, as you advocate?

Dr. G.:  That’s the thing. You are one of the fortunate ones and so am I. That’s what people don’t get. In other words, English only, mainstream, not everybody fails but the majority failed.

Chuy:  The vast majority failed.

Dr. G.:  The vast majority did—50, 60, 80%. In the 1950s, and 60s, the graduation rate, that you graduated high school with your diploma, was 11% with an 89% drop-out rate. That was the graduation rate at the time for hispanos in the 50s and early 60s—for Spanish speaking people going into American schools—which were exclusively all English. That’s why we needed bilingual education. It was bad. That doesn’t mean those kids didn’t speak English. They all spoke English. It’s not about language. We can all learn a language. It’s not about learning English or Spanish. It’s about getting educated, about learning academic content and skills on grade level and getting on grade level and keeping students at grade level. That’s when the first language comes in.

Chuy:  But in those years, the Hispanic kids who did graduate, what was the difference between those that graduated and those who did not?

Dr. G.:  The difference is everything else. Everything else except what was happening at school, which is what you had, and I had, and many people like us had.

Chuy:  Parents, money, resources?

Dr. G.:  Yeah, parental support, resources, your own ambition. We’re all different. Some kids are more focused. Everybody is different. All those factors are still there. All that said, there are affluent kids who fail in school.

Chuy:  Sure.

Dr. G.:  So, all the factors are still there. But, the common factor, the one that needs to be there, happens at school and really supports what you are doing. So, you have a lot of factors against you. You have a lot of negatives. You yourself are not ambitious. You don’t have parents who really care that much. They’re working or have two or three jobs. All of that—divorce, single parent. You don’t have a computer or access to one. All of those are factors. Then you get to school. You mentioned Drs. Thomas and Collier. There is a study by Dr. Virginia Collier that you might want to look up in terms of this study. They’ve done a lot of stuff. And they are excellent, by the way. I know them personally. She looked up the impact of poverty on education. And what she found is this: The impact of poverty on remedial educational schools versus enrichment schools—which is early-exit—ESL—versus dual language instruction. She found that poverty is a factor. But when these kids come into these remedial English-focused schools, ESL/early-exit, you can attribute the success or failure of this child due to poverty at about 18%. And there are other factors in those schools. When these same kids go to the dual language schools, the impact of poverty drops to 5 to 7 percent.

Chuy:  So, there’s a significance.

Dr. G.:  Oh, yeah. You have a bad home situation. Then you go into a bad school situation. Versus you have a bad home situation and you go to a very positive, engaging, enriching school situation. This can make up for some of that. And that’s really what we see.

Chuy:  That’s important and I don’t think that’s probably said enough.

Dr. G.:  Right. I tell all my teachers, “We know, because of poverty—whether in English or Spanish—our kids come to us underdeveloped. They don’t come with what pre-kinder and kinder expects them to bring. So, we know that, right?”

“Yes, yes,” they agree.

“Then, what are you doing about it? What are you doing to address that?  If you’re doing the same, traditional thing, you’re not addressing the problem. If we know that, then we need to look at doing something different in order to, somehow compensate, for some of those factors. That’s part of what this program has.

Chuy:  I noticed that in your original material, you somewhat modified it at some point.

Dr. G.:  Yes, over the years, I’ve added to it and changed it. The original model was called Two-Way Partial Immersion Curriculum Model. It’s very similar today although I’ve added to it over the years. When I started the program and started working with PSJA and all these people, after about four or five years, it started growing. I needed help because I was working and doing training and I had some of my colleagues go in and do training. It started getting bigger and that’s when Richard was up at Texas Tech. And I said, “Hey, we should work together because it’s starting to grow, and it could be an opportunity to work together.” I was not thinking to the extent it is now.

Chuy:  Richard is your brother.

Dr. G.:  Richard was my brother. We both completed our doctorates in 1994 from Texas A & M. And he went up to Texas Tech and I went to Pan Am and we started our careers. So, this was really growing and by 1999, 2000, we started working together and he would fly down. Other districts started calling us from the Dallas area. We’d meet, and we’d work together so people started calling it the Gomez and Gomez Program, the Gomez Brothers. We’d provide a three-day training as an initial training and on-going support. So, I thought, I’ll rename it and actually call it that. That distinguishes this program from any other dual language program. That’s why they know exactly what you’re talking about when they hear Gomez and Gomez Program. So, since 2001, I started calling it Gomez and Gomez, 50/50 Language Immersion Program.

In 2004 was when I had to formalize this process because I had other people doing private training here and there, but as individuals. I was coordinating the efforts talking and contracting with the districts. The district would pay me, and I would turn around and pay them. That’s when I formed The Dual Language Training Institute in 2004 and I had to get an EIN number and all that. And now they contract with the company. Ever since then, it’s been over 23 years. They pay the company and then I pay the consultant.

Chuy:  You told us that your model was geared toward school districts like those we have in South Texas—those types of populations. Is that what you find throughout other parts of the state?

Dr. G.:  Nope. As a matter of fact, this is weird. This is the only—and maybe others are beginning to see this—but this is the only program that targets this group, targets this population.

Most other dual language people—and I’m referring to professors who are engaged in dual language—many educators are still in the two-way mentality. Everything else is bilingual ed. And my message at every conference and everywhere I go—and this is another reason why it has exploded—my message is, “Dual Language is bilingual education. This is what bilingual education should be, should have been from the very beginning. This is a bilingual education program.”

When Richard and I went to Dallas in 2006, they called me and said, “Dr. Gomez, we have a committee. We’ve been looking at dual language and we want to start a dual language program and we want to use your program. Can you come and present to us? We want to start six two-way schools.”

That is where everybody was at. They did not have the concept of one-way. By then, there were maybe fifteen districts using it.

So, I said, “Sure, we can help you, Sir.”

Richard and I went up in March. We met with the superintendent, assistant superintendent, the area superintendents, the bilingual department people and all of that.

We said, “We can start two-way programs, but do you know what one-way means?”

“What is that?” they asked.

So, I started explaining it and I told them, “You could, literally, from one year to the next—and they had all kinds of bilingual programs–start serving your Spanish-speaking kids, in the entire district, with dual language this coming year.

After a lot of conversation for two days, the afternoon of the second day before we left, we had our summary meeting. Dr. Michael Hinojosa—awesome leader—that guy knew the program.

We met, and he said, “Are you two ready to train a thousand teachers?”

And we were about to fall off the chair.  I said, “What do you mean?”

He said, “We’ve come to a decision. We are going to start one-way dual language district-wide.”

So now they understood what it meant. One hundred forty-three schools started one-way, district-wide.

“We’re going to do it district-wide, pre-kinder through first grade. We’re going to start the first three years and start moving them up. And six schools of the one hundred forty-three will have two-way classes to bring in native-English speakers.”

We were like, “Wow.”

Honestly, we thought we were going to convince them to go for 20 or 30 schools and then add 20 and 20 and 20, and so on.

But his response—I’m never going to forget it—was, “We know this is what’s best for these kids. How can any of us tell a parent, “This is what’s best for your child, but he’s not going to get this because it’ll be two years before we get to your school. So, he’s going to get to third grade and he’s going to get the other program. It’s not going to be easy. We’re going to hit a lot of bumps. But we’re all moving in the right direction.”

Dr. G.: That, for me, was so heart-wrenching. But, we had a Latino superintendent that understands and is speaking to all kids. That started in 2006.

Chuy:  Let me ask you this. On the 90/10 in Dallas, were those schools that were similar to the Valley population?

Dr. G.:  No. The 90/10s were driven by the White group because here is the issue. The Spanish-speaking kids have an advantage over English-speaking kids when it comes to learning a second language, in this case, English. Why? It’s called America. I’m a Spanish-speaking child, but I live in America—where English is prevalent—and as I get older, music, games, TV, are part of growing up.

Dr. G.: (Dallas 90/10) So, then the 90/10s were very popular in California and some places in North Texas. The English-speaking kids have a disadvantage because they are also in America. So, their only opportunity for Spanish (their second language) is in school. Hence, they have to increase the amount of Spanish immersion. So, they said, “Okay, let’s do 90% Spanish for everyone, para todos.” So that the English-speaking kids get a lot of Spanish up front in pre-kinder or kinder and Grades 1 and 2. Then we move on to the 80/20 model and then we end up with 50/50 by third or fourth grade. It’s all about that group. Now, the Spanish-speaking kids, on the other hand, would benefit too because 90% is it’s in Spanish.

Chuy:  But, the Spanish-speaking kids are not the objective.

Dr. G.:  Right. And their English is there but it is a little slower.

Chuy:  And then, they don’t have the frequency of the English.

Dr. G.:  So, that is where 90/10 models come from.

Chuy:  Interesting.

Dr. G.:  Yes. And I know it’s good for everybody. Both groups would be fine with either program if everything is in place. But, a 90/10 model would not work even with English-speaking children if those kids are weak in their L1, (English) in their first language. In other words, if you’re talking about White children of poverty (English-speaking) children, that’s not a good model because they are not strong in their first language (English), so you can’t just immerse them 90% of the day in Spanish when their English—their own language—is so weak.

Chuy:  It doesn’t work.

Dr. G.:  So, they are better off in a 50/50 model where you strengthen their first language and add the second.

Chuy:  Then, if an English-speaking child is not proficient in his first language, he is not ready to be in a 90% immersion model in the second language. So, conversely, when you have a Mexican American here who is not proficient in his first language, then he has no business in a 90% immersion English program. It applies across the board. Interesting.

Dr. G.:  That’s right. That’s why ESL programs are so bad. Because the kids struggle when 100% is in English. So, this program should be completely eliminated and not an option for Spanish speakers.

Chuy:  So, we go back to Dallas.

Dr. G.:  Yeah, they’ve been at it for a long time. Now, they’re one of the leaders of large urban school districts that has basically found the answer for their Spanish ELL population. You’re talking about sixty thousand kids that are affected.

Chuy:  So, did they ever do 90/10?

Dr. G.:  No, no. They’re doing this program.

Chuy:  So, you convinced them to do the 50/50?

Dr. G.:  Oh, yeah. They’re using the Gomez and Gomez Program in one hundred fifty-three schools through fifth grade. And then, they’re using my secondary dual language program. I have a secondary dual language model that PSJA is using. Dallas is using the secondary model, I believe, in three middle schools. They are moving the program up. But, in all these cases, the results are the best they’ve ever seen. I mean, Dallas was notorious for very poor achievement for this population and it’s because they had a very poor bilingual programs and ESL. They had ESL and very early exit, very limited Spanish instruction. Now, they’re one of the leaders in the country. People from big districts come visit Dallas and ask, “What are you guys doing?” These big districts like Houston and other places visit Dallas.

Chuy:  So, this is kindergarten through…?

Dr. G.:  Well, elementary is pre-kindergarten or kindergarten through 5th grade.

Chuy:  Okay.

Dr. G.:  Secondary is 6th grade is on up through high school.

Chuy:  So, in Dallas, they have the program 1st grade through the 5th grade, primarily?

Dr. G.:  Dallas has pre-k through 5th in all 153 elementary schools. And then, they have, I believe, 3 middle schools that they are sort of piloting the dual language at the secondary level. And they have taken a few feeders, these 4, 5 elementary schools feed these 3 middle schools. But, Dallas is the largest dual language program in the country at the elementary level. That’s their program and it’s in policy. That’s another thing I help people do. I help them get their program formally written into district policy because administrators change. Al rato se vá Michael Hinojosa, which he did, después que estaba el programa bien fuerte. All the kids were in 4th grade and results were happening. Everybody was, “Wow, it’s working.”

Y se vá Michael Hinojosa and takes a position in Atlanta schools. Entra un new superintendent, ESL guy, de Ohio, no sé de dónde vino. No sabía nada de ésto.  “What’s all this Spanish?” He wanted to roll everything back.

Chuy:  Oh, my goodness.

Dr. G.:  Pero el Board le paró todo el borlote. Why?  It’s in district policy.

Chuy:  The Board understood.

Dr. G.:  Then they said, “Wait a minute, Dr. Miles. First of all, why would we want to change this? Is it not working? According to the reports, the kids are doing well. The program is working.” So, there was a little discussion between the superintendent and the board until they got him to see it their way.

Chuy:  Well, let me ask you this. In terms of assessment, are they doing anything other than or in addition to standard state assessment?

Dr. G.:  The STAAR test? It’s like everybody else. They all have their own formative assessments that they do, and which the kids get, but there is no one assessment that everybody uses other than the state assessment. They do formative assessments year to year, pre-tests, post-tests, those kinds of things. Some of it may be at the campus level and some of it may be at the district level. But, most of it is at campus level because district level is what the state requires. There are some assessments that the state requires especially for the EL (English-Learner) kids.

Chuy:  So, in the schools where you have up to the 5th grade (elementary schools), pre-kinder through the 5th grade, and I’ve looked at your model, you start off with strong Spanish, diminishing and English picking up by the end of the 5th year?

Dr. G.:  No, I start with strong Spanish and English—strong Spanish and some English. By 2nd grade, it’s equal, 50% English instruction and 50% Spanish instruction. And that continues through 5th grade.

Chuy:  Okay. So, in connection with that, say, 2nd grade, 50/50, there are TEKS[12] standards in English. Are there similar TEKS standards for Spanish?

Dr. G.:  Yes. Yeah.

Chuy:  Same material?

Dr. G.: Yes Yeah. Texas is…Y esa fue otra batalla de years ago. We have the TEKS in Spanish pre-k through 5th grade, for every subject depending on what language you’re using. We have state assessments, the STAAR test now, in English and in Spanish that is equally valid, in 3rd, 4th and 5th. That was a huge battle because the state, years ago, pues todo en inglés. It was, “Well, wait a minute. It’s too early to test a third grader in his second language. We fought for the Spanish TAAS and TAKS, the state tests back then. Finally, through efforts of a lot of people, it was developed. In the beginning, it was used mostly as a formative, and not the actual, equivalent test. Eventually, they became equally valid. Now, they’ve been equally valid—it’s a given. We changed the norm. Now, anything that is developed, as far as the state test, is available in English and Spanish throughout elementary, 3rd, 4th and 5th.

Chuy:  This is something I was asking one of the administrators. Once the child finishes the 5th grade and the child has been through the 50/50 program, at what level of…I forget what the standard is. There’s a chart or a paradigm that has four levels in terms of evaluation…the highest achievement…

Dr. G.: Yes Yeah, the “Approaches,” “Meets,” and “Masters,” for STAAR.

Chuy:  Yes Yeah, The “Masters.” She’s a curriculum person so I asked, “Where are we weak? Where do you think we need improvement?”

And she said, “Well, unless the child is at the highest mastery level, there is very little likelihood that the child is going to complete the rest of the seven grades.”

Dr. G.:  Of the seven grades. Right.

Chuy:  Yeah. She said, “They’re not going to be there.” All these others over here rated at less than mastery, are going to have weak skills.” Presumably, the reason for that is that they need to continue with more Spanish or dual language.

Dr. G.:  Right. That’s ideal to continue with.

Chuy:  Why is that? Why do we see that? Why do we see that a kid will not master it in the 5th year?

Dr. G.:  Because, and that’s what’s Thomas and Collier’s work shows. See, what Thomas and Collier’s work shows, and what she told you is not totally accurate. I don’t know if you know the number of subjects that Thomas and Collier studied—two hundred and ten thousand kids. That is a huge study.

What their study shows is dual language, one way or two way, well-implemented, used to educate these kids through 5th grade. We’re talking about the Spanish-speaking child, who even though after 5th grade, they are in English only, mainstreamed in the regular program. The gap is not fully closed by the end of 5th grade. The gap fully closes by the end of 6th or 7th grade. But the learning is there. The application or the transferring of the final level of impact in English to be seen in an English test continues. See, so even though these kids may not show mastery in 5th grade, they will show mastery at the next level. They’re going to get there.

Chuy:  They’re on their way.

Dr. G.:  And that’s what she needs to understand. See, that is the key. Now, if they continue dual language, then, you almost ensure that they get there.

Chuy:  And, that’s going back to my personal education. And, I tell my family members when we sit down, and we argue. I say, “What’s happening is that when we learned Spanish–whatever Spanish we learned because we were reading Spanish at the age of four and five and I was reading the newspaper to my dad—I say, “We never had any formal Spanish. Had we had that education in Spanish, I wouldn’t have to be learning Spanish at the age of 65.” So, when you stop this instruction abruptly, then the child is going to take longer.

Dr. G.:  He continues to grow but he doesn’t continue to learn at a higher level in Spanish. But, he continues to grow his academic skills in English. He continues in all English, so he continues to grow his proficiency, but it will be in English. He’ll stop developing his Spanish if he doesn’t continue in middle school. Let’s say you have a kid who is doing great in 5th grade and he is going to continue to achieve. And when we say, “Close the gap”, we mean he is going to perform at the level of the affluent native English-speaker.

Chuy:  That’s what you mean by “closing the gap”.

Dr. G.:  He’s going to perform at their level in English.

Chuy:  By…?

Dr. G.:  Based on an assessment, by 6th or 7th grade. That’s when he’ll show you he’s closed the gap.

Chuy:  Okay. Assuming the fidelity and so forth?

Dr. G:  Right. Assuming that the program is well-implemented in the elementary grades. The stronger it is the more likely the results. But, that’s if the program doesn’t continue. Se termina en quinto grado. He is in all-English instruction. But if the program continues like the guys here in PSJA are is doing and this kid continues with dual language instruction in his first language and English, which is Spanish and English, in 6th grade and 7th grade, that kid is going to outperform the kid who did not take advantage of dual language instruction.

Chuy:  He’s going to close the gap and exceed?

Dr. G.:  Yeah, he’s going to close the gap faster because he continues his first language which is his strength. When we say, “Close the gap”, it’s closing the academic gap not the language gap. They all speak English well. They all sound like Anglos now. But, it’s closing the academic gap. He can read in English with the same level of academic proficiency as a native English-speaker.

Chuy:  Okay.

Dr. G.:  See, think about it for a minute. A native English-speaker, from Day One, affluent with resources—todo en inglés—English instruction. That kid’s native English is strong. To get to that level, it doesn’t happen in three, four or five years.

Chuy:  No.

Dr. G.:  That’s why, they have to be in the program, no less than five years.

Chuy:  And up to seven.

Dr. G.:  And up to seven years. And if they continue, that’s even better. But, that’s enough to close that gap and he will do so at some point, and typically by 6th or 7th grade, he will read with the same proficiency and think critically—and I’m not talking just generally—I’m talking reading a science book, reading a social studies book.

Chuy:  So, will that child be assessed, then, as having closed or exceeded the gap by virtue of what assessment? By the STAAR, the TELPAS?

Dr. G.:   The STAAR. The TELPAS ya se acabó. That was elementary. See, the TELPAS is a joke.

Chuy:  Oh, is it?

Dr. G.:  It is really meant for the other types of programs. The kids in dual language perform very high on TELPAS, right away, because TELPAS is a “language assessment.” You see, TELPAS comes in for the transitional program because they are heavy on Spanish the first two or three years and are very weak in English. So, then, TELPAS shows what level the child is at in their English development:  Intermediate? Advanced? By the time the kids hit Advanced, they are in 2nd or 3rd grade. These dual language kids are hitting Advanced Level by 1st grade. Why? Because they are getting a lot of English instruction and English development since pre-kinder. So, actually, the dual language program, even those who are in the “only English” camp and just want the kids to learn English only, they should support dual language because these kids learn English faster and more effectively through dual language than the other bilingual programs. By 1st grade, they’ve reached Advanced on TELPAS. You can ask anybody.

Chuy:  What assessment do we use to show that we’ve “closed the gap”?

Dr. G.:  Typically, the state assessment–the Reading and Writing tests and Math tests in 6th, 7th and 8th grades.

Chuy:  The STAAR. Okay.

Dr. G.:  That is really the ultimate. Believe me, the STAAR—and I couldn’t have said this years ago about the TAAS and TAKS which were minimum skills tests—is a hard, difficult higher order thinking test. Texas did it differently. Some other states did it differently. Washington state has a test called the WASL—Washington Assessment of Student Learning. They’ve had it for forty years, for a long time. That test is considered a first-class assessment, meaning that it is way up here. The expectations are critical—critical thinking, high order thinking, application—and people try to get kids to achieve at that level. Guess what the passing rate is for the white Anglo population, on that test? Around sixty percent. That’s the top group. If you get to 65%, 70%, te aventaste because it’s at a very high level. Ahora, imagínate. Guess what the passing rate is for the Spanish-speaking population? Like 15%, 20%.

Chuy:  Wow.

Dr. G.:  But, if you get to 30%, that’s really good. It’s all relative. Texas went a different route. The expectation is higher. Push, push, push people. We’re going to hold them accountable. So, what has happened in Washington—the only reason I know is because we have a lot of programs up there—is that it became a norm, 50%, 60% pass rates became the norm.

Chuy:  And in Texas?

Dr. G.:  Here in Texas, we went a different route. Texas started when we started state assessments, TEAMS, TAKS, TAAS and STAAR. TEAMS, TAKS, and TAAS were what they called “minimum skills” assessments. This is the minimum you should know. So, everything was based on the minimum from 3rd grade all the way up. Therefore, when kids would meet standards, you were talking 97%, 98% meet standards. And I would tell people, “You are all excited and you pat yourself on the back, but just think about it. Your kids have just demonstrated that they have learned the least they should know, not the most they should know. That really is a minimum skills test.

Everyone knew in Texas, “One day we’re going to have to go to this higher-level test.”

I would tell people, “That’s good, but we need to be teaching at a higher level.” In other words, if this a minimum skills test, kids should be knocking it out of the park water.

Chuy:  Yeah, everyone should.

Dr. G.:  STAAR comes along and everybody gets punched in the mouth. They get hit hard the first two or three years because this test is not a minimum skills test. It’s a first-class assessment testing critical thinking, higher order thinking, etc—higher levels of BLOOM’s Taxonomy.

Chuy:  Now, did STAAR come in as a result of a common core or academic English or was that just Texas?

Dr. G.:  No. just Texas. Texas is a very good state, I think, in terms of education. They are very smart in many ways, slowly raising the bar over the last twenty-or so some years. STAAR—even the highest performing group—is not knocking it out of the park like they did the other tests. They are still struggling. They are doing better than the other groups because STAAR is testing higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy—application, analysis, synthesis. It isn’t enough that this kid knows the water cycle. He has to learn it at an application level. What does this mean? How does this connect to that? Those are the questions they are going to be asked. They will not be asked sequence, for example: What step is next in this water cycle?

That’s a different education. So, in the training, as I work with teachers—and this is why this program is also very popular—because I didn’t realize that when I first developed the model, I embedded into the program, into the design, all of these strategies that I knew about and I was telling teaching all my teachers—my students who were studying to be bilingual ed teachers how to teach well. I told them about strategies like cooperative learning, teaching with rigor, scaffolding, all these ideas are in the program. So, this program is more about that than the 90/10, 50/50. It’s less about how it’s divided than and it is more about understanding how to deliver the engaging, critical, rigorous instruction.

What it is does is that it gives people a clear road map. “Okay. I’m a first-grade teacher. I know exactly what I need to do. It’s not easy. I haven’t done this before but here are the strategies.

Chuy:  And there’s also instructional materials that go with that?

Dr. G.:  That’s right. All of that and they start to grow and learn and pretty soon, they go from this traditional, typical teacher to an enrichment teacher. And that really is the difference. That’s why I use the word “enrichment” everywhere. I don’t know if you saw that?

Chuy:  Yes, I did.

Dr. G.:  This is a dual language enrichment program because enrichment implies—not typical, not traditional, but a higher level. The program is very rigorous, with high expectations but with student support. So, the way all the teachers teach changes them from a traditional teacher to a more effective teacher. In essence, in the last eight or ten years, my message for this is, “This dual language program is GT (Gifted and Talented Program). Everyone knows what GT means. That’s how I start my trainings, “What is GT?”

It is: “Project-based learning.”

“Higher order thinking.”

“Kids working on doing research.”

“Okay. This is what all of these kids are going to be doing.”

Chuy:  I was there at PSJA in one of the schools that had 6th graders. We walked into the classroom and the kids did not even acknowledge us. They were busy and focused. And the teacher is walking around and I’m watching. When we walked out, I told the principal, “This is like a true Gifted and Talented program. That is what it is.

Dr. G.:  The key is to treat the kids like GT kids even though they are not identified GT kids. You treat them that way and they start to rise. I always tell teachers, “If a kid comes in here and I tell him to jump this high (low), he’s going to try to jump this high. But if I tell to jump this high (higher), he’s going to try to jump this high. If I ask him to write me a sentence, he will write a sentence. But if I ask him to write a paragraph, he’s going to try to write a paragraph, but with help and support. So, when you start putting kids together, supporting each other by design, then you move kids to a higher level. So, there’s a whole paradigm and a whole instructional strategy. I don’t know if you are familiar with a constructivist versus behaviorist models. This is a constructivist model which means kids learn by doing, by processing, by thinking, by engaging, not by sitting there listening to the teacher. The behaviorist model means “You repeat after me. Repeat it ten times”—like a parrot. This is a constructivist model. You learn by applying, learn by talking about it with others, by writing about it. It’s a very different education which has usually served been used only the GT population because the perception is “these kids can do this, and these other kids cannot”. That has been a typical misconception or myth out there. All these “best practices” that everybody has heard about are not applied with these kids because they are not GT. These best practices should be used in all classrooms for all students. All students deserve this type of education, not just GT identified students.

As I tell my teachers, “What have I shared that you’ve never heard about?”

“Well, no, we’ve heard of them.”

“Then, why aren’t you using these practices?”

Chuy:  One of the things that caught my attention when you were talking about Dallas, I believe, was that one of the things you did was to adopt policies at the board level.

Dr. G.:  Right.

Chuy:  And, one of the questions that I’ve asked some of the people that I have interviewed locally is, “Are the job descriptions for the principals who are engaged in schools who are dual language-focused, are they hired by virtue of their experience, their dedication, their commitment to this program. Do they know, have they read, are they committed to the model?  And what I think I got back was kind of like, “We’re so de-centralized that a principal can decide that at his or her school, there will not be dual language.”  And I asked, “Are you serious?”

Dr. G.:  Yeah.

Chuy:  I thought, “Well, then, we have real problems. Real problems.”

Dr. G.:  That has been the biggest problem anywhere, at any school district. That’s why Michael Hinojosa in Dallas, after they made the decision, said, “I want you all to come back and I am going to address everybody. I’m going to bring all the principals in—elementary, middle and high school together.” This is Dallas.

You’re talking 200, 300 people in a big auditorium. He said, “I want you guys to present the research, the reason for the program and a quick summary on what this is going to be about and where we’re going. Then, I’m going to talk to them.”

He did the introduction, we presented and then went to sit in the audience in this huge auditorium. So, he starts telling them where the kids were, and he says, “It’s not about you and it’s not about me. You and I made it through the school system, in spite of whatever obstacles. You made it and we want every one of these kids to have that opportunity.”

Everyone is grumbling. “¿Éste está loco o qué tiene?” Who knows what else they were saying. And we were floored by that.

And he said, “This is leadership because you’re speaking for the kids. Everybody says, “It’s in the best interest of the kids, but few people act on that statement. This is the district. He then continued and said, “You work under this district and so do I. We work under the district. This is going to be the district program. This is what we’re doing. So, if you are not under this, then you are outside. You are outside the district. And if you are outside the district, then I’m going to tell you this right now. This is where we’re headed, not because I tell you, but because there is compelling research that tells us. So, that’s why we’re doing it. Because it’s best for our kids. So, you either believe or you leave.”

Chuy:  Wow.

Dr. G.:  Así, nomas.

Chuy:  Set down the rule. And we don’t have that down here.

Dr. G.:  That’s right. That’s what you need. And I’ve always repeated it to people, “If you really believe that you work for children, you do whatever it takes.”

Chuy:  And if the science says that this is the only way that these kids are going to make it, why aren’t we doing it?

Dr. G.:   When people disagree, I always tell them, “Show me your data. You can think and believe whatever you want. That’s your opinion. If you have data and research to back you up, show me. I have data and research to back up this program.” As a matter of fact, I’ve told people who disagree with me, “Okay. Find anything that says that transitional or early exit bilingual programs are closing academic gaps. Find me one study. I can find you twenty or thirty or forty that show dual language doing this. Or show me one where kids are showing higher academic achievement. See, because everything is based on what they think and on their personal feelings. We’re the only profession that works from our own personal beliefs. In any other profession, you work from facts, research and the science behind it.

Chuy:  They don’t put up with that crap. You’ve got to have facts.

Dr.:  So, PSJA, just like some other districts—and Dallas isn’t perfect. I remember struggling with two or three principals. Later, I find out they have been moved or let go because you either get on board or you get reassigned or removed from your position.

Chuy:  When you adopt a policy, do you know if the HR folks in Dallas prepared job descriptions and qualifications?

Dr. G.:  No, not really. Again, it’s up to each district to do as much as they can within their system of leadership—chain of command.

Chuy:  Everything is dynamic.

Dr. G.:  I think it’s up to them to take it to change their culture.

Chuy:  But, at the local level, the principal is the key supervisor.

Dr. G.:  Right. The principal is the key. See, one of the things that has hurt us in education is Site-Based Management that was very powerful in the ‘80s and the ‘90s. It’s a plus and a minus.

Chuy:  Yes, Sir. A lot of that remains.

Dr. G.: “You just show me results.”  Right? And then people said, “Well, I don’t know how to show you results.” Y muchas veces, what was very difficult here at PSJA was a principal who would show good results, con los niños de español. Puro inglés, casí, les daba, very little Spanish. She was very reluctant to implement the program. Y les peleaba y les peleaba. The Superintendent, Dr. Daniel King, and others were scratching their heads, “¿Cómo le entramos a ésta? Because her results were good. Well, she was a master at teaching to the test, drilling and getting the kids to pass the test. This was before STAAR. This was the minimum skills TAKS. Almost everything was in English, so she was untouchable. “A mi no me digas nada, porque look at how I’m doing compared to other campuses.”

Chuy: “I’m producing.” But, is that an exception?

Dr. G.:  No, no.

Chuy:  Oh, it’s not an exception?

Dr. G.:  What I would tell them was, “That’s not real. That’s not true literacy that will hold up as students continue in school. They are not really literate and it’s going to show up as they continue into the upper grades.”

So, sure enough. I told Ms. Rosalva Silva and the people who were there back then, “This is what you all need to do–Porque había otras tres o cuatro que estaban de acuerdo con ella. “Why do I need to do it if she’s not doing it?”

And what many elementary principals don’t see is this is 5th grade is not an end. It’s going to continue. No one knew how her kids were doing as they continued into in middle school. Everyone assumed they were doing great as they continued because they were doing great when they left elementary.

I told Rosalva, “What you have to do is a longitudinal assessment desegregated by school. Say, “These are the kids from this school and these are the 5th graders from your school now in 6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade.

Chuy: But, isn’t that the only way you can do it?

Dr. G.:  Yes, only then do you know how if what you’re doing is successful, which is the fundamental premise of Thomas and Collier’s work, longitudinal assessment…following students throughout school disaggregated by the type elementary bilingual or ESL program they were served. They did that y se le acabó todo el borlote because her kids who were making these good scores were doing well because of teaching to the test, were one of the lowest achieving in middle school. While the kids from Garcia (Elementary) in Las Milpas with high poverty, was one of the strongest schools they had because they had strong leadership in Yolanda Castillo. I don’t know if you know Yolanda Castillo. She just retired a year or two ago. But, Graciela Garcia Elementary, Las Milpas, worst economic situation and housing you can imagine, her scores leaving elementary were not as high as this principal lady’s, but they were real, and they kept growing. Her kids were the strongest in 6th, 7th, and 8th.

Chuy:  Is that right?

Dr. G.:  Stronger than any of the schools. So, the lesson learned when they did that was that the school with the worst population is the highest performing school.

Chuy:  What better reference do you want?

Dr. G.:  But, you look at their program? Solid. Strong fidelity. They still have a very strong program. It’s hard to get people. But it’s not easy. If I’m an elementary principal, I get measured by tests in elementary, not middle, school. So, I don’t care what happens later over there. I care what happens here, and now.

Chuy:  I know it’s hard once you have somebody there—but with the right person going in, I think is critical.

Dr. G.:  Oh, yeah, it’s critical. When I say policy, what I am trying to do is protect them from losing the program with the change of top leadership—superintendent leadership in particular or assistant superintendent. Because, if the program is based on people who are excited and have invested whatever time and effort and started program is now showing success implemented in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade, and the superintendent leaves and others come in who don’t have the background, by the time you educate them and get them on board, they’ll damage the program, if not eliminate it.

Chuy:  Yes.

Dr. G.:  If it’s written in the district policy approved written in by the board, it has to go back to the board. Then the board can question why it’s being changed. Then, it has a better chance of sustainability. But the selection of principals, I agree one hundred percent. That is the key to campus leadership is key.

Chuy:  The theory that children learn a second language between the ages of four and eight or nine or ten.

Do you subscribe to that?

Dr. G.:  Well, it’s not so much a second language. That can be done from the beginning. That’s when they are the most—the brain is more receptive at in those ages to learn a lot of things.

Chuy:  That’s when they are sponges.

Dr. G.:  Yeah. You know that sign that says, “Everything I learned, I learned in Kindergarten.”

Chuy:  It’s very true.

Dr. G.:  What they are saying is that is when you learn a lot of things in kindergarten and then, of course, you later get deeper understanding. So, between the ages of 4 and 8—yeah, their brains are like sponges—their brains are so receptive. As they get older, other factors start to impact their learning.

Chuy:  And with that in mind, you mentioned earlier that on the 90/10 model, the advantage for the native English speaker is that he is going to be getting a lot of Spanish, not only exposure, but frequency of use. Turn it around for the ELL, can we improve on the exposure to English and frequency of use? And, if so, does the model address that? Well, it must, first of all because it’s 50/50.

Dr. G.:  Yes, it does. In this model, of course, they are going to get a lot of language exposure. In this model, math is not taught 100% in English, but so math is like the ESL (English as a Second Language) block so it’s math with a lot of language, math with a lot of writing, math with a lot of talking. And then there’s another two or three ELD (English Language Development) components a day just for English Language Development activities or Spanish Language Development if you have the Spanish Language Development program. Then there’s the Language of the Day component which is not about instruction, but about everything else that happens at school—counting the days of the week—all of that is in both languages.

Chuy:  But, it’s school-focused. What about beyond the school?  And let me give you an example. My youngest grandchild is in first grade and I have been intentionally following the language development.

Dr. G.:  Where is she at?

Chuy:  He is in San Juan at Carman Elementary and they don’t have the program there.

Dr. G.:  So, they don’t have a program at all or they…

Chuy:  They don’t have the dual language there for him.

Dr. G.:  Last I heard, and I need to find out, every campus has dual language. Now, it may not be very strong. The district requires it.

Chuy:  Okay, maybe that’s it. They have a weak program. I went to one of the programs and they had a girl, first or second grade, and she spoke in both languages. I was very impressed with her. But my grandson is an English speaker.

Dr. G.:  Okay. That’s a different question. That’s probably where we’re missing the boat. See, PSJA, like many districts, doesn’t have dual language for every student. It’s optional for the English-speaking group but it is not optional for the Spanish-speaking group. This is their bilingual program, so everyone should have this.

Chuy:  This is where I’m going with it. Obviously, his English skills are very good. He’s got any resource he wants. Mother is a teacher as is the grandmother—everybody. He’s got financial resources and he is very good in English. I have been investigating all of my grandkids about what they are learning in Spanish because we typically do not speak the language. And the way that I’ve been doing it is with La Loteria.

Dr. G.:  Okay, right.

Chuy:  My oldest is fourteen, going to be a freshman and he’s going to take Spanish. And what has surprised me is that they are able to pronounce, to decode, and they can read Spanish. They’ve already learned the phonemes, and all of that in English, so they go in there, and read el pájaro, and they pronounce it properly. So, that means that they are absorbing stuff (vocabulary). They may not be (perfect) but it’s there because their grandparents speak it. So, my question is—at least at PSJA: Could the Hispanic native English-speakers be attracted to that program by recruiting or on a voluntary basis? The only reason I’m saying this is that it seems to me that the frequency of English by those other kids (English-speakers) in those early years might be helpful.

Dr. G.:  With those kids involved?

Chuy:  Yeah, with more of those kids.

Dr. G.:  No, you’re right. But, it’s up to the leadership.

Chuy:  That’s what I’m saying.

Dr. G.:  That’s where the principal is not really embracing it and inviting the community and saying, “Let’s have a two-way program.”

Chuy:  And I didn’t know all this. I told my daughter, “Go and find out why Armando is not in that program. He lost a year or two already.” Do you agree with that?

Dr. G.:  One hundred percent. That is what’s sad, but it seems that every time you educate one person, another ignorant person about dual language steps up.

Chuy:  Nunca acabas.

Dr. G.:  It’s like you’re always trying to get people to get it. And when you think they are all on board, there’s another one who isn’t. And they are in leadership roles. If they are not in leadership roles, they don’t do a lot of damage. But in leadership roles—principals and superintendents, they can damage a lot of kids or not provide opportunities. I’m in the same place. I have two granddaughters, one is two and the other one is four. The four-year old, we’re trying to get her into Sanchez, here in McAllen, because Sanchez and Jackson are two of seven schools that are dual language. McAllen is catching up with Pharr in dual language. They have really gotten on board.

Chuy:  McAllen has changed demographically in the last ten years.

Dr. G.:  Right. We’re trying to get her in there. She’s like your grandchildren, puro inglés. She knows a little bit of Spanish. Spanish is the easiest language to learn to read. It’s phonetic. It’s very easy. English is a difficult language, with all the exceptions to the rules and different combinations for vowel sounds.

Chuy: It is a difficult language.  I want to finish up.

Dr. G.:  Well, I’m glad you’re doing this.

Chuy:  But I’m going to commit you for a follow up.

Dr. G.:  Once you get closer?

Chuy:  Well, I go back, and I read the material. What I do is I transcribe, and I have it typed.

Dr. G.:  Really?

Chuy:  I have my questions. I do. Then I go back.

Dr. G.:  ¿Y esto los haces, for what reason? What’s your motivation? I know it interests you because of yourself and your family.

Chuy:  Well, I started writing about fifteen years ago. I’ve been practicing law for thirty-five years.

Dr. G.:  So, you’re a retired lawyer?

Chuy:  No.

Dr. G.:  You still haven’t retired?

Chuy:  No, but I have slowed down, and I spend a lot of time doing this stuff. I’m an activist from the ‘60s, so, I’m doing multiple projects. This is just one of them.

Dr. G.:  So, you probably know about—let me give you a tip—go on the TABE website.

Chuy:  NABE or TABE?

Dr. G.:  TABE. And there is a really good resource for you. If you can’t find it, I have it in DVD and I can convert it into a link. With TABE, years ago, we created a video called “The Story of Bilingual Education in Texas”. It is really well-done. We spent money at TABE and commissioned people to interview and videotape. Bet you are going to recognize a lot of the people there. It went back and talked to people from way back in the ‘60s and what they were experiencing, what they were going through. And it takes us all the way up to dual language—where we are today. It was produced in the late ‘90s, maybe early 2000.

Chuy: Yes. I’ve collected and, actually purchased, a lot of material and I have a digital library of stuff I will never get to read completely, only some sections. For example, the Richard Ruiz materials which I was very impressed with. I started off with that some time ago. But, I’ve also looked at other scientific material about how the brain functions, cognition, loads and all of those kinds of things.

 

 

Dr. G.:  Look into that one. I believe I have it in DVD.

Chuy:  I’ll look at it.

Dr. G.:  By now, it should be on the website, tabe.org.

Chuy: I’ll look at it.

Dr. G:  But it’s very interesting. It will fit right in with what you’re trying to do, I think.

Chuy:  I wanted to share this with you. I was actually able to find this. Up until the ‘60s, the Texas State Teachers Association published a journal, The Texas Outlook. I found some dated material out of some instructional material in California and it cited three articles from the 1930s in The Texas Outlook and they all had the word Mexican in it. So, I got the Texas Outlook Librarian on the phone and got copies of those three articles. And you would be amazed at what the teachers were saying, in good faith, about how Mexicans should be taught in the 20s and 30s and how we were taught. So, this has been a system in place forever and it’s never fully worked.

Dr. G.:  Right.

Chuy:  But—and this is what bothers me the most—when I visit with somebody and I get a response from a mexicano, but it’s consistent with those old attitudes.

Dr. Leo Gómez

To Learn More About Dr. Leo Gómez

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The September 2021 edition of IberoAzltan will be our ninth. We had projected publication of six editions which would be focused primarily on an interview project which we began in 2017, called the Chicana/o Legacy Project. The interest in and support for IberoAztlan was Unexpected.

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