Tags: One | Reporter's | Opinion | English | the | Common | Bond

One Reporter's Opinion - English Is the Common Bond

Thursday, 23 September 2004 12:00 AM

This is nothing new to this reporter who, over the past 30 years, has tried to alert those who would listen to this tragic situation. When one travels throughout the southwestern U.S., you often feel as though you're in a foreign land. Here in Los Angeles more than half of our working age population cannot read a simple bus schedule and cannot fill out a job application. A truly shocking statistic shows that in the LA region, 53 percent of workers aged 16 and older are deemed to be functionally illiterate.

Time Magazine warns us that three million more illegals are headed this way. This ever-growing problem is a ticking time bomb and our government leaders, top to bottom, are inclined to do nothing about it.

If we could ever get a grip on the illegal immigration problem, we could start by requiring immigrants to learn the language of the land. One recalls the words of the late Professor S.I. Hayakawa who stated, "A common language is the glue that holds a nation and its people together." There you have it: a common language.

The California constitution, Article III Section VI states, "English is the common language of the people of the USA and the state of California." I repeat: English, the official language of California. And it is further stated that the legislature shall enforce this by appropriate legislation.

A study by the United Way of Greater Los Angeles classified 3.8 million Los Angeles County residents as "low-literate," meaning they could not write a note explaining a billing error, use a bus schedule, or locate an intersection on a street map.

The communication barrier creates problems of enormous proportions; but there is a price tag for all of this. The National Right to Read Foundation, referring to functional illiteracy, says it's costing us nationally $224 billion.

Literacy classes for the functionally illiterate are few and far between and the functionally illiterate are intimidated by the fact that they are unable to use even basic English to communicate.

For example, Adolio Gonzalez, 29, was intimidated by filling out a job application or even going to an amusement park. This pitiful soul said, "I didn't want to go to Disneyland because it was so complicated." Gonzalez emigrated from Guatemala and is teaching himself to speak English by watching television, but he finds himself confused by the simplest tasks and has trouble filling out an application at a fast food restaurant. The application asked why he wanted to work for this company. He responded, "I didn't know what to answer."

America, we are losing the battle with 48 percent of the nation's working age population functionally illiterate and yet our government leaders, in their constant search for cheap labor and votes, refuse to act.

As Time Magazine says, three million more illegals are headed this way... and that's just this year alone. Think about it.

Related Link:

http://www.kfi640.com/time_dooropen.html

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This is nothing new to this reporter who, over the past 30 years, has tried to alert those who would listen to this tragic situation.When one travels throughout the southwestern U.S., you often feel as though you're in a foreign land.Here in Los Angeles more than half of...
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2004-00-23
Thursday, 23 September 2004 12:00 AM
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