Friday, October 17, 2008

Immigrant Classes?

Something about this just doesn't smell right:

A controversial scheme to create special classes for immigrant children has been approved by the lower house of Italy's parliament.

The measure, proposed by the right-wing Northern League Party, would require foreign children to pass a special test before being admitted into schools...

Under the proposal, the children of immigrants would have to sit tests on citizenship and would be placed in "bridge classes" if they failed, where they would study Italian language, law and culture until they could pass the test.

A spokesman for the Northern League said the aim was to guarantee equal opportunities for foreign students and facilitate integration.

But opposition politicians have described it as "an act of the worst xenophobia".

Alright - I understand that adjusting to a new culture can be difficult, especially when you don't speak the language well. And immigrants to the U.S. have to pass similar tests before becoming citizens.

Yet, denying children access to education for not being enough like the locals - that makes me feel queasy.

Thoughts?

4 comments:

frau sally benz said...

I have to say that if there had been "immigrant" classes when I first came to the U.S., I would've probably never learned English as quickly or been forced to assimilate as quickly. My mother wouldn't even let them put me in an ESL only classroom, I only took classes after school.

I think something like this would make it harder, not easier. I've found that a lot of the people who stay behind are those who weren't forced (for lack of a better word) to assimilate.

Renee said...

Teaching them the language is one thing but I don't like the idea of cultural indoctrination. I can somehow see this as promoting Italian culture as the only important one while their originating culture is taught to be backward.

tangerinecaro said...

I suspect this might be related to the mistreatment of the Roma people in Italy in general? the xenophobic Italian government is having them all fingerprinted as well...

See:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/sep/16/roma.race

Kris-Stella said...

Immediately, this made me wonder what the test would actually look like. If you are going to administer a test on 'law and culture' to ten-year olds, it had better be something that Italian-born ten-year olds actually pass with ease in great majorities.

I would love to believe that this is the case, but something in me doubts this very much...

And secondly, I agree with frau sally benz - the quickest way to assimilate is not by being kept separate.