The Texas State Board of Education recently issued a recommended reading list, which has been criticized for lacking diversity: Educators rip book list in English plan. Okay, that's almost going to be a given. But note the comments of Board Chair Don McLeroy, who responded to criticisms by saying:
"'What good does it do to put a Chinese story in an English book?" he said. "You learn all these Chinese words, OK. That's not going to help you master... English. So you really don't want Chinese books with a bunch of crazy Chinese words in them. Why should you take a child's time trying to learn a word that they'll never ever use again?'This guy is on the board that determines education standards for the entire state? Where exactly did he get the idea that a reading list with more "diverse" stories and authors somehow means "a bunch of crazy Chinese words."
He added that some words -- such as chow mein -- might be useful.
We do write and speak English, you know. We've written whole books in English, Don. Sometimes, call me crazy, there's more to reading than just learning "words." Like, um, themes and ideas and stuff. But I guess Don is only interested in learning words you can find on a Chinese food menu.
UPDATE: Here's some contact info for Don McLeroy, Texas State Board of Education Chair, in case you have some things you want to say to him:
9277 Brookwater Circle
College Station, TX 77845
979 846-1174 (FAX)
It might helpful to drop a few "crazy Chinese words" in your comments.