Sunday, May 28, 2017

California Reverses Decision on Bilingual Education

Kristin Kinkel is a former cheerleader and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. In her work, Kristin Kinkel assisted English language learners who spoke various languages including Japanese and Spanish. 

The debate over bilingual education came to a head in California 20 years ago, when disagreements about immigration transformed education policy. In 1998, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 227, the English in Public Schools Initiative. 

This legislation reshaped the way students who do not speak much English are educated throughout the state. Specifically, the law ended bilingual education for students classified as Limited English Proficient (LEP). California began educating these students in English only and reduced their access to special support classes. 

In November of 2016, California voters reversed this decision. Proposition 58 passed with 73-percent approval, showing widespread support for the return to bilingual education. 

This will allow many of California's 1.4 million ESL students to learn in two languages, improving their English while they develop skills in their native tongue. California's new policies, set to take effect in July, are being fine-tuned.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Japanese Visitors in Hawaii

Having graduated from Hawaii Pacific University on a cheerleading scholarship, Kristin Kinkel went on to travel the world as a cheerleader, cheerleading instructor, and Varsity Spirit Corporation judge. During her time at Hawaii Pacific, Kristin Kinkel taught English to students visiting from Japan. 

Hawaii is a very popular destination for Japanese visitors, with Hawaii-bound flights from the nation tending to fill to 80-90 percent consistently. In 1997, 2.2 million Japanese residents visited Hawaii, and while Japanese travelers are less common than they used to be, 2015 still saw 1.5 million tourists to Hawaii, more than any other destination from Japan. 

In addition to the pleasant climate, beaches, and luxury shopping, Hawaii is very friendly to Japanese visitors, with plenty of access to Japanese foods and language. Even those who don’t speak any English can get along quite well in Japanese alone. 

Aside from these practical considerations, there is a cultural idea of Hawaii as a paradise for the wealthy in Japan. This idea preexists World War II and survived even Pearl Harbor. The mythology of Hawaii maintains its mystique today, even though trips to the state have become quite affordable. For these reasons, many Japanese tourists take the seven-hour flight more than once a year.