For the fourth year, Cap Times reporters have asked several Madisonians to share "bright ideas" they have for the coming year. We will publish the 2017 edition of Bright Ideas throughout the next week.
I’m a kindergarten teacher at Midvale Elementary School and I teach for the Hmong Language and Culture Enrichment Program in the summers. I want to encourage the Madison community to embrace and appreciate the many cultures we have in Madison, specifically through bilingual education.
Right now, there are Spanish dual language immersion programs at Midvale, and I’m excited the first Hmong Developmental Bilingual Education program is coming to Madison in 2017. Hmong is the third language in Madison.
I’ve noticed through my work at HLCEP that many young Hmong Americans don’t speak Hmong and their parents encourage them not to speak languages other than English, not even Spanish. I’ve learned that many parents believe there is a stigma associated with being an ESL learner.
There’s a significant achievement gap for Hmong students, even though they’re generally well behaved and show up every day to learn. We believe the disconnect between their dedication and performance is because they have identity issues; they don’t know who they are, and they’re not proud of who they are.
My fellow teacher Jayme Vang and I have started a Hmong Club, and I’m teaching my students some Hmong phrases. They’ve already started using basic phrases like “Good morning.”