Thursday, September 10, 2015

No se habla español

Good morning Superintendent Reedy and members of the Board:

I have attached to this e-mail a two page document I downloaded today from the APS website.  It is the Spanish version of the elementary mid term progress report and explanation to parents.  It is signed by you.  

I am writing to recommend you not sign anything you have not read over carefully, especially documents that will be distributed to hundreds if not thousands of APS families.

Why?  Because I found and corrected no fewer than 63 serious errors in the text.  I don’t need to tell you how embarrassing this may prove to be to you, personally, as well as the district.  

From the perspective of Spanish speaking families, with whom I have been working for nearly 30 years, error-filled documents like this can make the district look ignorant, incompetent, and insensitive to their language needs.  They can also make the district look hypocritical.  How can a district that purports to accurately evaluate the academic abilities of its students maintain credibility when it distributes to families a document replete with errors that many of our 5th graders would not make?

From the perspective of teachers, this document constitutes yet more evidence of the double standard that exists between the accountability applied to teachers, on the one hand, and the accountability applied to administrators and others at central office, on the other.  If the folks in the Assessment Department were subject to the TeachScape evaluation rubric, documents such as this could serve as evidence that the employees were operating at a level consistent with the designation of “minimally effective,” if not “ineffective.”  

As someone who has translated hundreds of documents between English, Spanish, and French, it seems to me as if the document existed first in English and was rushed through Google Translate.  Any bilingual educator or translator can tell you that Google Translate is about 60% accurate, if that.  If the English version of this document had been sent to APS's Translation Services, which over the years has done an excellent job of translating important, district-wide documents, I would not be writing you today.

Please fix this document and upload it again to the APS website so that schools and teachers, if they choose to do so, can use it as a tool for reporting to parents.

I look forward to hearing from you.

No comments: