February 14, 2013

The latest words in educational jargon [“What the heck is your kid’s teacher saying?,” Outlook, Feb. 10], are challenging to anyone. Imagine the challenge those words represent to those parents not fluent in English.

In Fairfax County, 50 percent of students go home to households where languages other than English are spoken. As wonderful as the school system’s English-language program is (and as a retired Fairfax County Public Schools middle school teacher, I have seen only excellent instruction by those teachers), students are not on a level playing field if their parents don’t understand English. It’s time for us as a region, and as a nation, to wake up to the importance of English-language instruction for adults as a way to close the achievement gap in education.

Anne M. Spear, McLean

The writer is a member of the Literacy Council of Northern Virginia board of directors.