September 19, 2005

Town meeting to focus on bilingual education

by Paula Davenport

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- If you've ever tried to learn a foreign language late in life, you probably realize it would have been so much easier if you'd started as a child.

That's the driving philosophy behind a national movement for bilingual education, which promotes schools offering all lessons — from math to reading — in two languages, usually English and Spanish.

This initiative will be the focus of a free, public town meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1, in Lawson Hall room 161 on the Southern Illinois University Carbondale campus. A reception will follow from 5 to 6 p.m.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and film crews may cover the event. For more information, call or look for Joan E. Friedenberg, SIUC linguistics professor and one of the event's organizers, at 618/453-6531.

Organizers hope to attract interested school officials, teachers and parents to the event. They will hear from a group of panelists from around the state who have expertise and experience in dual language instruction.

Fielding questions will be Judy Yturriago, district administrator of Evanston public schools; Jennifer Moran, mother of a youngster who's enrolled in an Evanston-based dual language program; John Hilliard, a dual language trainer with the Illinois Resource Center; and Sherry Alimi, principal of Booker T. Washington School in Champaign.

Interpreters will translate all discussions into Spanish.

As part of the University's Latino Heritage Month celebration, the town meeting is sponsored by the SIUC Office of Multicultural Programs and Services, the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute, the linguistics department, the U.S. Department of Education bilingual education training for all teachers program at SIUC and the Southern Illinois dual language coalition.

Serving others is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the long-range plan the University is following as it nears its 150th birthday in 2019.