ESL good when done right

Sometimes the politically correct forces at NIU just go too far.

This certainly is the case with NIU’s Freshman English program, which is led by the notorious PC maven Robert Self.

Self, the key cog in implementing a gender-neutral language policy last year in Freshman English and University Resources for Latinos, decided to help some incoming Latino freshmen by placing them into an English 103 class which emphasized English as a second language. The theory was that those students who had trouble with language skills could be helped.

The theory is fine. It’s the execution that is troubling. No one ever bothered to tell the students affected by this change which class they would be taking. One would think that someone would have acted responsibly and at the very least sent out a letter to the students. As a result of this bureaucratic mix-up, several Latino students were placed in a class that’s holding them back academically. One student enrolled in the class was the salutatorian of her high school class—hardly a candidate for remedial learning.

The intent of this type of class is good. NIU and other universities should look for more ways to improve minority retention rates, especially when language is the only thing inhibiting success. However, if you’re going to do something, make sure it’s done right instead of letting it slip through the cracks of the bureaucratic chalkboard.