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LETTERS: More support needed for early English learning students

Students and faculty outside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. College Preparatory High School in Chicago on the first day of the CPS school year, Tuesday, September 6, 2016. | James Foster/For the Sun-Times

I recently came to this country with the hope that my daughter would find many opportunities.

She was 14 when she first arrived to a CPS school and started 8th grade. She took a proficiency test just two months after starting school and although she didn’t know the language yet, a Spanish option was not available to her. It was not taken into consideration that her grades from the previous year were excellent, even when her courses in Colombia were more rigorous.

I was more surprised when I found out this test was going to be very important for high school admission. When we started to complete her high school application, I found out that her Northwest Evaluation Association scores were very low, which limited her options of applying to selective enrollment and other high-quality schools. When my daughter found out, she was sad and felt there was nothing she could do about it.

My daughter is working extremely hard so she can learn English but I don’t believe she has received the necessary support needed with the English Language Learners program. The schools continue to put a lot of emphasis on this test which, in the case of my daughter, is not measuring her knowledge but what English vocabulary she understands.

I believe it is important to evaluate each student independently, and it would be more fair if the NWEA and the selective enrollment schools were available in different languages for English Language Learners. Another option could be to eliminate the NWEA percentage requirement. Considering this limits the access of many students, like my daughter, to high quality schools.

July Beltran, Southwest Chicago

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Emanuel hopes on Amazon headquarters for wrong reasons

What a thrill it must be for Mayor 1% to have Chicago selected as a possible site for its headquarters! No need to stop and reflect on the absolute betrayal this possible move means for the working people of Chicago.

Amazon’s history of dealing with its workers and its dependency on sweatshops across the world should not enter our consciousness at all. All we have to do is bask in the phony smile of our dear Mayor, who worships at the altar of affluence.

Edward David Juillard, Morgan Park

Trump aims to turn freedom of press into enemy of the people

The “enemy of the people.” That’s the terminology that Joseph Stalin and Adolph Hitler used to describe the free press. These are dangerous words spoken by dangerous mad men.

But is there little doubt that our current leader feels any differently? After all, he has been denigrating and marginalizing the work of The New York Times, Washington Post and others, since he took the oath of office in front of that record crowd (his words, not mine) twelve regrettable months ago.

If Mr. Trump had his way, all of our news would be filtered through his propaganda machinery, with no one to fact check his exaggerations and outright deceit. How would we ever come to grips with reality? Or is that the ultimate goal of a man who is so totally consumed with his own self-image?

When Jeff Blake stood on the floor of the senate Wednesday and denounced the ongoing threat to our democratic principles by this president, it may have landed on deaf ears within his own party, but it surely reverberated around the world to freedom lovers everywhere.

It’s unfortunate that it takes an outgoing legislator to get up and speak the truth when so many of his colleagues have remained silent for far too long. But perhaps Blake’s eloquent speech will ignite a spark of patriotism in the cowardly hearts of his listeners and common decency will at last prevail. Thank you, senator.

Bob Ory, Elgin