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Dear Editor:

Personally, though our exchange of letters is not always substantive, and apparently bores Mr. Van Doren, I have found them helpful in clarifying some of our points of difference. I hope others have as well. For instance, Dr. Baer and Ms. Flowers have a different interpretation of what "multiculturalism" is than I do. A friend and I have discussed "English as an official language" and "bilingual education" and have found out that we have different views about what these are. It sometimes even turns out that what we thought we disagreed on, we actually have a fair amount of agreement on. She, as a teacher, thought I opposed her idea of bilingual education, which was basically support for nonEnglish-speaking children in English-speaking classrooms. I don't. What I was talking about were "bilingual" programs in which most of the instruction was in the foreign language, for a period of years. Of course, it doesn't help that politicians, government officials and the press use these terms as shorthand covering a range of variations, without explaining them. It's a bad habit that the rest of us have, as well.

Ali Alexander


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