Thursday, March 30, 2006

¿Usted habla inglés?
No hablo ingles.

Loak cheH niyee-ây ph*ee-uhsâ awngklayH rêu tây?
Je ne parle pas anglais.

3 Lowell teachers ordered reinstated

Three Lowell teachers, who were fired for failing the district's English fluency tests in 2003, should be allowed back in the classroom and receive full back pay, an arbitrator has ruled.

Pedro Espada, 62, Vandy Duch, 43, and Vong Oung, 39, have been unable to find work as teachers since they were dismissed, their lawyers said yesterday. The teachers, who were advised to refer questions to their lawyers, were unavailable to comment.

An arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, an independent organization, ruled on Monday that the district did not have ''just cause" to fire the teachers and said that any reference to their termination should be expunged from their personnel files. The teachers are also entitled to nearly three years in lost salary and benefits, including their pensions and health insurance. School officials plan to appeal the ruling, said Karla Baehr, the Lowell schools superintendent.

The teachers' firings were fallout from the state's 2002 law that moved to replace bilingual programs with English-only classes and ensure that teachers were fluent and literate in English. School systems began giving English fluency tests to teachers, leading to dismissals or reassignments of teachers who failed the tests in Lowell and Lawrence…

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