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When I first read the letter from David Prater of Muscatine on the Dec. 26 opinion page, I was hoping it was a joke by some clever reader simply trying to be funny.

But after seeing a follow-up letter from Eleanor Finch of Bettendorf (Dec. 28) I decided I, or someone, must respond to explain.

Obviously neither of these readers understand what "English as a Second Language" amounts to. Having our schools teach this is precisely what the two writers claim to want.

These students are immigrants who do not speak English yet, or who speak very little English. Their native country's language is their "first language." Therefore, they are being taught to speak English as their "second language." They are learning English.

Likewise, if we were to visit their country our first language would be English. However if we became fluent in their country's language, it would become our "second language."

I hate making my comments so elementary. Maybe that is what is necessary in this situation.

Norita Solt


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