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When English is a budget victim

More than half of Alhambra’s residents are immigrants; in a quarter of the city’s homes, no adult speaks English well.

For many newcomers, the city’s Adult English as a Second Language classes have been the first step to becoming functioning residents of the city. But this March the Adult ESL program was the latest victim of local budget cuts. According to AUSD Superintendant Donna Perez, it was a necessary evil in fighting a budget deficit and in an effort to maintain core programs.The Alhambra Source spoke with Amanda You, a recent immigrant from Shanghai, China. A nurse, she immigrated to the United States less than a year ago. The Source asked her what ESL had meant to her – and how she is coping now that it is gone. Watch the video, or read excerpts below. And then please let us know about your experiences with learning English.

"When I came to America, my family said, 'You should go to adult school first and you can know a lot about things here, learn English.' It’s very famous to new immigrants. For six months I went to school every morning.

When the school was canceled, I did not know what to do. I feel not good. I don’t know the reason. Maybe government doesn’t have enough money to support the school. But I don’t know the real reason why they close our school.

I got two jobs and a lot of my coworkers they don’t speak Chinese. They can only speak English. But it’s not the same as in school. School teaches me how to speak it correctly. When I’m working with my coworker we’re just talking, talking. She will not correct my English.

I want to learn English in school. I hope another school can open again. I love my school and want to go back to school to learn more things."

–Edited and condensed from an interview with Amanda You

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1 thought on “When English is a budget victim”

  1. I just read the interview with Amanda You, and I would like her to know that as a fellow Alhambra resident and an adult ESL teacher, I would like to help her out.

    Adjacent to Alhambra is Los Angeles and Wilson-Lincoln Community Adult School, part of Los Angeles Unified School District’s Division of Adult & Career Education. At Wilson-Lincoln, we have various locations which offer ESL, citizenship, computers, GED, and other classes which the Alhambra adult program used to offer.

    One of Wilson-Lincoln’s biggest sites is at Lincoln Plaza, in Lincoln Heights, which is not too far away from Alhambra. There are morning ESL classes as well as evening ESL classes. I am currently teaching a beginning low ESL class at Lincoln Plaza during the day.

    I would like to invite Amanda Yu and all the other displaced adult school students from Alhambra to come and visit us at Wilson-Lincoln and learn!