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  #61  
Old 17.12.2011, 08:51
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Re: Leaving Switzerland (mostly due to schooling)

Oh, that's really sad
I'm at loss of words

But thank you kindly for explaining kodokan.
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  #62  
Old 17.12.2011, 09:56
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Re: 'Moved from Swiss local school to US public school' - how that's going...

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I think there was an element of 'they're nicely-spoken, articulate Caucasian kids, I'm sure it's all fine' going on; providing schooling for non-English speaking, working-class Mexican children of dubious educational background is a huge issue here).

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Care to elaborate on this?
...a bit OT but I feel it's worth diving into.

I don't doubt that that kodokan made an unbiased observation. Arizona is an ugly place to live right now.

in the days after 9/11, the Republicans spewed a lot of paranoid rhetoric about terrorists entering the US illegally via the Mexican border. This was meant to increase public support for a program that would increase border security, including increased border patrol staff, electronic surveillance, drones, and... the well known border fence, of which Arizona got the most). See map.

The consequence of the paranoid rhetoric was that, in some parts of the country (*cough - Arizona - cough*) people took it to heart, and the hatred of "terrorists" translated into a hatred of Hispanics. See: Arizona Minutemen. They've managed to focus their mission on lawful activity but when they first formed they were real vigil-antis.

Further, since anti-race legislation is illegal, Arizona lawmakers (and one in particular with a real it against "illegals" and called it "Arizona Senate Bill 1070" which sponsored by Russell Pearce to take the authority for enforcing federal immigration laws into the direct hands of the State of Arizona. Russell Pearce has quite the reputation of being an anti Mexican racist. The Governor, Jan Brewer (Republican) has supported the legislation, and has also received a lot of criticism for it.

The legislation was enacted in Arizona, and has been enforced. Law Enforcement agencies in Arizona are currently being investigated by the US Department of Justice for Civil Rights violations, and the US Supreme Court has just agreed to hear a case regarding the constitutionality of the Arizona law.

Arizona is just the worst of the worst. There are similar laws in other parts of the US, but mostly at the city or county level. My town in Virginia was one that actually passed a sanctuary law, while a neighboring county passed a law very similar to Arizona's.

And how did it get to this point? Republicans really believed that illegal immigrants were the gateway for terrorists to enter the United States. However, none of the 9/11 hijackers entered the United States illegally.

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Old 17.12.2011, 19:38
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Re: Leaving Switzerland (mostly due to schooling)

The issue of foreign kids not speaking the local lingo I get. Same here.

But the notion or assumption of foreigners having subpar or fragmented education compared to the US, or here, is hard to accept.

My teaching experience was different, with foreign kids both in the US and here. Foreign kids in both countries seemed to have more standardized edu level, which was not as dependent whether they went to private school or public, or various areas. Historically, edu legislation, standardization and nivelization does not seem to be the US or CH major strength. It's a process happening rigt now.

Just sayin'.. I have a personal theory on poor countries having to standardize and invest into high quality and not necessarily expensive edu system, since that's pretty much the only hope for the kids of making it somewhere. At least that's what I grew up in, and a phenomenon I am dealing with at work every day.
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  #64  
Old 17.12.2011, 19:55
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Re: Leaving Switzerland (mostly due to schooling)

Kokodan, having been to Arizona a few times to stay with relatives there- I felt the same, and must say did wonder if you would pick this up when you announced your move. We were planning to go back and visit the flowering desert in March, around Tucson and further down towards the border- and my cousin asked me not to go as 'anywhere south of Phoenix is just too dangerous now' and they truly believe it (and sadly might be true).
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Old 17.12.2011, 20:09
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Re: Leaving Switzerland (mostly due to schooling)

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Kokodan, having been to Arizona a few times to stay with relatives there- I felt the same, and must say did wonder if you would pick this up when you announced your move. We were planning to go back and visit the flowering desert in March, around Tucson and further down towards the border- and my cousin asked me not to go as 'anywhere south of Phoenix is just too dangerous now' and they truly believe it (and sadly might be true).
I haven't been to that neck of the woods in a decade, but one of my favorite places in Arizona is just outside of Tucson: The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum.

If I had it in me to go for a visit, I don't think I'd let anything stop me. Afterall, I-10 -- the major highway through the Southwest -- runs right through there. I can't imagine that it's really all that 'dangerous', though I've heard from people I still know in the area that it isn't the place I left in 2000.
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Old 17.12.2011, 20:44
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Re: 'Moved from Swiss local school to US public school' - how that's going...

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Given the newness of American society, and their obvious pride in their not-that-long-ago European/country of origin heritage where appropriate, you'd think people would cut this latest crop of immigrants a little slack for simply wanting to improve their lot in life. Or at least appreciating the cheap service prices that (sometimes illegal) immigrant labour provides, rather than whining about being over-run by people who're a lot more native to this continent than they are.
.
It's hard to cut some slack when all the drug running through the desert threatens the lives of your citizens. There are immigration laws for a reason. Just like those of us here in CH that waited forever for our permits and are always off to the Gemeinde with some nonesensical paperwork, we do it because we abide by the rules of the country we are living in. Respect the laws. Illegal is illegal and my tax dollars shouldn't have to pay for rescuing people who get stranded in the desert without enough water because they tried to sneak across.

On a much better note, I do hope you get some time to explore AZ. I used to live in Phoenix and the state is fantastically beautiful. The drive south to the wine region (yes, believe it or not they have a wine region!) is fantastic, Sedona is gorgeous, and of course north to the Grand Canyon is amazing. Additionally, go check out Page, where you can see horseshoe bend and Antelope Canyon. It's sooo cool!

I hope you enjoy your time in AZ!
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Old 17.12.2011, 20:44
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Re: Leaving Switzerland (mostly due to schooling)

Thanks for the reply kodokan, it just strikes me as odd that's all.

It's interesting to see how they talk to you, this bias and impressions I would surely never hear openly without a diatribe of apologetical "But not you, the others" or "but that's not how I think".


From my experience, people who illegally cross the border don't take their kids with them; Even less so in the crossing area of the Sonora desert. Kids of undocumented / illegal hispanics, most probably are raised on the U.S Schooling system.

Hence, it seems very weird that a kid who was brought over (with dodgy/dubious educational background) would be in a class.

As to my personal experience with the education in the US, I visited for a long time (and I mean years and years during elementary and some during high school) Yuma, Arizona. My mother's sister lives there, Along (back then) with my 2 cousins. I hung out with them and their classmates during saturday/sunday including the occasional "forced" homework sessions, I say forced because that's how they feel like, and could easily realize that they weren't that different from the mexican educational program. By the time we hit high school, the disparity in subjects like Math became bigger in my favor believe it or not, enough that I had to explain some probability and statistic concepts to my cousin.

I'll leave it at this at the moment because there is a series of Ideas I'd like to write down, but need to find the right way to put it.

watch out for he heat, that's the biggest surprise for newcomers to those areas and heatstroke is a sneaky SOB.
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  #68  
Old 18.12.2011, 07:04
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Re: Leaving Switzerland (mostly due to schooling)

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Thanks for the reply kodokan, it just strikes me as odd that's all.

It's interesting to see how they talk to you, this bias and impressions I would surely never hear openly without a diatribe of apologetical "But not you, the others" or "but that's not how I think".
I know just what you mean - I had this once or twice in Switzerland, when friends were complaining about their kids' classes being full of foreigners, how difficult it must be for the teacher, how it stops their kid being taught to their full potential due to all the time being sucked up with non-French speakers... and then a sudden pause as they realise to whom they're talking, and then 'but not you, the others' ('others' in this context being 'Eastern Europeans', as my neighbour pointed out quite candidly).

It's difficult... We absolutely define ourselves as 'economic migrants', the people who move to another country to work to better our lives, yet the Poles are vilified in the UK when they do the same. I was first in the line to 'suck up the teaching time' with my non-French speakers. And then I hear about an Albanian boy (older brother of my son's classmate) whose parents had complained when he was streamed into a higher class and had him moved into VSO (ie, the 'leave school at 15 and get a job/ apprenticeship' stream), because that would be plenty of education for him and he needs to be out there earning money for the family. And I thought that I wouldn't want my children to be in a class full of kids whose aspirations were to leave school at 15 and get a minimum wage unskilled job, as peer pressure is killing at that age.

I'm first generation degree-educated - my dad was a postman, my mum did a series of part-time jobs that fitted around childcare - and see nothing wrong with an honest day's manual work, but the world has changed, and I talk to my kids as if university is a given. And I want them to be around other kids who start sentences: 'When I go to university/ college...'

But I see this aspiring peer group notion as entirely separate to race. I couldn't give two hoots if my kids were surrounded by ambitious Mexican kids whose parents were supporting and enabling their dreams of further education. (And I'd be positively delighted if they were surrounded by the sort of top-of-the-class Asian kids who excel in league tables and accept nothing less than excellence ) Whereas here I find the 'oh, Mexicans, they're for the cleaning/gardening/service tasks' view to be deeply uncomfortable. And can't imagine what it must do to the aspirations of the Mexican kids, who see these 'role models' all around them.

At least it explains the reactions of our (Hispanic) unloading crew who moved us into our house. They seemed pleased, but surprised, that we'd laid on cold drinks, snacks and kept offering coffee. And they were positively disbelieving when hubby offered to run out to get them sandwiches at lunchtime.

There's a lot for me to learn over the coming months and years. I'm personally completely ignorant about the Mexican school system, and have no idea whether it's comparable with that of the US (let's face it, I barely understand the US one yet!). To hear people talk here, you'd imagine that kids coming from Mexico were semi-illiterate hoodlums, only interested in pushing drugs on their precious babies. And that even the ones born here were only going through the US system to kill time and pick up enough reading to follow the cleaning instructions.

It's no doubt nonsense, much as what the US people seem to think of Europe is nonsense. But it's appalling, in its petty narrowness of mind. I'm not sure I can find the right words to stress the 'wrongness' of it. Sure, England has racists. But when you hear someone there spouting off a diatribe, there's emotion, there's an element of personal dislike. Here, it's just casual conversation, as if it's a fact of nature. And I can't remember the last time I heard someone English who was educated and urbane making unpleasant racial remarks - they're either not racists, or have the good sense to keep their mouths shut. Here, it's the middle-class, educated professional people that I've barely met talking in this way. My eyes have been opened so much, they're watering.

So I shall read up on the background to this, follow the news, and in the meantime I shall follow Gandhi's 'be the change you want to see in the world' advice and continue to chat pleasantly and offer cool drinks to the people who come by the house to care for the yard and pool.

And I shall keep up my own fluids, to avoid the sneaky 'but I'm not sweating..?' heatstroke.

*Aaaaand now... back on topic!*
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  #69  
Old 18.12.2011, 14:59
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Re: Leaving Switzerland (mostly due to schooling)

Thanks for going into depth, looking for the right words, and your genuine posting..It's interesting to move so far with you, sort of speak, be exposed to what is happening there.

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I had this once or twice in Switzerland, when friends were complaining about their kids' classes being full of foreigners, how difficult it must be for the teacher, how it stops their kid being taught to their full potential due to all the time being sucked up with non-French speakers... and then a sudden pause as they realise to whom they're talking, and then 'but not you, the others' ('others' in this context being 'Eastern Europeans', as my neighbour pointed out quite candidly).
It's not difficult for a good teacher who is not looking for excuses.. CH has a unique way to help out the little immigrants with extra language support, it's intense and efficient. Our FLA teachers are gems.

I wish I didn't have direct experience with this every day, and I don't mean just being one of them, those others , the "Eastern Europeans"..Those who I have in my classes, both either being born here and speaking French, or good English, or those freshly immigrated, the drive for better life through good education is amazing and the edu background they already got back home is solid. I wish people making assumptions, medias feeding this, will change their outlook since it is still hurting the kids.

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It's no doubt nonsense, much as what the US people seem to think of Europe is nonsense. But it's appalling, in its petty narrowness of mind. I'm not sure I can find the right words to stress the 'wrongness' of it.
I think being surrounded by quality peers is important. I always understood the reasons you weren't happy with the local system pushing kids into the world of manual labor and concrete work experiences too fast, sometimes ignoring their talents, wishes and potential, the "learn to swim yourself or chuck your dreams out the window" mindset..

I am sure your kids will find the right peers soon, etc etc. and their sentences transform into "When I go to uni.." since everybody around them will be saying that, too.

On the other hand, the appalling "wrongness" you were talking about, they will certainly be immersed in as well. It is especially scary as there is this push for having it legislated. You buying sandwiches to your Mexican workers will not change it.

Every system has something to shield our kids from and something to support. Racism should never be part of the system, I don't think it officially can be. I would be curious, as your experiences go, to let us know if it shows in the school system and not just in remarks of the folks you have met already.

The first thing I have heard from my ex Texan inlaws was "good, she is white" when looking at me. That sentence made my stomach hurt.
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Old 19.12.2011, 04:14
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Re: Leaving Switzerland (mostly due to schooling)

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I would be curious, as your experiences go, to let us know if it shows in the school system and not just in remarks of the folks you have met already.
I'll keep an eye out generally, but don't think I'll come across much at my kids' school, which is in a resolutely white, professional, middle-class, slightly Mormon sort of area. There seems an awful lot of unofficial segregation of areas/ school here, partly aided by all the schools publishing graphs online breaking down the ethnicity of their pupils!
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Old 19.12.2011, 07:35
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Re: Leaving Switzerland (mostly due to schooling)

Just wanted to say thanks for this really interesting thread kodokan, I look forward to the new posts and continued discussion.
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Old 20.12.2011, 10:29
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Re: Leaving Switzerland (mostly due to schooling)

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And I think there's a sense of community missing in schools here, certainly in ours. The kids never have any contact with others outside of their class. There are no assemblies, no school concerts or plays, nothing for the parents or other family members to attend and applaud. I don't know to what degree this sort of thing happens in the US, but in the UK the school calendar for parents is very geared around 'Harvest Festival in autumn, then a Carol Service and Christmas Play, then perhaps an Easter Bonnet parade for the smaller kids, then the big end of year show in June'.
This comment popped into my mind this morning and made me smile. I have to inform my boss AGAIN today that I have to bail out from the office early due to another Christmas event at school. Cute and lovely these events undoubtably are, they are playing havoc with my end-of-year workload of which the teachers seem to be blissfully unaware. I would love to know where these Swiss schools are that do bugger all for Christmas and we might put in for a transfer...
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Old 20.12.2011, 10:55
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Re: Leaving Switzerland (mostly due to schooling)

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This comment popped into my mind this morning and made me smile. I have to inform my boss AGAIN today that I have to bail out from the office early due to another Christmas event at school. Cute and lovely these events undoubtably are, they are playing havoc with my end-of-year workload of which the teachers seem to be blissfully unaware. I would love to know where these Swiss schools are that do bugger all for Christmas and we might put in for a transfer...
Tell me about it. OH joked yesterday that he'd have to go to part time if many more of these school things came up He left to go to the office at 6.15 this morning so that he could get everything done and be able to leave at 3 this afternoon.
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