Yes, from the Meth Lab of Democracy formerly known as the State of Arizona comes word that the state Department of Education, under threat of a civil rights lawsuit, has stopped sending in language finks into classrooms to monitor teacher's English accents
. Seems that a little-known clause in the stinking POS legislation known as "No Child Left Behind" required that all teachers teaching English be "fluent" in English.
Of course, Arizona, unlike the other 49 states, interpreted "fluent" in English to "talk like white people":
“It was a repeated pattern of misuse of the language or mispronunciation of the language that we were looking for,” said Andrew LeFevre, a spokesman for the State Department of Education. “It’s critically important that teachers act as models when it comes to language.”
But the federal review found that the state had written up teachers for pronouncing “the” as “da,” “another” as “anuder” and “lives here” as “leeves here.”
The teachers who were found to have strong accents were not fired, but their school districts were required to work with them to improve their speech. That was the case even when the local school officials had already assessed the teachers as fluent in English.
Hmmm ... strong accents? I wonder if they meant fake a northern Minnesota accent like, oh, Sarah "born and mostly raised in Idaho" Palin or fake west Texas accent like George W. "Born in Connecticut and went to Philips Andover, Yale and Harvard" Bush.
And of course Arizona had brought in as the "fix your accent" contractor Andy "Krieger, an "accent reduction specialist, who, get this, is not from Arizona, not even from the United States, at least not any more, but currently he's from Canada, eh?
And here's how Krieger got his start according to his website
He has also worked in Los Angeles for Warner Bros. and for Central Casting as an extra- casting director, hiring extras for CHEERS, M.A.S.H., PRETTY WOMAN, ROCKY IV, STARGATE: THE NEXT GENERATION and scores of other movies, TV shows, and commercials.
In 1997, while working for the local actor’s union, he was asked by a U.S. film producer to help some Canadian actors with their speaking techniques. That's how he developed the K Method language delivery system that teaches students the right tongue and lip positions to pronounce each word without an accent.
Mr. Krieger, whose website betrays no training of any kind in foreign languages or the teaching of English as a second language, is quoted in the NYT article
Mr. Krieger, who has taught actors, business executives and others from around the world to speak American English, said some of the teachers had what he considered heavy accents.
“I don’t think there was one who didn’t need the help,” he said. “If 10 is really bad, some were 7 or 8, and some were probably 10s.”
Of the several dozen who took his class, he said, five or six made striking progress. But only one teacher, he said, took advantage of his offer to follow up later over Skype.
I think we can assume Canadians in BRITISH Columbia are at least as likely to be fluent in English as the folks in the United States. Krieger's job is to train actors to fool people into thinking they grew up in Palo Alto or some other "accentless" place. That's fine, I'm sure there's a need for that, but wasting time and money with the accents of school teachers isn't part of it.
To be fair to Mr. Krieger, I don't read him to be claiming to be teaching people how to speak English (conjugation, subject-verb agreement, and all that other shit), but rather English-speaking people how to pronounce English in the "American" accent.
(I leave for another day the propriety of the assumption that there is a single "American" accent, or the underlying assumption that failure to employ such an accent is or should be a a concern.)
But that didn't matter to the racists in charge of the state of Arizona, who I'm sure had never heard of Krieger when they came up with this satanic plan. They wanted to harass Hispanic teachers, they came up with the fool idea that having the "right" accent was equivalent to fluency, and they set out to harass the Hispanic teachers, offering these "accent reduction classes" (useful for actors, I suppose) as a smokescreen.