Janis Hanson: We don't need a law to push English

Janis Hanson: We don't need a law to push English


Debating a law to declare English as the official language in Wisconsin represents a waste of time for our state Assembly and Senate.

The law is unnecessary. Proponents argue that the law will encourage immigrants to learn English. However, as a teacher for more than 30 years, I met hundreds of immigrants, and not a single person questioned the need to learn English in order to succeed in this country.

Proponents cite economic benefits of an official language law. However, there is no proof of related economic improvement in any state that has adopted such a law.

This is not to say that there are no possible connections between language learning, legislation and the economy. Consider a bill in support of foreign language studies or in support of English-language instruction for adult immigrants.

With our global markets, it would be advantageous to our economy to have a stronger emphasis on the study of foreign languages and cultures. And there are clearly economic advantages to supporting immigrants’ efforts to learn English as quickly as possible.

Janis Hanson, La Crosse


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