A Cambodian-born teacher, fired for poor English proficiency, is challenging the Massachusetts law that requires public school teachers to speak English fluently. From the Lowell Sun:
(Phanna Rem) Robishaw was teaching elementary school in Cambodia when her village was taken over by the Khmer Rouge. After marrying, she immigrated to the U.S. and in 1992, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Westfield State College.
By 2002, Robishaw had taught for 17 years in Massachusetts and accrued 54 master’s degree credits for accreditation in different fields of teaching. That same year, Robishaw began teaching at the Greenhalge School. After several years as a transitional bilingual teacher, she was assigned as a classroom teacher.
Her English is “utterly incomprehensible,” wrote a lower-court judge.
I’d guess that her bilingual teaching was done exclusively in her native language. Let’s hope she had an English-speaking co-teacher.