On July 29, 1982, school board secretary Oscar Cisneros and I traveled to Washington to testify before U.S. House Subcommittee on Elementary Secondary and Vocational Education. I told the panel that Reagan administration auditors who scrutinized the SAISD books “didn’t even know what bilingual education was suppose to be,” describing their work as “ premeditated effort to publicly mali in the effort of San Antonio School District.” Education Inspector General James B Thomas defended the audit, which elicited this reply from subcommittee Chairman Carl Perkins, an outspoken Kentucky Democrat:
“We have to teach the inspector general to shoot from the hip. Your auditors don’t care how many people’s money they waste. They should get together with the people in the district to go over plans and programs and catch any mistakes before it is too late.”
In September I received a letter from then Vice President George H.W. Bush, with whom I had visited with on my July trip to Washington. In a “thank you for alerting me” theme, the Vice president assured me there would be no loss of the SAISD’s Title VII (bilingual ed) funding.
Our efforts and those of others Texas school districts eventually persuaded President Reagan to withdraw his efforts to cut bilingual education funds, which are vital for students from homes where English is not the primary language, as is the case in many Texas schools. What a great meeting!