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Striving, in English

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail CO, Colorado

Perhaps the most common complaint lodged against immigrants is their inability to communicate in English.

The influx of immigrants to the Vail Valley, especially over the last 15 years or so, complicates everything from simple transactions at local shops to student achievement in our schools.

So it was heartening to read reporter Matt Terrell’s article in Tuesday’s Vail Daily about the free conversational English classes the Avon-based Literacy Project holds for those who want to learn the local language.

The classes are free and open to anyone, and the people Terrell interviewed sounded eager to be better English-speakers, as any of us native English-speakers would be if we were living in another country.

Immigrant communities in the United States have long been at a disadvantage when it comes to communicating in the workplace or school. Over time, though, the children of immigrants become fluent English-speakers. And the grandchildren of today’s immigrants are likely to have English as their primary language.

This only makes sense. Despite the worries by some in the anti-immigrant cadre, English is still the primary language of this country, and will be for the foreseeable future (with the exception of some restaurants and shops that cater to immigrants, of course).

That drive to learn English has to start somewhere, of course, and for many people, the Literacy Project classes provide either a start, or a steppingstone on the path to learning our country’s dominant language.

We wish both the teachers and the students great success in their efforts.


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