As a Hoboken parent with two young children, I think that the new Hola program would be terrific addition to the Hoboken Public School system. We live in an increasingly global marketplace. The ability for children to speak fluently in two languages will be a tremendous asset. Study after study has shown that language skills are most easily acquired while children are young. Dual-language education also has a proven track record of turning in impressive academic performance.
As with any program, Hola will not be for everyone. Some opposition to Hola stems from legitimate concerns on costs. As a taxpayer I, too, am concerned with costs. But because Hola will be predominantly paid for from a fund already set aside to pay for new academic programs (Special Programs), my taxes aren’t going up as a result of Hola. And if Hola doesn’t exist, my taxes will not go down, either. Hola only helps to ensure that the Special Program Funds, that have already been budgeted, are put towards their intended purpose. That purpose is to help develop and implement new and innovative programs that improve the Hoboken Public Schools.
The other main point of opposition is a serious and valid concern about the middle- and high-school grades. Some parents feel that the board should be singularly focused on improving academics in those grades. The idea, I suppose, is that any new program money should only go to the older grades and zero to the younger grades. This is at best short-sighted and at worst a destructive amount of selfishness.
What Hola can do for all parents is to offer a very effective roadmap about how to identify a need and work tirelessly within the system and try to make it happen. The parents who have put Hola together have developed this program through hard work, deep research and a willingness to put in work for nearly a year without any assurance that the program will be approved. Those interested in improving other aspects of our public school system can learn from the lessons of the Hola team and invest the time and effort to develop other programs that will improve the Hoboken Public School system.