My kids both spent time at Milwaukee German Immersion School, and they are better for having done it. It's a public school, but a lot of private schools could learn from the accomplishments of the students who attend. Basically, you have the chance to allow students to learn another language while still maintaining high academic standards. All you have to do is let go of your fears and let them learn.

My in-laws weren't sold on the school. They worried our kids would fall behind in reading, if nothing else, if they only learned in German for their first few years of public schooling. I wasn't worried because I went through the Milwaukee French Immersion School and ended up as an English Major. Eight years after our daughter started at the school and six years after our son did the same, we are in a Lutheran school in Florida, but the results of the immersion program are still with us. The kids can still speak and understand German, and we'll be enrolling them in German 1 Florida virtual school to get high school credits in middle school very soon. Then they can decide if they want to take French or some other high school language while there.

The kids are also doing just fine when it comes to reading in English. Our 12 year-old is reading in the 85th percentile, and our 10 year-old is in the 99th percentile for their grade levels. Both are 90th percentile or above in math and social studies, too. Basically, they are where they should be, whether because of German immersion or in spite of it. Their parents would have had similar test scores at a similar time in life, and we're both college-educated. The kids care about learning and want to do well. MGIS may not have caused all of this, but it certainly did not hinder their learning, and they now have a separate skill because we made the choice for them to learn another language.

I'm not talking about dual-language schools or a Spanish class thrown in a couple times a week here. This is school taught in another language on US soil. Kids will learn just fine, as long as you can find the teachers who know the language and can teach k12. That's the only catch: teachers. They're not going to want to teach at some low-paying charter or private school, so you've got to make it a public school choice or else go all-in with the pay. These are people who can communicate effectively in another language, and they deserve pay that makes sense. If you can make it happen, however, the results will meet expectations.

Oh, you might also want to target the school at parents who are open to languages and have a college education of their own. And a true immersion school will take away from any "academically talented" school you might have. My current town of Jacksonville, FL, might not be as well-suited to this experience as, say, Raleigh or Madison. And your population needs to be fairly stable, so military towns (like Jax) might not fit as well as cities with a stable workforce/economy. That's because once a kid leaves the immersion program, it's very unlikely someone will replace that student. Overall, we are very happy our kids attended Milwaukee German Immersion, they are doing just fine today, and we expect them to do well in the next eight years into college.

Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • Only In Florida: Millionaire Stealing From Kmart
    Where else would a guy who owns an $8 million private island and a Real World House decide to steal from Kmart? Nowhere else. Only in Florida. I thought that it was uniquely Florida when three guys walked right into a Walmart and stole the arcade claw machine, loading it into their pickup truck as if they were going to service it. But those guys were probably unemployed or at least poor, so it was just a badly-hatched plan. So was the plan to buy items at Kmart and then return different items in the boxes. But the Kmart plan was devised by a guy with enough capital to purchase an $8 million island, so it's even more odd.

    With how easily the man was caught, I have to assume he was not a career store scammer. There's no way that someone who tries to steal $300 from Kmart (minus the value of the items that were returned in the boxes) has pulled it off enough to become a millionaire.

    Maybe he figured he'd be safe once on his own island. He could use his new Keurig every morning as he watched the sunrise over the ocean. I assume his new island didn't have a basketball court, since that's the item he stuffed into the coffee maker box when it was returned.

    Normally, people who become millionaires don't steal small stuff, unless it's lots of small stuff, like fraudulent billing of patients of your healthcare company. I wonder if this man can plead the 5th and get out of any responsibility for stealing from Kmart. Perhaps that's all it takes to get away with stealing when you're rich; I wouldn't know.

    Anyhow, no man is an island entire of himself. He needs stuff, even if he is technically living on a private island. I suppose the monthly mortgage on an $8 million island might get a little steep. At 20% down on a 30-year loan, the island would run $30,260 a month. That's probably about what an average Kmart sells in a month. I'm kidding, I think. This guy was probably just strapped for cash after having spent over $1.5 million on a down payment, so he needed some necessities, like a Keurig coffee machine.
  • Followed Home in Jacksonville
    A neighbor was recently followed home by a white SUV, and the comments on Nextdoor were all over the place. I think there are several angles to consider here, even though most of the people commenting were fairly single-minded in how they saw the situation.

    Call the Police
    Most reactions were that of calling the police. This was 1:30 in the morning, and a man was being followed all the way to his home, and when the man turned away, he was also followed right up to the point he entered a 24-hour gas station. One comment was to call the police while being followed. That's good advice, so long as you weren't drinking at your friend's house until 1:30, which I have to assume was the case. When the police show up to help you out, the white SUV will be long gone, and you'll be asked to exit the vehicle for a little test.

    Back in Milwaukee, my car got broken into while I was at a friend's house. We yelled at the kids as they tried to hotwire the car, and then called the police as they ran away. We'd been drinking a little bit, so it was surprising that the cops got the car fully hotwired for me and sent me on my way, broken back window and all. That was 20 years ago and in Milwaukee (Beer Capital of America). I don't expect any breaks like this in Jacksonville, so my advice would be to do exactly what this guy did if you've had a couple of drinks.

    Ask The Police
    Another theory is that the car was an undercover police car "running tags." These folks suggested the man call the police and ask. The problem is that since following someone around and running the tags is probably illegal, even if that was happening, I doubt it would be confirmed. Therefore, asking the police would not get a definitive answer.

    I've personally seen this happen, back in suburban Milwaukee. Cruisers would be at a stop light behind a car and on a laptop. Even though it was considered to be against the rules, it probably happened all the time when those computers were first installed. I think this behavior has been cracked down on to some extent, but an officer might still follow a car with a broken tail light just to see if the driver seems to be swaying around in his lanes, especially at 1:30am.

    Be Relieved
    One neighbor, to the consternation of most other neighbors, said that there was no proof the occupants of the car were up to no good. It's certainly true that no obvious crime occurred, even if most of us would consider following someone at 1:30am to be unacceptable, criminal-like behavior. If nothing else, the intent was to frighten the man. Whether it was a criminal, a cop, or a concerned citizen, when you follow someone all the way home at that hour, you want to frighten the person (or sneak up behind him). Georgia has a stalking law that might be applicable here, but I did not see one for Florida, where stalking is more about "a person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows, harasses, or cyberstalks" someone else. That means that criminals can legally stalk a dozen potential victims each day and never be breaking any law.

    Man or Woman, Do This
    If this kind of thing happens to you, it might seem to make sense to get home. The problem here is that you are leading someone to your house, even if they bail. They might now assume you work a late shift. Maybe they were following you to seek revenge for cutting them off, and they'll tag your garage door later on. And maybe, they'll be faster to the weapon than you.

    Therefore, it's recommended that you lead them back out of your neighborhood, just like the man in the story did. Take them to a public place and call the cops. If you're a little intoxicated, maybe wake up a dozen friends and round up the posse. I'd try to get to a public place where I know there are obvious cameras mounted. Even when you get somewhere more public, it's probably not a good idea to reach for your gun or tire iron right away. At least fake dial and talk on your phone before you get out of the car. You could probably hit the old panic button on the car, too, since noise tends to ward off criminals. At least I'd do some of that stuff before I decide to escalate the situation.