On a Wednesday afternoon at Lorah Park Elementary School in Brownsville, a half dozen 4-year-olds are clustered on the carpet trying to keep up with a song on Spanish greetings.
“Y como están?,” their teacher asks once the music stops, slowing things down so they have time to enunciate.
“MUY. BIEN. GRA-CI-AS,” they reply in a chorus. “¿Y USTED?”
In another room, second graders try their hand at a series of dizzying Spanish tongue twisters—“Como poco coco como, poco coco compro.” (Since I don’t eat much coconut, I don’t buy much either.”)