In November, a measure will be on the ballot in California ending “English immersion” requirements in California Public Schools for “limited English proficient” (LEP) students.
Proposition 58, would re-institute a form of “bilingual education” for limited English proficient students in California. Bilingual education is the practice of teaching non-English-speaking children in their native language, while they are learning English. ProEnglish opposes Prop. 58, believing it is the responsibility of our public schools to teach non-English speaking children English as rapidly as possible.
After 30 years of the bilingual experiment and billions of dollars spent, reliable research shows that these programs fail to teach students the English language and literacy they need for school success. The idea was well-intentioned, but it has proven to be a failure.
Californians have already come to this conclusion.
In 1998, California adopted Proposition 227, the “English in Public Schools” Initiative, a common sense measure changing the way limited English proficient students were taught in California, that favored English immersion, over bilingual education.
Proposition 227 was drafted by Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley software entrepreneur, and Gloria Mata Tuchman, a Santa Ana teacher. The measure was approved on the June 2, 1998 in a statewide primary ballot in California, with 61 percent of voters supporting the measure.
In California, Superintendent of Schools Ken Noonan, former head of the California Association for Bilingual Education, changed his mind completely after the first year of English Immersion in his schools. When he saw how quickly the students learned English and school subjects taught in English, he became a vocal supporter of English language programs.
According to a 2009 analysis, “Hispanic test scores on a range of subjects have risen since Proposition 227 became law.”
ProEnglish will be active this fall in California, educating voters on the benefits of the existing English immersion program and encouraging them to vote NO on Proposition 58.