There's certainly nothing wrong with being multi-lingual, but the way we've conducted bilingual education in this country has been abysmal, more closely resembling monolingual Spanish instruction than anything else. California eliminated bilingual education back in the 1990s, about the same time it got rid of fuzzy math and whole language, but it's making a comeback:
Eighteen years later, Lara is leading a push to reverse a law that he said put a “handcuff” on multilingual education in California when a globalizing economy has made knowing two or more languages a valuable asset.Good luck with that.
Placed on the Nov. 8 ballot by legislators in 2014, Proposition 58 will ask voters to remove the restrictions of Proposition 227. Supporters want to make it easier for schools to establish bilingual programs for both English learners and native English speakers seeking to gain fluency in a foreign language.
Under the measure, school districts will be required to consult with the community on how English learners should be taught, and provide any program, including the existing English-only classes, that enough families request. After nearly two decades of strict statewide standards with limited alternatives, parents and schools would have an array of options – while the Legislature, freed from Proposition 227’s voter decree, would regain a voice in determining future policy around bilingual education.
If it can cut through the noise of an election season heavy with 17 ballot measures, Proposition 58 may be a moment of political déjà vu, as voters again debate the best method for getting California’s 1.4 million English learners – more than a fifth of all public school students in the state – to proficiency.
Supporters of Proposition 227 warn that the new measure is merely an effort to bring back the ineffective bilingual education that Californians already once rejected.We'll see how much California has changed in 18 years.
“It really is sort of like a sneaky trick by politicians in Sacramento,” said Ron Unz, the Silicon Valley software entrepreneur who sponsored Proposition 227.
More than 60 percent of voters in 1998 approved Proposition 227, which required that English learners be placed in a year of special, intensive English instruction before moving into regular classrooms, though it allowed parents to apply for a waiver if they believed their children would learn better in a bilingual program.