Implementation Questions & Answers
In response to repeated inquiries, the following represents the official position of the Proposition 227 leadership on matters of interpretation.
Q: What is “sheltered English immersion” as required under Proposition 227?
A: The initiative is absolutely clear in this regard. Article 2, Section 306 (d) defines a “sheltered English immersion” (or “structured English immersion”) classroom as one in which “nearly all classroom instruction” is in English, with little or no use of the child’s native language. In such a classroom, reading, writing, and subject matter is taught in English during the school day. Teachers may use a minimal amount of the child’s native language when necessary, but no subject matter shall be taught in any language other than English and children in such a program learn to read and write solely in English. This definition accords exactly with the standard definition of “sheltered English” or “structured immersion” found in all educational literature.
Q: Under what circumstances can children who do not know English and are younger than ten receive a waiver to be placed in a program other than “sheltered English immersion?”
A: According to Article 3, Section 310 and 311(c), the following steps must be followed: (a) children must first be placed for at least 30 days in an English language classroom; (b) the parents or legal guardian must personally visit the school to apply for a waiver and be informed of all educational options available; (c) the school principal and educational staff must agree that the child has “such special physical, emotional, psychological, or educational needs” that an alternate program would be beneficial, and a written description of these special needs must be provided. Obviously, no student can be granted a waiver to enter or remain in a bilingual or other program in which standardized test scores (such as the recent STAR test) are significantly lower for students in that program than comparable students enrolled in a regular English-oriented program since such a program is educationally harmful, not beneficial.