As many of you may have noticed, much of the immediate press coverage following the release of the new post-227 student test scores seemed to miss the forest for the trees. The general focus seemed to be on whether the 20% rise in California’s immigrant student test scores after seven months of Prop. 227 instruction was “significant” enough to declare Prop. 227 a clear success—we said yes, opponents of Prop. 227 said no.
But since those same opponents had predicted educational disaster if Prop. 227 passed and bilingual programs were dismantled, the actual verdict from the test scores seems as clear as can be imagined.
The analysis below from Washington DC’s prestigious National Journal makes this point very clearly. It also argues that the most important impact of the California results is to remove the logical foundation behind bilingual programs nationwide, and to set the stage for their rapid elimination.
We must remember that native-language programs for immigrants in public schools have always been extremely controversial and extremely unpopular. Their only defense has been that they were necessary for student success and that their removal would cause plummeting test scores. Now California has eliminated that argument.
- California’s Language Wars, Part II
National Journal, Saturday, July 31, 1999