English Beats Bilingual in California

Today’s San Jose Mercury News contained a excellent banner headline entitled “English-only test scores up.”

The article in question showed that an extensive analysis of the test scores of individual immigrant students by the newspaper had revealed that those attending schools which had switched to English-oriented curriculum after Prop. 227 showed dramatically greater gains in test results than those which resisted and stayed bilingual.

Schools were divided into those remaining bilingual, those which switched to an English curriculum, and those which fully complied with Prop. 227 by switching to English and rapidly mainstreaming students as they learned the language (usually in less than one year). Hearteningly, the last category of fully compliant schools did the best, with test scores in reading and math being over 50% greater than the bilingual schools. This accords with previous evidence that those school districts which strictly complied with Prop. 227 showed dramatically immigrant greater gains than those which resisted.

Sadly, even after Prop. 227, some 12% of immigrant students in California remain in bilingual programs, though this important study may soon put pressure on these programs. It is clear than no test results can possibly change the minds of those bilingual educators who continue to worship the program, all reality to the contrary; this is seen in the numerous quotes contained in the article.

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