Encouraging English

California’s new standardized test scores are not due to be released for another few weeks, but a front-page story in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Daily News carried an encouraging indicator, namely that the number and percentage of immigrant students being reclassified as “English proficient” had reached record levels.

Although “reclassification” is actually a bizarre and meaningless statistic, it is much beloved by bilingual education advocates, and represents their primary means of judging the success or failure of a program. Therefore, it is encouraging that Prop. 227 seems to be succeeding in California’s largest school district by the very measure of its most ardent foes, who are forced to suggest that the results are largely coincidental.

The Daily News story generated a very nice editorial in the Orange County Register on the broader issue of ethnic assimilation, and also a front-page story in the conservative Washington Times.

If the forthcoming and far more meaningful SAT-9 test scores follow this same pattern, perhaps California’s major newspapers—of which only the Register and the Daily News did not strongly oppose Prop. 227—will give appropriate coverage to that story, and even grudgingly admit that a measure which causes a rapid and remarkable rise in immigrant test scores has proven itself of value.

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