As America’s national newspaper of record, the New York Times carries the important responsibility of evaluating the nature and significance of regional events, and providing that information to policy- makers throughout the country.
I am therefore very pleased that today’s edition of the Times carries a long front-page story on California’s new immigrant test scores in the wake of Prop. 227, which began the dismantling of bilingual education in 1998.
Although two years is far too short a time to form a conclusive judgment, the average 50% increase in mean percentile test scores for over a million immigrant children in California schools is highly encouraging. Even more encouraging is that those individual districts such as Oceanside Unified which most strictly complied with the provisions of Prop. 227 also seemed to register the greatest gains, gains of even 100% or more in some cases. http://www.onenation.org/0008/startestsc ores.html
In several grades, Oceanside’s immigrant students— many the children of impoverished Spanish-speaking farm-workers often just recently arrived from Mexico—are now fast approaching the academic performance of America’s white, suburban English- speaking students. Furthermore, this transformation took place in less than two years and with no additional funding.
Given these facts, it seems reasonable that a wholesale and thorough replacement of bilingual education with English immersion throughout America might have a similarly rapid impact on the educational prospects of millions of other Latino students from Texas to Tennessee.
Since both Presidential campaigns have trumpeted their desire both to improve education and to assist immigrants, perhaps one or the other will read the front-page of the New York Times and draw some appropriate conclusions.
- Test Scores Rise, Surprising Critics of Bilingual Ban
New York Times, Sunday, August 20, 2000, FRONT PAGE