English for the Families of Arizona

The front page of today’s Arizona Republic carried the great story below, revealing that the paper’s statewide poll now showed 74% of voters supporting Prop. 203. Opposition to the measure replacing bilingual education with sheltered English immersion was just 19%. These numbers are even higher than those of the KAET-TV/ASU statewide survey from earlier this week, which showed the initiative ahead by 71% to 21%. If these numbers (implausibly) hold up on Election Day, the result will be an almost unprecedented landslide.

The story also carried an excellent photo from yesterday’s Phoenix press conference, at which the highly-regarded Arizona Rep. Laura Knaperek endorsed the ballot measure. Rep. Knaperek had spent the past three years unsuccessfully attempting to reform bilingual education through the legislative process. With all her efforts politically blocked by the powerful bilingual lobby, she has now recognized that the ballot measure is the only hope of saving the education of over 100,000 Hispanic children in Arizona schools.

Rep. Knaperek also announced that she would sponsor the “English for the Families Act,” redirecting the millions saved by Prop. 203 to fund a statewide system of adult English literacy programs, much like the very successful ones previously established in California by Prop. 227.

The Associated Press story and our press release are also provided below, and here’s a link to the Arizona Republic website, with the great photo from the press conference. http://www.arizonarepublic.com/news/arti cles/0922bilingual22.html

Also in the past few days, the ABC Evening News and CNN both carried excellent stories on the widespread success of Prop. 227 in California. Given the enormous amount of national television coverage in the past month, we are producing a “greatest hits” collection of these network and state news stories. Please notify me if you wish to receive a copy of this video tape, containing stories from ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, Fox, etc.

Finally, in a much sadder note, Oakland Unified, one of the more stubbornly pro-bilingual school districts in California, may soon be fined millions of dollars by the California Department of Education for its failure to teach English to immigrant students. As the article below from the San Francisco Chronicle indicates, over 99.5% of the Oakland students remaining in bilingual classes under waivers failed to learn English last year. Under Prop. 227, Oakland administrators may also soon become personally liable to parental lawsuits, a threat perhaps powerful enough to force them to finally begin obeying the law.

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