English, Dan Rather, and Damn Lies in Arizona

On Tuesday, the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather carried another fine story on the outstanding educational results of California’s English immersion program under Prop. 227, and the strong prospects that Prop. 203 will establish a similar system in Arizona this November.

As the story notes, the entire bilingual education industry—textbook publishers, university professors, and teachers—is desperately fighting this threat to its existence, but the growing weight of hard evidence in favor of English immersion appears likely to erase it from American classrooms. The Osgood File, also on CBS, carried a very similar story around the same time.

The desperate efforts of these bilingual profiteers is discussed in the second article, a piece by an Arizona Republic columnist generally friendly to the bilingual education forces. It describes the dishonest tactics used by the pro-bilingual advertising campaign— “exaggerate,” “distort,” “frighten”—in other words lie, and never, never mention the word “bilingual education” or refer to the Spanish-language. The column notes that funding for the advertising campaign comes from gambling casino revenues, which similarly rely on human ignorance for their existence.

Finally, the Arizona Republic last month published a factually careless and surprisingly nasty editorial denouncing Prop. 203 as a “poisonous” import from California. Last week, Maria Mendoza and Hector Ayala, statewide leaders of Arizona’s English for the Children campaign, published a powerful rebuttal. I am attaching both pieces, allowing readers to judge for themselves where the weight of the logic and evidence lies.

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