On Thursday, I participated in an Arizona State University debate on Prop. 203, bringing back fond memories of my California campaign for Prop. 227.
Just as in 1998, there were hundreds of chanting student demonstrators who arrived after participating in a protest march, the debate audience seemed just as uniformly hostile, and the arguments made by the featured opponents—a bilingual education professor and a bilingual education teacher—were virtually identical to those made in 1998. According to them, bilingual education worked, and anyway the monstrous wording of Prop. 203 would outlaw sign language programs for the deaf, etc.
One major difference was that in 1998, bilingual opponents of Prop. 227 regularly denounced the measure as foisting an unproven, untried educational method on California schools. But this being 2000, our Arizona debate opponents went further, describing the English immersion programs established in California as having now become a tried and proven FAILURE.
I therefore asked my opponents why such a dreadful educational failure had recently been proclaimed such a remarkable educational success on the front- page of the New York Times. They responded that I was very good at PR, and had simply fooled the Times on the matter. I then asked why all the other national journalists who had investigated the results in California had unanimously reached the same conclusion—the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, and all the major television networks. They responded that I was very, very good at PR, and had successfully mesmerized every major journalist in America into ignoring the failure of Prop. 227.
Perhaps even this hypothesis actually understates my hypnotic abilities, which based on developments in New York, apparently extend through both time and space.
As indicated in a previous note, a 1995 New York Times editorial described bilingual education as a “prison” for immigrant students, long before I had even begun my California campaign. The conservative New York Post has regularly denounced bilingual education over the years. Just a few days ago, the liberal New York Daily News published its third recent lead editorial denouncing bilingual education, and (this time) criticizing Mayor Rudolph Giuliani for his seeming lack of determination on the issue.
Now Newsday, the fourth of New York’s four daily newspapers, has run an editorial also urging that New York replace its bilingual programs with California-style English immersion. Since I have never met nor even spoken with a member of the Newsday editorial board, my hypnotic powers must be remarkable indeed.
Perhaps the 40% jump in mean percentile immigrant test scores in California since 1998 is similarly due to hypnosis.
- Kids Learn Better When They’re Taught in English, Editorial
New York Newsday, Tuesday, October 24, 2000