“English” Rising From Coast to Coast

Although my recent travels and organizing efforts on behalf of “English” have focused on Colorado, New York, and Massachusetts, the sorry ship of “bilingual education” appears to be springing numerous additional spontaneous leaks.

Just within the last two weeks, state legislators in Oregon and Rhode Island, inspired by the failure of their local bilingual programs and the success of “English” in California, introduced legislation to shift their states toward an English immersion approach for immigrant students. Furthermore, the Paterson, NJ Herald News carried a powerful front page story of a legal protest by dozens of Hispanic parents, angered that their children have been forced into Spanish-almost-only classes.

As might be expected, these initial efforts appear to have been blocked by the well-organized special interests of the bilingual education industry. However, they do represent a remarkable outpouring of political effort, an outpouring only likely to grow stronger as other states move forward with initiatives or legal challenges. Furthermore, within a few months California will release its third year’s worth of post-Prop. 227 test scores for immigrant students, perhaps confirming the previous pattern of success.

Oregon in particular is one of the most initiative- friendly states in America, and if conditions continue to ripen, a November 2002 “English for the Children” ballot measure appears a very real possibility.

I attach a powerful column by the author of the proposed Rhode Island legislation, and news articles and columns regarding the Oregon effort.

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