Prop. 227 Wins Again: No New News

Yesterday’s papers carried several brief accounts of the decision of the Ninth Circuit Federal Court of Appeals eliminating the last significant remaining legal challenge to Proposition 227.

That measure had required that under normal circumstances “nearly all” classroom instruction for immigrant students be in English. Teachers and administrators who violate these provisions may be sued by parents and held personally liable. Unsurprisingly, this extremely potent enforcement provision was immediately denounced as monstrously unconstitutional and challenged in federal court by the powerful California Teachers Association, which lost its last plausible appeal yesterday.

Once again, a major public event—the complete victory of Proposition 227 and its unprecedented enforcement mechanism over California’s most powerful union in the important and generally liberal Ninth Circuit—went almost unnoticed in the media. The once-controversial Proposition 227, which inspired so much alarmist rhetoric in 1997 and 1998, has now become a completely established part of California’s education landscape, with an unbroken series of favorable federal court rulings underpinning its legitimacy. A defeat in court would have made headlines; just another victory is “no new news.”

This underlying reality is even acknowledged by the small and dwindling band of California’s fanatic bilingual education holdouts, who—much like those Japanese soldiers who continued to fight the Second World War long after Sony and Toyota had conquered America in a far different manner—refuse to acknowledge that their religious cult has been unmasked as fraudulent and rejected by almost everyone except themselves.

One of the most energetic of these cult members is Jill Kerper Mora, an intellectually unimpressive professor of bilingual education studies who lives in the same general area where other cult members committed mass suicide in 1997 when their expected UFO failed to arrive in the tail of a comet. However, instead of drinking poison, Prof. Mora chooses to write endless letters to the editor, typically denouncing all the national media for its completely biased coverage of her bilingual faith.

Her op-ed below continues that tradition, also citing the recent work of Prof. Kenji Hakuta of Stanford allegedly “debunking” the media’s unanimous verdict on the success of “English.” The extraordinary hunger of these bilingual activists for even the smallest shred of hope is shown by the recent reaction to a short note which Prof. Hakuta added to his personal web page while on vacation in Hawaii: without closely checking the facts, he mistakenly suggested that pro-“English” Oceanside had performed poorly on this year’s test scores. Within just 48 hours, that casual and mistaken internet posting was being distributed by bilingual activists throughout Arizona and the rest of America as formal research conclusively “proving” the failure of Proposition 227, a development that astonished and horrified the good professor when we recently had lunch at the Stanford Faculty Club.

UFO-worshippers are notoriously desperate to see their rescue ship in the tail of every approaching comet, and bilingual worshippers in every casual internet posting.

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