Much of political reporting is of the “he said, she said” variety, the pairing of equally confident but contradictory quotes from either side of a contentious, complex issue.
Certainly, our current dispute with the California State Board of Education over their newly proposed “English” regulations seems to fall into this category.
We say these regulations were due to massive quiet political pressure by the bilingual education industry and its powerful lobby and are intended to restore Spanish-almost-only instruction by nullifying Proposition 227. The members of the California State Board of Education and their staff members publicly deny this. “He said, she said”…
Fortunately, as the front-page article from today’s Los Angeles Times indicates, what these Board members are saying publicly and what they actually believe and say privately are two entirely different things.
Not only does the article quote two members of the State Board as essentially confirming our charges that a massive political drive is currently underway to restore bilingual education in California—the article describes the Board members as requesting anonymity for fear of political reprisals at the hands of bilingual education activists.
Since nearly all the Board members are Democrats appointed by Gov. Gray Davis, they can hardly be making these worrisome charges at my personal behest. Perhaps California Attorney-General Bill Lockyer should offer them bodyguards, or even a spot in a state witness-protection program.
As a minor aside, the Board members also apparently believe that the bilingual education proposals would completely bankrupt California’s schools, destroying the education of some six million students as “collateral damage.”
Based on polls and test scores, opponents of bilingual education clearly have nothing to fear but fear itself, but for over thirty years, this has clearly been sufficient. Such fear continues.
I also include a strong column on the subject by noted conservative commentator Linda Chavez, one of
the earliest public critics of bilingual programs.
I recall that some of my first knowledge of the subject derived from her writings and speeches some twenty years ago, during the early Reagan Administration.
Also, here’s a link to an excellent analysis of the potential politics of the brewing bilingual battle in California by iconoclastic neoliberal Mickey Kaus, former Senior Editor of the New Republic, and current proprietor of Kausfiles.com: http://www.kausfiles.com/#davis227
In addition, I learned yesterday that one of the national cable news channels is working on a story concerning this growing political scandal in California, and that their repeated calls for comment both to the State Board of Education and the Governor’s Office have not been returned.
Perhaps one of the anonymous State Board members quoted in the LA Times story might be willing to go on camera wearing a hood and a voice-scrambler…
- No Habla Democracy
New York Post, Tuesday, February 19, 2002
- The Bilingual Schooling Battle Flares Anew;
Los Angeles Times, Wednesday, February 20, 2002