Initiatives have broad-based support

Initiatives have broad-based support by Ron Unz
Denver Post (Letters), Sunday, August 25, 2002

Re ‘The Millionaire’s Club; Why leave ballot initiatives to the rich?’ Aug. 18 Perspective.

I must respond to Daniel A. Smith’s rather ignorant piece criticizing our initiative to dismantle bilingual education in Colorado.

Mr. Smith disparages our measure by suggesting that there has been no public outcry on the issue. But this statement indicates either Mr. Smith’s personal bias or his lack of investigation.

Any quick check of Nexis would reveal that Colorado’s two largest newspapers carried a total of nearly 200 different stories on bilingual education during the four years before I even became involved in the effort, and about another 100 during the last year alone. For years, controversies surrounding Colorado bilingual programs have been the subject of major national media coverage, which is how I myself learned of them.

Also, during the past year, five separate statewide polls by Colorado media organizations have shown that two-thirds of voters consistently support replacing native language instruction with intensive English immersion.

These polls are reinforced by the fact that Rita Montero, who leads English for the Children of Colorado, placed second in a Denver School Board race despite not even being a candidate. Our initiative petition drive gathered 140,000 signatures in just six weeks, a truly remarkable achievement.

If Mr. Smith and his small circle of friends have no interest in the issue, perhaps he should broaden his horizons a little.

Finally, Mr. Smith suggests that I am financially supporting this Colorado initiative for ulterior motives of personal political advancement. Since I don’t live in Colorado and have absolutely no plans to move there and run for office, this is a very strange argument indeed.

I would suggest that Mr. Smith more closely follow minimal academic standards of research and analysis before writing his next article.

Ron Unz is the chairman of English for the Children.


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