BILINGUAL BILL VETOED

Paolo Gambi, Rinascimento poetico

BILINGUAL BILL VETOED

SACRAMENTO, CALIF., MAY 18 (UPI) _ CALLING BILINGUAL EDUCATION A “SERIOUS FAILURE,” GOV. PETE WILSON HAS VETOED A BILL THAT WOULD HAVE ALLOWED LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO DESIGN THEIR OWN PROGRAMS FOR CALIFORNIA’S 1.4 MILLION ENGLISH LEARNERS.
WILSON ALSO ENDORSED PROPOSITION 227 ON THE JUNE 2 BALLOT, WHICH WOULD LARGELY REPLACE BILINGUAL EDUCATION WITH THE SINGLE ALTERNATIVE OF ENGLISH IMMERSION CLASSES.
SAID WILSON, “BILINGUAL EDUCATION IN CALIFORNIA HAS BEEN A SERIOUS FAILURE. IT HAS DONE A SERIOUS DISSERVICE BY KEEPING LEP (LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENT) STUDENTS DEPENDENT ON THEIR PRIMARY LANGUAGE FOR FAR TOO LONG. BY DENYING THEM EARLY FLUENCY IN ENGLISH, BILINGUAL PROGRAMS HAVE SERIOUSLY SHORT-CHANGED THESE CHILDREN EDUCATIONALLY.”
SEN. DEDE ALPERT, D-SAN DIEGO, HAD REFUSED TO CONSIDER MAJOR REVISIONS IN HER BILL, SAYING SHE WAS UNWILLING TO START OVER AND BETRAY THE TRUST OF THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE WORKED ON IT FOR FOUR YEARS.
WILSON PRAISED ALPERT FOR TRYING TO DEAL WITH ONE OF THE THORNIEST PROBLEMS IN CALIFORNIA, BUT SAID THE BILL EVOKES THE SPIRIT OF THE OLD BILINGUAL LAW AND PROGRAMS THAT HE CONSIDERS A FAILURE.
BESIDES AUTHORIZING LOCAL CONTROL, THE ALPERT BILL WOULD HAVE MANDATED ANNUAL ASSESSMENTS OF STUDENTS’ ENGLISH-LEARNING PROGRESS AND AUTHORIZE A STATE BILINGUAL TEACHER PROGRAM. DISTRICTS WOULD HAVE BEEN REQUIRED TO REVISE THEIR METHODS IF THEY WEREN’T MEETING DISTRICT-WIDE ACADEMIC ACHIEVMENT AVERAGES.
18-05-98

WILSON VETOES BILINGUAL EDUCATION ALTERNATIVE
SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA (AP) _ GOV. PETE WILSON VETOED A BILL MONDAY GIVING SCHOOLS THE FREEDOM TO SELECT ANY APPROACH TO BILINGUAL EDUCATION, AND ENDORSED A BALLOT INITIATIVE THAT WOULD TEACH IMMIGRANT CHILDREN ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH.
“BILINGUAL EDUCATION IN CALIFORNIA HAS BEEN A SERIOUS FAILURE,” WILSON WROTE IN VETOING THE BILL. “(THE BILL) FAILS TO PROVIDE MUCH HOPE OF IMPROVEMENT.”
UNDER THE CURRENT SYSTEM, IMMIGRANT CHILDREN ARE TAUGHT PRIMARILY IN THEIR FIRST LANGUAGE, AND ENGLISH IS GRADUALLY INTRODUCED.
THE QUESTION ON THE JUNE 2 BALLOT KNOWN AS PROPOSITION 227 REQUIRES SCHOOLS TO OFFER A ONE-YEAR TRANSITION CLASS FOR THE STATE’S 1.3 MILLION “LIMITED ENGLISH-PROFICIENT” STUDENTS. AFTER THAT, THE STUDENTS WOULD BE PLACED IN REGULAR, ENGLISH-SPEAKING CLASSES.
THE BILL WILSON VETOED WOULD HAVE ALLOWED SCHOOL DISTRICTS TO KEEP THE CURRENT SYSTEM, USE THE “ENGLISH IMMERSION” TECHNIQUE ADVOCATED BY PROPOSITION 227 OR DEVELOP AN APPROACH OF THEIR OWN.
WILSON ISSUED A SEPARATE STATEMENT ANNOUNCING HIS SUPPORT FOR PROPOSITION 227, SAYING THE EDUCATION ESTABLISHMENT HAD HAD ITS CHANCE “AND CLEARLY FAILED.”
BUT THE BACKERS OF PROPOSITION 227 WERE LESS THAN THRILLED TO HAVE THE SUPPORT OF THE REPUBLICAN GOVERNOR.
WILSON ALIENATED MANY IMMIGRANTS WITH HIS SUPPORT OF PROPOSITION 187, A 1994 BALLOT MEASURE DENYING MOST SOCIAL SERVICES TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. IN CONTRAST, RECENT POLLS FIND PROPOSITION 227 IS SUPPORTED BY ABOUT HALF OF THE LATINO HOUSEHOLDS SURVEYED.
“IT IS VERY UNFORTUNATE THAT THE GOVERNOR HAS CHOSEN TO ENDORSE OUR INITIATIVE,” SAID RON UNZ, AUTHOR OF PROPOSITION 227.
DEMOCRATIC SEN. DEDE ALPERT, WHO SPONSORED THE VETOED BILL, CRITICIZED PROPOSITION 227 FOR IMPOSING A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL SOLUTION FOR CALIFORNIA, WHERE SCHOOLS RECOGNIZE 55 LANGUAGES AND MORE DIALECTS ARE SPOKEN ON PLAYGROUNDS AND IN CAFETERIAS.
“IT WOULD BE SAD FOR THAT INITIATIVE TO PASS BECAUSE THE LEGISLATURE AND THE GOVERNOR HAVE NOT DONE THEIR JOBS,” SHE SAID.
ALPERT’S BILL WOULD HAVE BEEN LARGELY SUPERSEDED BY PROPOSITION 227. BUT IF PROPOSITION 227 WERE CHALLENGED IN COURT AND SUSPENDED, THE BILL WOULD HAVE TAKEN EFFECT.
19 MAY 98

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