WHITE HOUSE OPPOSES BILINGUAL INITIATIVE

WHITE HOUSE OPPOSES BILINGUAL INITIATIVE

WASHINGTON, APRIL 27 (UPI) _ PRESIDENT CLINTON IS OPPOSING A POPULAR BALLOT INITIATIVE IN CALIFORNIA TO BAN BILINGUAL EDUCATION.
SPOKESMAN MIKE MCCURRY SAID TODAY CLINTON INSTEAD WANTS STATES TO CONTINUE SUCH PROGRAMS FOR AT LEAST THREE YEARS TO ENSURE SCHOOL CHILDREN LEARN ENGLISH.
AT THE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, SECRETARY RICHARD RILEY OUTLINED THE ADMINISTRATION EFFORT OFFICIALS BELIEVE IS A LESS EXTREME APPROACH.
THE REFERENDUM, PROPOSITION 227, WOULD REPLACE THE STATE’S VARIOUS BILINGUAL PROGRAMS, SOME OF WHICH CAN LAST FOR YEARS, WITH A ONE-YEAR IMMERSION IN ENGLISH INSTRUCTION FOR THOSE WITH LIMITED PROFICIENCY. THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY OF STUDENTS THEN WOULD BE SHIFTED INTO ENGLISH-SPEAKING CLASSROOMS.
THE MEASURE ON THE JUNE 2 BALLOT ENJOYS CONSIDERABLE SUPPORT, GARNERING 70 PERCENT IN A RECENT POLL. BUT CRITICS CLAIM THOUGH IT HAS THE SUPPORT OF SOME HISPANICS, IT IS THE LATEST IN A STRING OF CALIFORNIA INITIATIVES TINGED WITH RACISM.
MCCURRY SAID IT WOULD IMPOSE AN OVERLY RIGID TIME FRAME ON STUDENTS AND REMOVE THE FLEXIBILITY OF SCHOOLS AND TEACHERS TO DESIGN THE MOST APPROPRIATE PROGRAMS FOR LOCAL NEEDS.
HE SAID, “COMMUNITIES NEED TO MAKE THESE DECISIONS BASED ON WHAT’S BEST FOR THEIR PUBLIC SCHOOL POPULATION, AND TRYING TO ADOPT A SINGLE MODEL OF HOW THIS SHOULD WORK IS NOT USEFUL.”
CLINTON PREVIOUSLY OPPOSED PROPOSITION 209, THE 1996 PROPOSAL TO SLASH AFFIRMATIVE ACTION, WHICH PREVAILED AMONG THE VOTERS. TWO YEARS EARLIER, HE OPPOSED PROPOSITION 187, WHICH WOULD BAR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS FROM GETTING MOST STATE BENEFITS. EVEN THOUGH IT PASSED IN 1994, LEGAL CHALLENGES HAVE KEPT MOST OF ITS PROVISIONS FROM BEING IMPLEMENTED.
27-04-98

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