California Multilingual Education Bill on November Ballot

Proposition 58 the California Multilingual Education Act will be on California’s November ballot. The measure was referred to the voters by the California State Legislature and, if passed, will repeal most of the provisions of 1998’s Proposition 227 that restricted bilingual education in the state’s schools.

Will make students more attractive to employers

The argument for voting “yes” is focused on the 2.7 million children in California public schools whose family speaks a language other than English at home. It will encourage children to be multilingual and enhance California’s economy by increasing the talent of the workforce. The measure would retain the requirement that public schools ensure that students become proficient in English.
"In an increasingly interconnected global economy, we have to prepare our students for a future in which their success depends not only on an ability to understand diverse perspectives and cultures, but also on an ability to communicate in different languages. Employers seek multilingual employees and all students – English and non-English learners alike – deserve access to this invaluable skill." — State Sen. Ricardo Lara
Proponents argue that restrictions of Prop. 227, which Prop. 58 would repeal, have actually harmed all children by restricting the ability to use the latest teaching techniques for language instruction.
Helps students become assimilated into society
Those arguing for a “no” vote claim that the effects of Prop. 227 have been effective and have enhanced the opportunities for non-native English speaking students as a result of the requirements that teaching in public schools is done in English, and that student must meet English proficiency requirements. They argue that in a bilingual teaching environment, non-English speaking students would be segregated from the rest of the student body and make it more difficult for these students to become assimilated into society.
Those in favor of a “no” vote cite studies that showed that performance of California students increased on national test scores following the implementation of Prop. 227.
"The academic performance of over a million immigrant students roughly doubled in the four years following the passage of Proposition 227." — Ron Unz
In 1998, Prop 227 that required that the instructional language used in California public schools was approved by a margin of 61 to 39 percent. Exit polls showed that only 37 percent of Latino’s voted for the measure. The vote to refer the measure to the voters was approved by the California Legislature on a strict party-line vote with Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed.

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