Oct. 23, 2002
The voters in Colorado and Massachusetts will have a chance to
vote yes or no on November 5th about bilingual education. This billion
dollar boondoggle is a fraud because it doesn't teach two languages; it
teaches all subjects in Spanish to Mexican-American kids on the failed
theory that they will learn English when they are older.
Bilingual education plays into the hands of the open-borders
faction of both political parties. The Democrats want to keep large
immigrant neighborhoods speaking a foreign language so they can more
easily be instructed how to vote, and because the public school lobby
wants to maintain the jobs of its foreign-language bureaucracy.
Republican businessmen are content with this system because it
provides a steady stream of cheap labor. But most immigrants want
their children to learn English because they know that is the road to
living the American dream.
After nearly 30 years of bilingual-ed failure (a fourth of
California children were still classified as not proficient in
English), California's Proposition 227 to terminate bilingual ed passed
in 1998 by 61 to 39 percent. It stated that "the government and the
public schools of California have a moral obligation and a
constitutional duty to provide all of California's children . . . with
the skills necessary to become productive members of our society, and
of these skills, literacy in the English language is among the most
The liberals rushed into court, playing the race card, to try to
get an activist judge to overturn the vote of the people. Their phony
argument was rejected even by the liberal Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of
Appeals, which ruled on October 7 in Valeria v. Davis that no "racial
animus motivated the passage of Proposition 227."
California has now had three years of dramatically improved test
scores among immigrants as proof that English immersion works better
than bilingual ed. The share of Hispanic students scoring above the
median in reading has risen from 21 to 35 percent, and in math from 27
to 46 percent.
Arizona's voters dumped bilingual education by passing Proposition
203 in November 2000 with a majority of 63 to 37 percent. As he did in
1998 with California's initiative, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ron Unz
led the charge and provided much of the financing to pass the measure.
The Bush Administration, however, countered this popular trend by
actually increasing funding for the bilingual boondoggle. Bush's
famous "No Child Left Behind" Act more than doubled the federal
appropriation for bilingual education: $750 million in FY 2002 and
"such sums as may be necessary for each of the five succeeding fiscal
Rep Tom Tancredo (R-CO) valiantly tried to amend the bill to
require parental consent for their children to be put in bilingual
classes, but the Administration succeeded in watering this down to
Before Prop 227 passed, California schools were mandated to teach
in 42 different languages, and across the country the number is 60.
Just think of the enormous numbers of jobs required and the costs to
the taxpayers of inflicting a stupid system on three and a half million
limited-English-proficiency (LEP) schoolchildren.
Bilingual education is language apartheid. It means that
immigrant children are kept in segregated classrooms for up to 80
percent of the day, often for five to seven years, never learning
This nonsense is also driven by the five-fold increase in the
number of immigrants, legal and illegal, who have entered our country
over the last two decades and been rewarded with taxpayer-financed
benefits such as public schools. Such large numbers result in
ghettoized neighborhoods of non-English-speaking people who do not
assimilate into our culture and who live their daily lives without ever
learning to speak English.
The United States assimilated millions of immigrants over two
centuries by a process now called English immersion. Their children
immediately went into public schools where only English was spoken, so
they learned English rapidly and spoke it without a foreign accent.
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has it figured out right. He
said, "Children need to learn to read and speak good English. This is
an English-speaking country, like it or not."
Our laws require that naturalized citizens must demonstrate "the
ability to read, write, and speak words in ordinary usage in the
English language." We hope all immigrants realize that they can't
become Americans unless they speak English.
Colorado's Amendment 31 and Massachusetts' Question 2 give their
voters the opportunity on November 5 to kill state funding for the
failed system and adopt the English-immersion system that works.