California legislator calls for return to bilingual educations
February 21, 2014
California State Senator Ricardo Lara proposed a ballot measure Thursday that would reverse the state’s ban on multilingual education in public schools. [LA Times]
Sixteen years ago, California voters approved Proposition 227, which requires public schools to instruct students in English. Lara, a Bell Gardens Democrat, has proposed that parents receive a choice as whether to let their children participate in bilingual education.
“English will always remain the official language of California, but we cannot ignore the growing need to have a multilingual workforce,” Lara said. Employers seek multilingual employees and all students — English and non-English learners alike — deserve access to this invaluable skill.”
The percentage of elementary school-age students enrolled in multilingual programs declined from 39 percent in 1997 to 13 percent in 2001 after the law took effect, Lara said.
Lara has the backing of the California Association for Bilingual Education and Californians Together, an organization of parents, teachers, education advocates and civil rights groups.