Prop 58: Non English Language Allowed in Public School


Oct 20, 2016 (San Diego) Teaching a foreign language in Public Schools has always been somewhat controversial in American schools. This was designed by legislators, among them AD-80 Lorena Gonzalez, to repeal the English Immersion requirements in California Public Schools. It was referred by the legislators to the voters.

According to Ballotpedia:

Proposition 58 would no longer require English-only education for English learners. Schools would be allowed to utilize multiple programs, including bilingual education. In bilingual programs, students learn from teachers who speak both their native language and English. Furthermore, parental waivers would no longer be needed to take non-English-only classes. If requested by enough parents, schools would be required to offer specific English learner programs. School districts and county offices of education would ask for annual feedback on English learner programs from parents and community members.

However, the initiative also maintains the requirement that students become proficient in English. This bill also recognizes the role of a multilingual population in a global economy. It recognizes that companies are hiring people who speak multiple languages and that the command of a foreign language is also critical for national security.

Locally this is supported by Lorena Gonzalez. and termed out Senator Marti Block. It is also supported by San Diego State University.

Supporters make the following arguments:

  • The proposition would allow all students to become proficient in English as soon as possible.
  • The proposition would encourage schools to use instruction programs rather than expand multilingual education, thereby providing English speakers the opportunity to learn a second language.
  • The proposition would restore local control for California schools.
  • The proposition’s changes would prepare students more effectively for the future.
  • Multilingual education encourages “intercultural interactions and empathy.

Opponents state as follows, and are led by the Republican Party:

  • The proposition would repeal the requirement that California children be taught English in public schools.
  • The proposition would lift restrictions on the California legislature making future changes, enabling the legislature to reestablish Spanish-Almost-Only instruction in public schools.
  • The proposition would overturn policies that actually improved language education.

This is one of those cases where i can speak from personal experience. and give examples from other countries. I am multilingual, and that has not hurt me. In fact it is an advantage. In a globalized economy, having at least two, if not three languages is a good thing.

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