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Proposition 227

            The result of California election on June 4th, 1998 was predicted all along. Proposition 227, also known as the anti-bilingual education measure, won in 61% favorable to 39% unfavorable contest. In a seemingly routine contest, the proposition brought out one of the most disparaging groups of supporters and critics, displaying passion for their causes in rallies, forums, debates and TV ads. This paper examines proposition 227 and its controversy. Then, it proposes what might have been a compromise that satisfied the supporters and the critics alike. After a small protest by some dissatisfied Hispanic American parents on their children's bilingual education, Ron Unz, the Chairman of English for the Children wrote and spearheaded a movement for Proposition 227. Under the premise that bilingual education had not relieved high dropout rates and low English literacy of many immigrant children in last 20 years, Proposition 227 advocated a new way of education for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) children. It mandated a uniform solution for all LEP children in that all children will be placed in English language classrooms where "the language of instruction used by the teaching personnel is overwhelmingly the English language, and in which such teaching personnel possess a good knowledge of the English language." Children who are English learners will be educated through sheltered English immersion during maximum of 1 year. The sheltered English immersion program meant "nearly all classroom instruction is in English but with the curriculum and presentation designed for children who are learning the curriculum and presentation designed for children who are learning the language." Passing of such proposal meant virtual elimination of bilingual education in California. The biggest critics of proposition 227 are teachers. They claim that the premise of Proposition 227 epitomizes ignorance. First example is a clause in the measure that allows maximum of a year for sheltered English immersion.

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