Out of the mainstream

California’s bilingual education advocates still want to keep Latino students in separate classes, writes Jill Stewart in the Orange County Register.

Under Proposition 227, immigrant children were only supposed to stay in special immersion for a year or so, then go to mainstream class. But (Superintendent Jack) O’Connell has refused to credit English immersion for soaring English literacy rates. His silence emboldens the anti-English ideologues who still strive to keep Latino kids in a separate world.

. . . Year after year, he’s failed to crunch data that could compare kids still stuck in “bilingual” to those in English immersion. The state Board of Education finally ordered O’Connell to produce a study withthat in mind.

While we wait, I did my own study. I found that school districts like Los Angeles Unified – where moderate Democrats stamped out failing bilingual education amidst fierce lefty resistance – are producing big, lasting gains in English literacy. By contrast, districts controlled by left-wing Democrats with an attitude of “they won’t be able to talk to grandma!” are producing smaller gains.

I think the primary force keeping students out of mainstream classes is the reluctance of school districts to give up extra money for educating English Learners.

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