Thursday, June 19, 2008

Oregon's Attack on Bi-Lingual Ed

Following the lead of California's infamous Proposition 227 that attacked bi-lingual education in the state, anti-immigrant forces in Oregon have placed a similar initiative on their November ballot. Edward Walsh writes in the Oregonian:

Two more initiatives sponsored by conservative activists have qualified for the Nov. 4 general election ballot.

One would allow bigger deductions on state income taxes, shrinking the state budget by more than $1.7 billion. The other initiative, part of a broader battle over immigration policy, would limit the amount of time non-English-speaking students can be taught in their native language.

Both initiatives are sponsored by Bill Sizemore, a veteran anti-tax activist, and Russ Walker, vice chairman of the Oregon Republican Party and state director of a Washington, D.C-based conservative advocacy group.

The English language initiative states that its goal is "to insure the cessation of the long-term English as a Second Language programs currently in use in many" Oregon public schools. The limits on teaching in a language other than English would range up to two years for students entering high school, with lesser amounts of time allowed for younger students. Click here for the rest of the story.

Mary Ann Zehr, of Education Week, points out the anti-immigrant overtones of these types of initiatives, and reminds us of Ron Unz's role in similar initiatives in California and elsewhere. She notes that immigrant rights organizations are opposing the Oregon initiative. Click here.


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