Sunday, May 28, 2017

California Reverses Decision on Bilingual Education

Kristin Kinkel is a former cheerleader and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. In her work, Kristin Kinkel assisted English language learners who spoke various languages including Japanese and Spanish. 

The debate over bilingual education came to a head in California 20 years ago, when disagreements about immigration transformed education policy. In 1998, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 227, the English in Public Schools Initiative. 

This legislation reshaped the way students who do not speak much English are educated throughout the state. Specifically, the law ended bilingual education for students classified as Limited English Proficient (LEP). California began educating these students in English only and reduced their access to special support classes. 

In November of 2016, California voters reversed this decision. Proposition 58 passed with 73-percent approval, showing widespread support for the return to bilingual education. 

This will allow many of California's 1.4 million ESL students to learn in two languages, improving their English while they develop skills in their native tongue. California's new policies, set to take effect in July, are being fine-tuned.