The B Word Project: Prop 58 Teaching English in School
Prop 58: An Explanation By CSULB B Word Team A
California Prop 58 is a proposition that repeals the 1998 Proposition 227, titled “English in Public Schools.” Proposition 58 was designed by legislators to repeal the English-only immersion requirement and waiver provisions required by Proposition 227 of 1998. In English-only programs, students learn subjects from teachers who speak only in English. Proposition 227 required English learners to take one year of intensive English instruction before transitioning to English-only classes (Ballotpedia).
Prop 58 would no longer require English-only education for English learners. According to the ballot measure on the website for the Secretary of State, the proposition still preserves the requirement that public schools ensure students obtain English language proficiency. It also requires school districts to solicit parent/community input in developing language acquisition programs. The Proposition also requires instruction to ensure English acquisition as rapidly and effectively as possible. There’s also language to authorizes school districts to establish dual–language immersion programs for both native and non–native English speakers.
The Fiscal Impact of Prop 58
According to Secretary of State’s online ballot statement, there would be no notable fiscal effect on school districts or state government.
Prop 58 Pro and Con Arguments
Prop 58 is supported once again by several teachers unions and associations as well as various academic institutions. The supporters also include the California Democratic Party, the California Labor Federation, California Professional Firefighters, and California Nurses Association, as well as many Democratic state politicians.
The opposition consists mostly of the California Republican Party, the Libertarian Party of California, and Ron Keeva Unz who originally supported Prop 227. According to Ballotpedia, supporters of Prop 58 have donated about $1.12 million dollars while there have not been any donations from the opposition.
- Certifies that all students, K-12, can reach a proficient level standing in English as rapidly as possible. It will require from local school districts to point out their Annual K-12 Local Control and Accountability Plans of the instructional methods they will offer to the students. Also requires that schools offer a structured English engagement program to English learners, but the schools can implement other language methods, however, based on research and sponsor input. Further, school districts must seek input from educators, parents and the community.
- This proposition will “restore local control to our schools and give parents a bigger voice”. It will remove decades-old legal restrictions enforced on local school districts. This will allow the school districts to choose the most effective language instruction methods to help our students learn.
- Through Prop 58, parents will have the ability to decide which language acquisition program is best for their child. Once the school district decides on the language courses it will offer, parents will therefore be consulted. “Parents may also join with other parents to request a specific language instruction program at their school”.
- It “provides a better future for our children and our state”. In the 21st century, the economy is constantly changing every day, so the sector of technology has to be considered. Technological advancements are what is shifting the rapid change within the economy, for example, small businesses can have a global reach to potential consumers via the Internet and other applications. Students who have a proficient level in English and a second language will be “more employable, start out earning higher wages, and make California’s workforce better prepared to compete for jobs in the global economy”.
- Prop 58 has “broad-based support from local school districts, educators, parents and employers”. Support for Proposition 58’s common sense reforms to improve language instruction in our schools is broad-based and includes: local school boards (the California School Boards Association), teachers (the California Language Teachers’ Association, the California Teachers Association, the California Federation of Teachers), parents (California State PTA), and employers (including the San Jose I Silicon Valley and Los Angeles Chambers of Commerce). The proposition was placed on the ballot by a bipartisan vote of the legislature. “Giving local schools the tools they need to improve outcomes for students is not a partisan or political issue.”
- Prop 58 is going to hurt schools more than help. According to some reports it will be much more expensive to have such bilingual programs to be in place.
- Another issue is the lack of educated bilingual teachers. In order for this measure to work, everyone has to be involved which includes the students, their teachers and their parents. If all three components don’t work together then the measure will be ineffective which will cause the students to be delayed in learning English to their full potential if they are busy trying to learn a second language.
- It has been known that children don’t learn as fast as they could, if two languages are being taught. US English Chairperson Mauro Mujica said, “In the United States, English proficiency should be the primary objective.” This is true because in today’s workforce, jobs require that individuals talk in English since it’s a universal language in the United States.
- Programs, such as trying to learn a new language, should be left as high school electives. At least in high school the student can choose a second language they want to learn.
- Also teachers teaching kids in just one language helps them all bond and not feel left out only because someone knows a different language. We, in the United States, bond with one another because of our common language.
- Knowing English to its full potential is not only good for the students now, but for their future careers. Keeping the schools how they are now has worked out fine. We need to embrace teaching them in just the English language, in order to get everyone on track and on the same page.
For More Information
- California Secretary of State Proposition 58
- You Ballot Guide Map to California’s 17 Propositions
- California Proposition 58, Non-English Languages Allowed in Public Education (2016)
- California Proposition 227, the “English in Public Schools” Initiative (1998)
The B Word Prop 58 Team A