When Proposition 227 passed in 1998, it eradicated bilingual public education programs. Proponents at the time argued that bilingual education programs meant that some students would never learn English, which placed them at a disadvantage during standardized tests, in college admissions and in hiring.
But research has since shown that the “fix” was unacceptable. Ending bilingual education programs simply put students at a disadvantage earlier in life. When families for whom English is a second language thrust their children into English-only education programs, these students struggled to keep up with their peers.
Proposition 58 would provide a much needed correction to these problems. The law would reimpose bilingual education under the provision that all students in California public schools become English proficient.
Proposition 58 represents an important lesson in government. We identify problems, seek out ways to fix them and then continue scrutinizing. Proposition 58 will not completely rectify the disadvantages brought upon students in the California public education system who do not speak perfect English, but it is a step toward creating a more equitable education for students who speak English as a second language. It’s a step Californians should take.
Endorsements represent the majority opinion of the Senior Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.