Bilingualism debated

By Reggie Santini, Spotlight Editor

If California’s Proposition 58 passes on Tuesday students will have the option to receive bilingual education in public schools.

Proposition 58 would repeal Proposition 227. It would no longer require K-12 English as second language students to take English-only education classes. Schools would be allowed to utilize bilingual teaching programs and have students learn from teachers who speak both their native language and English.

Adjunct English as a Second Language professor Evan De Gennaro said it would be great if Proposition 58 passes. There should be more multilingual classes at Contra Costa College, he said.

According to a poll taken by UC Berkeley, 69 percent of participants are in favor of Proposition 58, 14 percent are against it and 17 percent are undecided. The poll had a sample size of 484 participants.

Nursing major Nicole Rodriguez said, “I think college students would benefit from having bilingual classes. It would help develop both their first and second language skills.”

California’s Proposition 227, also called the English in Public School Statute, was passed in 1998 to change the way ESL students were taught in the state’s K-12 grade schools.

Superintendent and President of Lake Tahoe Community College Kindred Murillo said that repealing Proposition 227 would help community college enrollment and curriculum. It would open a new door for learning and teaching.

CCC HSI Stem Coordinator Mayra Padilla said, “It would give the school new teaching models. Repealing Proposition 227 would also help colleges support the growth of ESL students.”

Proposition 227 was designed to help immerse K-12 ESL students in the English language by required them to take a one-year special class taught completely in English and then be moved to normal classes.

According to the California Legislative Analyst’s Office, schools would be cutting costs by limiting the time ESL students spent in special classes and by reducing the number of special classes needed.

De Gennaro said, “America is a country of immigrants, so why do we push monolingual learning in school? Language is a tool we should all be using.”

Proposition 227 was drafted by Silicon Valley software entrepreneur Ron Unz, and Santa Ana teacher Gloria Mata Tuchman.

The election results for Proposition 227 were 61.28 percent in favor and 38.72 percent against.