Bilingual ed foe rips Harvard on forum bias

The point man for a California entrepreneur pushing a ballot measure to dismantle the state’s bilingual education law blasted a Harvard Law School forum yesterday for failing to present a balanced look at the initiative.

“For an institution that claims to be on the mission of higher learning, this was a shame,” said Lincoln Temayo, leader of English for the Children of Massachusetts and former principal of Chelsea High School. “It’s hard to believe that Harvard couldn’t find researchers to present both sides of the issue.”

Speakers and an audience of bilingual education advocates blasted Ron Unz for leading the referendum drive aimed at dismantling the state’s 25-year-old bilingual education law just as he did successfully in California and Arizona.

Temayo suggested the forum could have included Boston University Professor Christine Rossell, who has spoken frequently in support of the Unz measure. It is expected to make its way onto the ballot in November.

Harvard Professor Gary Orfield, co-director of the forum’s sponsor The Civil Rights Project, told the audience of 150 people the group sought academics doing “high quality” research.

Speakers included the elected head of California’s education department, Superintendent of Public Instruction Diane Eastin. She said California’s passage of Proposition 227 in 1998 produced a “regulatory nightmare” with inconclusive results.

“Prop. 227 has taken time, attention and money away from our core business and that is to focus our time and attention on educating children. That is what worries me,” said Eastin.

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