Ron Unz, the California computer entrepreneur who used his wealth to help push through bans on bilingual education in California and Arizona, showed up the other day in Colorado, where a similar effort failed last year. He said the likelihood was “very high” that the state would be his next target.
As he sees it, the Colorado ban failed to pass because its backers came across as anti-immigrant rather than as interested in the most efficient way to teach English to children newly arrived in this country.
The best way, he argues, is to make English the only language of instruction, especially for younger children. He contends that state test scores go up when bilingual programs are thrown out and pupils learn entirely in English.
Mr. Unz dropped by The Denver Post to lobby his case. He said the ban proposed last year for Colorado deserved to pass but was crippled by “the worst possible” campaign and by the involvement of people who carried “a lot of very negative baggage on this issue.”
Teachers involved in Colorado’s bilingual programs say the programs are an efficient teaching tool. They vow to fight any ban proposed by Mr. Unz.
“Our mission is to protect the language rights of all kids,” said Silvana Carlos, president of the Colorado Association for Bilingual Education.
Mr. Unz also plans to focus on New York and Massachusetts.