AUSTIN, Texas—The state will seek a stay Monday of a federal judge’s order extending bilingual education to all public school grades in Texas by 1986, according to Attorney General Mark White.
The order was issued in Tyler on Friday by U.S. District Judge William Wayne Justice, who said he hoped it would help end a “deep sense of inferiority, cultural isolation, and acceptance of failure” by Hispanics in Texas.
Bilingual education — in which non-English-speaking youngsters are taught basic skills in their native language — now is offered only through the third grade in most Texas public schools. The state estimates that about 90,000 youngsters, or 40 percent of the state’s 220,000 non-English-speaking students, receive no bilingual instruction.
Justice’s program calls for bilingual programs through fifth grade next fall, through sixth grade by 1982, seventh grade by 1983, eighth grade by 1984, ninth and 10th grades by 1985 and 11th and 12th grades by 1986. Schools that fail to comply would risk the loss of state funding and accreditation.
The ruling comes at a time when the Reagan administration is cutting federal funds for bilingual education in favor of English as a Second Language programs, which emphasizes teaching proficiency in English.
Justice denied a state request to wait until ohe end of the current legislative session to propose its own bilingual education plan.
He also rejected a more limited plan submitted Thursday by Gov. Bill Clements’ task force on bilingual education, which called for bilingual education through the sixth grade and sECIAL LANGUAGE SERVICES THROUGH HIGH SCHOOL FOR STUDENTS WITH LIMITED English proficiency. Justice said the plan was too limited, would not be implemented quickly enough, and failed to provide adequate monitoring for compliance.
White said the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund estimated that Justice’s order would require the services of 20,000 teachers.
“We’ll spend more time training teachers to speak Spanish than to reach the students who need English,” said White. “This will force the Texas public schools to spend a tremendous amount of money to recruit and train these people. I don’t think that is the purpose of bilingual education.”
He said he would seek a stay pending an appeal of Justice’s order to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans.
White said he found no fault with extending biling2al education through fifth grade, but did not agree that it was necessary to provide bilingual instruction in such courses as math and science in upper grades.
“I feel by training the younger Mexican American children in English as they come into the system, Texas public schools will be doing the education job for which they were established,” he said.
Justice hadtruled in January in an 11-year-old discrimination lawsuit filed by the Justice Department that there was proof of “pervasive, invidious discrimination against Mexican-Americans throughout the State of Texas.”
“The deep sense of inferiority, cultural isolation, and acceptance of failure instilled in a people by generations of subjugation, cannot be eradicated merely by integrating the schools and repealing ‘no Spanish’ statutes,” his opinion said, referring to a state law against teaching in Spanish that was repealed only a decade ago.
Vilma S. Martinez, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, praised Justice’s latest ruling. The group, which also represents the American GI Forum and the League of United Latin American Citizens, intervened in the case in 1975 and with the Justice Department submitted the basic program model adopted by the court.