English for the Children is the cry that you hear over and over again by
parents, most especially by Latino parents, such as in Santa Ana recently.
Such was the cry of the Ninth Street Latino parents in Los Angeles a few
years ago, which led to the birth of Prop. 227, the English for the Children
The courage it takes for these parents to stand up and challenge the
bureaucracy is commendable! They fight for their children?s civil right to
learn English and ask their school board members to be held accountable for
their children?s progress.
In the three years since the passage of Proposition 227, the test scores of
California?s English learners have nearly doubled as a result of replacing
the failed bilingual education system with intensive sheltered English
What has happened in Santa Ana Unified School District? Students are
failing, low-test scores continue, the State Department of Education?s
Committee investigated the district?s English learner programs and the School
Board is still wringing their hands wondering how to solve this problem.
It doesn?t take a genius to figure out that if children are going to take an
annual state mandated test in English, then students must be prepared and
taught in English. That isn?t the case for many children who are placed in
transitional bilingual education.
Bilingual education is alive and continuing to fail many students in Santa
Ana. Following the passage of Prop. 227, we have school board member Nativo
Lopez holding parent meetings at school sites, telling parents about the
merits of bilingual education and convincing them to request parental waivers
for this program. We have had the majority of the Santa Ana School Board
Members allowing him to conduct such meetings, even though it might be viewed
as unethical and coercion of parents.
Real education reform requires vision, high expectations and courage to
implement programs that will improve student test scores, unfortunately that
is not occurring at low -performing schools in Santa Ana. Accountability and
responsibility seem to be foreign words that people these days don?t take
As Co-Author of Prop. 227, I want to express my outrage that Gov. Gray Davis
has allowed his appointees to the California State Board of Education to try
and implement regulations that would effectively restore the state?s failed
system of bilingual education by nullifying crucial provisions of the 1998
ballot initiative that dismantled that program.
Under these new regulations, Proposition 227?s requirement that younger
English learners spend the first thirty days of each school year in an
English immersion program would be eliminated. Furthermore, the proposed
regulations would grant bilingual education teachers and school
administrators the right to initiate the waiver process in support of
bilingual education for English learners instead of the parents!
We need a governor that will enforce and uphold the laws of the State of
California and not be a party to undermining the rights of parents!
Didn?t Gov. Gray Davis tell us when he was elected, that he would uphold the
laws of the state of California and specifically stated that he would see
that Proposition 227 would be upheld?
It is unfortunate that once someone is elected, they soon have a lapse of
memory and once again, people are deceived by promises, promises.
I hope voters won?t have a lapse of memory at the polls in November and elect
someone who will put parents back in charge of our schools and honor school
choice for their children if the school system or their elected officials
Gloria Matta Tuchman,
Teacher/Co-Author of Prop. 227
Ms. Tuchman is an elementary-school teacher in Santa Ana and was co-author of Proposition 227, the successful initiative that severely restricted bilingual-education programs in California?s public schools.