Campaign Digest: PTA to oppose Unz's initiative

The California State PTA has voted to oppose the June ballot measure that would largely eliminate bilingual education in California public schools, the group said in a statement.

The initiative, proposed by Silicon Valley businessman Ron Unz, would force “thousands of children with limited or no English language fluency . . . into English-only classes regardless of their individual needs,” the PTA said in opposing the measure.

In addition, the group said, the measure would “make it difficult, if not impossible,” for families to choose any bilingual programs for their children, and it denies local school boards “any option on how to best serve the linguistic and academic needs of their English language learners.”

Sheri Annis, a spokeswoman for the Unz campaign, said the PTA vote, which came at the group’s board of managers meeting late last week, is not all that surprising given opponents’ mischaracterizations of the ballot measure.

“The larger educational groups have done a great job of misrepresenting the initiative and the effect it will have on limited-English speakers,” Annis said. ” . . . When parents understand that the initiative will ensure students will acquire the English language in a time-effective manner, they will come on board.”

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