A public symposium tracing the history of English-only schooling here will be held tomorrow on the University of Arizona campus.

The symposium comes as Arizonans prepare to go to the polls Nov. 7, to decide whether to eliminate current bilingual programming in the state’s public school system.

If passed, Proposition 203 would require schoolchildren learning English to be placed in an English immersion program, normally for one year, and must show “a good working knowledge of English” before being transferred to mainstream classes.

A panel of speakers will link the proposition to the state’s “1C” program, which from the early 1900s to 1960s required Spanish-speaking students to take the English-only class.

The symposium titled “Turning Back the Clock: Proposition 203 and English-Only Schooling in Arizona” begins at 9 a.m. with a news conference at the UA College of Education’s Kiva Auditorium, East Second Street and North Vine Avenue.

A panel discussion featuring 1C graduates and teachers will follow.

Panelists include: Alice Paul, a member of the Tohono O’odham tribe and UA professor emeritus; Mercedes Guerrero, a choreographer; Leonard Basurto, director of bilingual education for TUSD; Eugene Benton, a TUSD assistant superintendent; Lupe Domin-guez, a TUSD teacher; Hector Juarez, a health education coordinator for Pima County; Joe Machado, an attorney; and Richard Ruiz and Arminda Fuentevilla, both professors emeritus at the UA’s Department of Language, Reading and Culture.

Parent groups supporting bilingual education will caravan to the UA campus.

Participants will meet at 7 a.m. at Lynn-Urquides Elementary School, 1573 W. Ajo Way, east of South Mission Road.

Read the Arizona Daily Star’s series on bilingual education.

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