Rejection of English-only plan urged

EDUCATION: A state report criticizes Orange Unified's proposal.

A request by Orange Unified School District to convert to English-only instruction is not academically sound and should be rejected, a California Department of Education report recommended Wednesday.

The six-page recommendation came on the eve of today’s vote by the state Board of Education on Orange Unified’s request to end bilingual instruction for students who speak limited English.

Before a district changes its bilingual education plan, it must prove that its alternative is based on “sound theory. ” Orange Unified’s plan doesn’t meet that requirement, said Norm Gold, author of the recommendation and manager of bilingual education compliance at the California Department of Education.

Three Orange County school districts have received waivers for English-only instruction: Westminster, Savanna and Magnolia.

State board ExecutiveDirector Bill Lucia declined to predict how the board will vote on Orange’s waiver request.

The board can accept, deny or postpone a decision today. If it postpones action for two meetings, the request is automatically accepted for one year.

The problem for Orange Unified: Six year-round schools, which educate hundreds of limited-English students, are scheduled to open July 1. The board’s next meeting is July 9.

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