Santa Ana School Board Approves Hard-Won English Language Policy

After many revisions and major headaches, the Santa Ana Unified School District board this week approved a policy to implement English immersion classes.

But it won’t be that easy.

“We expect a new and difficult situation,” said Howard Bryan, director of English language development and bilingual education. His staff is writing letters to parents about the change, which will affect about 71% of students in Santa Ana.

Under Proposition 227, approved by California voters in June, the 50,000- student Santa Ana district must eliminate bilingual instruction and begin English immersion by Tuesday at year-round schools and Sept. 10 at all other schools.

Teachers already have begun assessing students for placement in either mainstream English or structured English immersion classes, depending on the students’ English proficiencies. A parent can place a child in a mainstream class at any time, according to district policy.

“That’s the law, so we’re going to deal with it,” Bryan said.

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