Although the vote will be taken by the California Legislature, San Antonio School District officials believe they must draw a line of defense here.
Last month, the SASD’s board unanimously passed a resolution against a California Legislature initiative that would eliminate the state’s special bilingual education programs.
Proposition 227, written by California businessman Ron Unz, would require students with limited English-speaking abilities to be taught in English for a year before being moved into regular classrooms.
The California Legislature will vote on the proposition in June.
“While it will not happen in Texas, we must take a stand because what it does is eventually eliminate bilingual education,” said Mary Esther Bernal, a board member.
SASD officials passed their resolution at the April 20 meeting.
Proposition 227 imposes a “one- size-fits-all” method of teaching English, according to the SASD’s resolution, which was written by Rose Hicks. She supervises the district’s bilingual education programs.
The resolution also states Proposition 227, “severely limits options available to meet the needs of non- English and limited English- speaking students, depriving them an equal opportunity to learn.”
The proposition, using state dropout and literacy levels, claims California schools do a poor job of educating immigrant children and waste money on experimental language programs.
Although a few school districts nationwide have passed similar declarations against Proposition 227, the SASD might be the first in Texas, said Carlos Garcia, superintendent of the Fresno (Calif.) Unified School District.
Garcia is chair of a committee of the Council of Great City Schools, an association of about 100 of the largest school districts in the country. The council has asked school districts nationwide to pass similar resolutions, Garcia added.
Spokesmen from the largest school districts in Dallas, Houston and Fort Worth said their school boards had not passed such a resolution against Proposition 227.
About 10,000 of the SASD’s 60,000 students are enrolled in a bilingual or English as a second-language program, said Rosa Rabago, who coordinates the bilingual curriculum for the district. Next year, about 50 of the district’s 65 elementary schools will have bilingual education programs.