RANDI WEINGARTEN, left, president of the United Federation of Teachers, says she would be open to English immersion as a choice for non-English-speaking children only when more data is available showing its effectiveness. Today, parents can enroll their non-English-speaking children in bilingual education or in English-as-a-second-language programs. A task force put together by MAYOR RUDOLPH W. GIULIANI supports introducing a third option, English immersion programs, requiring newcomers to learn all subjects in English in mainstream classes immediately. But the Manhattan school board member, IRVING S. HAMER JR., and advocates for bilingual education have been pushing for improvements to bilingual education and E.S.L. programs without adding more choices.
In an interview, Ms. Weingarten said she was not convinced by stories of rising test scores in California, which voted two years ago to end bilingual education.
“If there are real standards to it then obviously we’ll be open to looking at it,” Ms. Weingarten said. “But to do that to the exclusion of all else is no choice either.”