For a year, Ron Unz has been waiting for the Stanford 9 test scores to prove Proposition 227 is better for children than bilingual education.
On Thursday, as test scores hit the Internet, Unz claimed cautious victory for his initiative, even as state officials said it’s simply too early to tell.
Unz said that test scores for non-English-fluent elementary students were up about 20 percent—a significant jump for one academic year.
In addition, school districts that fully implemented the initiative will English-only instruction posted strong gains, Unz said.
“The ones that followed 227 seem to have much more dramatic increases that the statewide average,” Unz said. “I’m really very pleased.”
The Oceanside Unified School District in San Diego County, for example, was one of the districts that rigorously followed the initiative’s requirements to teach in English.
The district’s non-English-speaking students did show gains in some subjects and grade levels, but still fell far short of the statewide scores for similar students—posting single-digit percentage points in most categories.
The national average on the test is 50 percent.
In Alameda County, non-English-speaking students also showed dramatic gains of up to 45 percent, yet those districts were not as strict in implementing the initiative and accepted parental waivers to continue bilingual education.
While non-English-speaking students across the state did show increases in test scores, attributing those gains to Proposition 227 is perhaps premature, state officials said.
“I honestly think it’s hard to glean anything from 227 for this year’s scores,” said state Superintendent Delaine Eastin. “We need a little more research to see what the effect of 227 is.”
Eastin said she hoped the state’s university facilities would take on the necessary research to determine the impact of the initiative.
“I would say it’s really too early either to celebrate or throw stones,” Eastin said. “I wouldn’t rush to any conclusions one way or the other.”