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Bilingual Education Support Running at Under 4% Among Immigrant Parents in Los Angeles and Orange Counties

(310) 737-1969

Thursday, October 22, 1998.

Los Angeles---Five months after the passage of Proposition 227, only about 4%---or 12,000---of the parents of limited-English children in the huge Los Angeles Unified School District have applied for waivers to return their children to bilingual classes.

LAUSD is the school district containing the nation's largest concentration of limited-English students, and has been among the earliest and strongest supporters of bilingual teaching methods. Now despite a major organized effort by bilingual teachers to encourage parents to apply for exemption waivers, some 96% have failed to do so, indicating little apparent support for traditional bilingual programs.

Long Beach Unified, the second largest school district in LA County, has received virtually no waiver requests at all. This pattern continues in Orange County, which contains California's second largest concentration of limited-English students, some 150,000. There, waiver requests are running at just 2%. However, several smaller districts in other areas of the state have generated much higher levels of parental waiver requests.

Prop. 227 Chairman Ron Unz expressed considerable satisfaction with these results. "Despite a massive, organized effort by the supporters of bilingual education to maintain their failed program in Southern California, immigrant parents have been voting with their feet for English. Contrary to the falsehoods of our opponents, Prop. 227 was never intended to end all bilingual programs, just the 98% or so which didn't work. Now within months of the election, we've seen 90% of LA's bilingual programs vanish, and that's a very encouraging start."

However, Unz cautioned that LA's bilingual education industry may try other avenues of resistance. "Since they haven't had much luck persuading parents to apply for bilingual programs, there's a lot of evidence that they're trying to force-feed them bilingual education under another name. We're hoping to put a stop to such blatant consumer fraud in education, which is completely illegal under Prop. 227."

English for the Children | Proposition 227

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