Plan May Open Door for Bilingual Education

District proposal would state that bilingual classes are a good option for students

A new city schools proposal could turn around school policy on bilingual programs, according to a published report.

"The new policy would firmly state that bilingual classes are an option -- and a good one," reports the The policy is still only in the draft stage and argues that children benefit from multilingual skills and that "home language and culture are valued resources that contribute to academic success."

Supporters of the proposal believe that endorsing the policy may lead to the dedication of resources for bilingual classes in city schools.

"The gold standard -- for all kids -- is bi-literacy," school board member Richard Barrera told the "But we're nowhere near the goal right now."

Based on past experience, however, there are likely to be critics of the proposal. In 1998, statewide voters passed Proposition 227, essentially rejecting bilingual education by requiring that all public school instruction be conducted in English unless parents petition educators for an exception.

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