By Richard Bammer
Of the three education-related propositions on the Nov. 8 ballot, 51, to build new and repair old schools; and 55, to extend a tax surcharge on Californians making more than $250,000 per year, are getting the most media attention.
But it is Proposition 58, the English Proficiency, Multilingual Education initiative, that some believe may have the most long-lasting effect on California’s future.
If approved by voters Nov. 8, it essentially would roll back Proposition 227 of 1998, the so-called “English-only” initiative, and allow multilingual education in public schools.
As written and if approved by a majority of voters, it would keep the requirement that public schools ensure students become proficient in English. Schools would still be allowed to set up dual-language immersion programs if they and families choose to. It would require school districts to provide English learners the option to be taught mostly in English. It would authorize school districts to set up language-immersion programs for both native and non-native English speakers.