Sunday, August 31, 2008

OR Measure 58: Limits ESL Teaching To Two Years

OR Elections: SUMMARY: Current law requires instruction in all school subject (except foreign languages) to be primarily in English; permits instruction in more than one language so students whose native language is not English can make early transition to English; requires schools to provide English courses for children unable to profit from classes taught in English. Measure provides that no public school student shall be taught in language other than English for more than two years, with expectation for classes teaching foreign language to English-speaking students. Limits "English immersion classes" (not defined) to no more than two years for students whose primary language is not English and who are not capable of being taught in English; after that, students shall be taught exclusively in English. Other provisions.

[_] Yes

“Yes” vote prohibits teaching public school student in language other than English for more than two years (exception for teaching foreign language to English speakers.)

Victoria Taft

From arguments in favor (pdf):
• Oregonians For Immigration Reform
• Traditional Prejudices Coalition
• Marion County Republican Exec. Cmte.
• OR Tax Payers United
[X] No

“No” vote retains requiring English courses for students unable to profit from classes taught in English, permitting multiple-language instruction to assist transition to English.

EMO (pdf): "Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon believes educational decisions of this nature should be made by teachers and educational experts at the local level . . . We are concerned that this two-year limitation on bilingual education will leave many Oregon students . . . unprepared to study in an English only classroom, resulting in their unnecessarily falling behind their peers in educational development. . . ."

Portland Mercury
The Oregonian
Just Out

League of Women Voters
• ACLU (pdf)
OR Working Families Party
• Ecumenical Ministries (pdf)
NARAL Pro-Choice
Jack Bogdanski

From Who We Are:
• Amer. Federation of Teachers
• OR School Boards Assn
• Stand for Children
• The Chalkboard Project
• Confederation of OR School Administrators
• Elders in Action Commission
• Human Services Coalition of OR
• Tax Fairness OR
• Portland Jobs with Justice
• Human Services Coalition of OR
• OR Democratic Party
• MultCo Democrats
• Gov Ted Kulongoski
• fmr Gov Barbara Roberts
• fmr Gov Victor Atiyeh
• OR Superintdt of Public Instruction Susan Castillo
• Amer Assn of Univ Professors-PSU Chapter
• ONE Voice for Child Care
• United Church of Christ
• Amer Assn of Univ Women of OR
Basic Rights OR
• OR Business Assn
• OR Health Action Campaign
• United Way of Mid-Willamette Valley
• OR New Sanctuary Movement
• OR Action
• Community Alliance of Tenants
• Ainsworth UCC
• 2004 Teacher of the Year
• 2006 Teacher of the Year
• 13 unions, labor, and professional groups
OR "Family" Council: "lean toward a 'NO' vote"

MY FIRST IMPRESSION: Two years seems awfully short. I know I could not learn a language in such a short time and I can't certainly imagine learning in another language.

I do believe English should be the state's official language and students should be required to be taught in English. However, setting an arbitrary deadline is too harsh and micromanaging a classroom is unwise. We can't decide to write-off ESL students if they don't learn English fast enough.

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