Consider possible ramifications of Amendment 31 before voting
To the Editor:
A Fort Collins heiress recently donated $3 million to help defeat Amendment 31, the English immersion ballot initiative.
I’m sure that everyone has seen the T.V. ads that this money has paid for.
Due to the large difference in campaign war chests, people in Colorado may not get a balance in the information that they receive on this important issue.
Amendment 31 may or may not have weaknesses. I’m not totally sold on the concept of putting this in our state constitution. I am also not happy about encouraging people to sue for lack of results. People are too quick to resort to lawsuits already these days.
Having said that, I fully support the concept of English immersion in our nation’s schools and in Colorado specifically. Here’s why:
1. Across the nation, many Hispanic children just languish for years in traditional bilingual education programs and leave school without being fluent in English. There isn’t enough of an emphasis on specific goals and timetables. There isn’t enough incentive to get kids up to speed and out of bilingual education. We don’t have enough accountability.
2. Not being fluent in English prevents Hispanic kids from being able to compete fairly and fully for college scholarships and admissions into universities.
3. Not being fluent in English prevents Hispanic kids from being able to be fully competitive in the job market and being able to go into the professions as adults. The effect is to hold Hispanics back economically.
4. As our common language, English has always helped to unite us as a people. It has helped us to truly be a melting pot for people who have immigrated from different lands over the centuries. Having all of our citizens fluent in our common language makes us a better nation for various reasons.
5. English immersion is improving education in Arizona and California, where it has already been adopted. English immersion works better than traditional bilingual education. Goals, timetables and accountability work in education just like they work in other professions.
As you fill out your election ballot, think about some of these things. Regardless of the outcome of Amendment 31, school districts in Colorado can choose to adopt English immersion, not because they legally have to, but because it’s the smart thing to do.
John S. Kinkaid, M.B.A.
1105 N. Legion Street
Craig, Colorado 81625
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