Resident urges others to read Amendment 31 before voting
To the editor:
I keep hearing: “When (whatever relative) came to this country, they learned English in one year.”
Were they in a class or school where the only person who spoke English was the teacher? That’s what Amendment 31 will do (section 3).
The English language learners can’t be in a class with English speaking children during that “temporary transition period not normally intended to exceed one year.”
A year is a long time in the life of a child. Smaller school districts may even place English language learners of different ages in the same classroom as long as their degree of English proficiency is similar; quite a challenge for that lone English-speaking teacher and those students who are trying to learn English as well as the curriculum.
Parents may apply for a waiver to this educational approach, providing their child is already fluent in English, at least 10 years old, or has special needs. With the guarantee of being able to sue a school district if the parents decide up to 10 years later that the waiver was “granted in error,” it’s doubtful any waivers will be granted (section 4). Read the proposed amendment before voting please. This is an amendment to our constitution, not a law, not a curriculum choice that can be changed if it isn’t effective. It affects every school district in our state at every grade level.
Bilingual education involves only 10 percent of our English language learners, yet that’s what the proponents of this amendment are targeting. What will the cost of revamping all of the programs for teaching English in the state and annual standardized testing beyond the CSAP do to already financially challenged districts?
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