An article in the Denver Post reports that the United State Education Secretary Rod Paige is speaking out against the proposed reform that would eliminate bilingual education from the state school system. A proposal that would remove choice from local schools and districts is likely to go before Colorado voters in November. The proposal would create a state constitutional amendment forcing schools to put virtually all English learners in one-year immersion courses rather than introduce them to English gradually, using native-language support, as many do now.
Rod Paige thinks that local educators should be able to pick the method they think works best to teach English to immigrant children. Some local educators want the bilingual approach eliminated, and are gathering signatures on a petition to put it on the fall ballot.
Paige was in Denver to talk about No Child Left Behind, President Bush’s wide-ranging education law. Interestingly enough, Bush’s No Child Life Behind takes no position on bilingual versus immersion. It only says English learners must be tested in English within three years.