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California Referendum Mandates "English Only."

According to the National Association of Bilingual Education, the Unz initiative would:

Unz alleges that California's current system for educating LEP students is "centered on use of native language instruction, with English being introduced to children only in later grades." The reality is that most LEP students in the state are educated in English-only instructional programs. Fewer than one in three LEP students (32.49%) are in classes where native-language instruction is provided, according to the California Department of Education.

As the National Assocation of Bilingual Education notes in a recent analysis, "If the current system is failing, it's likely because there's too much -- not too little -- English-only instruction."

Further, the Unz initiative ignores that bilingual education has several goals: the development of English language proficiency; the maintenance of one's native language and the acquisition of true bilingualism; and the development of academic skills while English is learned. Research has shown that students with a strong academic background in their first language are more likely to develop high levels of English proficiency than those who do not have such an advantage.

"Yet no one can guarantee that English-only immersion will work," according to James Crawford, a frequent writer on bilingual issues and the former Washington editor for Education Week. "No scientific evidence supports it. No reputable researcher has endorsed it. And certainly no educational program has lived up to Unz's advertising -- that immersion can make children 'fluent in English ... within months to a year.'"

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