August 21, 1998

District Announces Changes in Bilingual Education Programs to Comply with Proposition 227

Changes in bilingual education programs to comply with Proposition 227 mandates have been announced by school district officials.

California voters in June approved Proposition 227, a measure that, under most circumstances will change the way school districts teach English to students who are English language learners. This measure requires these students to be taught through an instructional approach called sheltered English immersions which the language used in the classroom is mostly English but with curriculum and presentation materials designed for children who are learning the language.

San Diego City Schools in May adopted Bilingual Education Reform Plan that ensures all programs provided for English language learners will comply with Proposition 227, which took effect Aug. 3.

Parents have been notified of their option to file a parental exception waiver. Proposition 227 requires schools to provide bilingual programs if 20 or more parents per grade at the school file a waiver electing to have bilingual instruction or another program alternative.

"If there are less than 20, the school may offer a program or allow for enrollment at another school where the program is offered, if the parent chooses," said Tim Allen, director of the district's second language program.

The district will not be hiring new teachers to replace any bilingual staff. Every certified bilingual staff member has a teaching credential that authorizes instruction in English, bilingual teachers who are contracted to work the 1998-99 school year.

"Our district enrolls new immigrant students form around the world every year," Allen said, " and very few of them speak English. It's our experience with these programs that it may take longer than a year for some students to acquire sufficient proficiency in English."

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