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Press Release

    Current ESL Policies in Oregon Are a Dismal Failure

    09/03/2008

    There are children all across Oregon who have spent years in our public schools and yet do not speak, read, or write in English. Many children are victims of widespread, but nonsensical educational theories.

    Let’s ignore for the moment the fact that under current policies schools are financially motivated to ensure that immigrant students do not quickly become proficient in English. Let’s think about the so-called "logic" behind current policies.

    One theory currently in vogue is that immigrant students learn English better, if they first become more proficient in their native language. Therefore, instead of immersing immigrant students in English, so they will learn English and can be taught in English, Oregon schools begin teaching them their native language.

    Here they are, newly arrived in the United States and we’re spending tax dollars and precious education resources teaching them the language of the country they just left.

    What sense does it make to spend a year or two teaching a young impressionable child their native Spanish, Russian, or Vietnamese language, when during that same period of time the child could have been taught English? After all, it is without controversy that young minds pick up a new language far faster than an older mind and the sooner a child is immersed in English the better.

    Measure 58 requires that non-English speaking students be immersed in English for one to two years, depending on the grade level of the student, and after that be taught exclusively in English.

    If after the initial period a student is not capable of being taught in English, the student would be taught English and only English until they are capable of being taught other subjects in English.

    Current policies are a dismal failure. Lots of kids are being hurt. English Immersion approach is the logical, common sense remedy we need and deserves our enthusiastic support.

    FreedomWorks urges a “Yes” on 58