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Press Release

    Schools Are Rewarded for Not Teaching Immigrant Students English

    09/03/2008

    One would think that schools would want immigrant students to learn English as quickly as possible. This is not necessarily so.

    Under current policies, non-English speaking students are often sidelined in “English as a Second Language” (ESL) classes for many years, sometimes for their entire academic life.

    This policy can cause kids irreparable damage. Young students are robbed of adequate English instruction at a time in life when they can most easily learn and master a new language.

    Why would schools perpetuate a policy that is so contrary to common sense? Why sideline kids at an age when they could quickly learn the English language and be taught in English along with all the other students? The answer is: Money.

    Schools are paid a lot of extra money for keeping kids sidelined in ESL classes.

    Schools receive 50% more for each student enrolled in an ESL program. Plainly stated: Schools lose money, if they quickly teach immigrant students English. They literally are punished if they do what is best for the kids.

    And here’s something that might surprise you about all this extra money: It does not have to be used to insure that non-English speaking students are learning English. Schools are free to use the extra money for anything they want. This process wastes taxpayer dollars fails to help children.

    With tens of millions of dollars being handed out to schools across Oregon each year, based on how many kids they keep sidelined in ESL classes, is it any wonder that so many kids in public schools are not reading and writing in English?

    Measure 58 requires that non-English speaking students be immersed in English right away and then be taught in English. Education “theories” postulated to justify current ESL programs are highly suspect, given the huge financial incentive behind them.

    FreedomWorks urges a “Yes” on 58