Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 20
Bilingual Education Set to Return to California Schools
By Corey Mitchell
With voters' decision to repeal English-only instruction in California, public schools across the
state now have more power to operate bilingual
and dual-language programs.
The passage of Proposition 58 last week
means that public schools are now free of any
restrictions on using various forms of bilingual
education, most notably for teaching the state's
1.5 million English-language learners.
The measure-which was overwhelmingly
approved by voters-essentially rolled back
a law passed 18 years ago that required
"English-only" instruction for all students,
including those who aren't native speakers
of the language.
Prop. 58 will take effect in July, while educators and school leaders await guidance from the
state education department and state board of
education on how to implement it.
Supporters of the measure say they don't expect an immediate wave of new bilingual programs in the state.
The California Assocation for Bilingual Education is urging districts to take a slow-andsteady approach to build programs.
Schools that aren't already months, or years,
into the planning process shouldn't try to start
a program next fall, said Jan Gustafson-Corea,
the organization's chief executive officer.
"It's not the kind of thing you can implement
[in a] month," Gustafson-Corea said.
Reviewing research and studying different
models-dual-language immersion and oneway immersion among them-are crucial first
steps toward building a program, GustafsonCorea said.
But the biggest concern is finding bilingual teachers.
Districts have struggled for decades to find bilingual instructors, even in immigrant-rich communities where English is not the first language
for many students. California's English-learners
are overwhelmingly native Spanish-speakers.
Around the country, recent upticks in the percentage of ELLs and demand for dual-language
programs for their English-speaking peers have
placed a premium on bilingual instructors.
Prior to the passage of Proposition 227 in
1998-the voter-approved measure that im-
posed the restrictions on bilingual education-
California may have been flush with bilingual
To get the pipeline flowing again, districts
should look to tap potential teaching candidates in the state who have graduated with
biliteracy seals in the past few years, said
Shelly Spiegel-Coleman, the executive director
of Californians Together, a Long Beach-based
nonprofit that backed the passage of Prop. 58.
In the interim, districts should survey staff
members to find holdovers from the previous
era who teach English-only courses and help
those people refresh their credentials. Helping
newcomer bilingual teachers earn certification
is another must, Spiegel-Coleman said.
The new law represents a significant shift in
Californians' sentiment on bilingual education.
In 1998, more than 60 percent of voters
backed Prop. 227, which essentially put an
end to many bilingual education programs in
public schools across California. Voters overwhelmingly backed Prop. 58, with nearly 75
percent supporting it.
"Our voters have made strong decisions
that really honor the background, culture,
and language of our students and families,"
California became the first state to recognize students who graduate from high school
with a demonstrated proficiency in two or more
languages-a step that nearly half the states
have since followed.
Ronald Unz, the Silicon Valley software developer who financed and led the Prop. 227
campaign, was the face of the opposition to efforts to repeal it.
White, middle-class, English-speaking parents who want their children to learn Spanish
are driving the demand for new dual-language
programs, Unz said.
"I really would be surprised if there's much expansion of bilingual programs above and beyond
that," he said
What Unz does foresee is more English-learner
students enrolled in dual-language classrooms,
sometimes against their parents' wishes.
He does take solace in the fact that Prop. 58,
like Prop. 227 before it, mandates that all students become proficient in English, no matter
what program their schools choose.
By Arianna Prothero
Massachusetts will keep its status
as one of the more restrictive states
when it comes to the expansion of
charter schools after voters last
week solidly rejected a bid to raise
the cap on the number of charters
allowed to open.
Meanwhile, in Georgia, voters
soundly defeated a ballot measure that
sought to change
the state's constituE
tion to allow for the
creation of a special
district to take over
In both cases, voters overwhemingly disagreed with their Republican governors. In Massachusetts,
Gov. Charlie Baker was a strong proponent of the charter school expansion, while in Georgia, Gov. Nathan
Deal campaigned for the statewide
district in personal terms, calling it
a "moral" duty to act on behalf of students in low-performing schools.
Both ballot measures attracted
big money and national attention,
but particularly so in Massachusetts, where teachers' union leaders are claiming a major victory for
The ballot question to expand
charters in Massachusetts brought
a bright national spotlight as it
sought to allow the state to approve
12 new charter schools each year.
Millions of dollars poured in from
out-of-state organizations and donors to sway voters on the issue,
while political heavyweights such as
U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
and billionaire and former New
York City mayor Michael Bloomberg
weighed in on the initiative.
The race was close up until the
end, but on Election Day, voters
swung decisively toward "no" on
Question 2. Sixty-two percent cast
their ballots to block the measure,
while 38 percent voted in favor, according to the Associated Press.
Those votes did not come cheap.
Campaigns for and against Question 2 together raised nearly
$42 million, with groups that favored the measure bringing in
more than $26 million, according to the most recent campaign
Boots on the Ground
But the bigger war chest didn't
pay off for charter advocates.
"It's a really big win for grassroots
organizing," said Barbara Madeloni,
the president of the Massachusetts
Teachers Association, which led the
effort against the ballot question. "We
had a ground game, we had conversations, we had students talking to
voters, we had educators knocking
on doors. And when we knocked on
those doors and said 'I'm an educator
and I want to talk about Question 2,'
the welcome was profound."
Marc Kenen, the executive director of the Massachusetts Charter
Public School Association, acknowledged it was hard for charter advocates to match the unions' on-theground presence.
"We're so far from having the
numbers in our schools necessary to
build a strong, statewide grassroots
In Mass., Voters Shun
More Charter Schools
efforts that can match the teachers'
unions," said Kenen.
The statewide cap on charter
schools is set at 120 campuses
under current law-which is a fairly
restrictive cap compared to many
other states'. Even though Massachusetts hasn't hit that ceiling of
120 schools yet, some areas-such
as Boston-have reached separate,
Despite the defeat of Question 2
and other unsuccessful efforts to
expand charters, Kenen said his
group's internal polling showed that
people believe charters were doing a
good job educating students.
"I think the debate got framed as
a false choice between charters and
districts," he said. "Voters thought
they had to choose between charter
schools and district schools, and faced
with that choice, they didn't want to
do harm to the existing system."
Although elated by the outcome,
music teacher and MTA member
Deborah Gesualdo said she's trying to practice what she's telling
her students about how to conduct
themselves after a contentious
"One thing that I've reminded myself along the way is that the parents that were involved on the Yes
on 2 side, we need to be really respectful of them," said Gesaldo, who
teaches at Linden STEAM Academy,
a district school in Malden, Mass. "I
don't believe in gloating when your
side prevails. Those parents obviously had some concerns, and I'm
hoping we can address those."
Formidable Ga. Opposition
In Georgia, where 60 percent of
voters cast their ballots against the
measure to set up a statewide turnaround district, defeat seemed likely
based on recent polling.
The measure drew formidable
opposition, including an unlikely
A Massachusetts ballot measure
that would have allowed more
charter schools to open was
defeated, despite an expensive
campaign to win voter approval.
coalition of teachers' unions, school
boards, district administrators, the
state PTA, and some conservative
Republicans. The governor, the
measure's chief proponent, had allies that included Democrats and
Republicans, as well as national
education reform groups such as
More than $7 million had been
raised through early November by
both sides. Had it been approved,
the so-called Opportunity School
District would have been modeled in
part on Louisiana's Recovery School
District and Tennessee's Achievement School District.
Staff Writer Denisa R. Superville
contributed to this report.
The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation supports coverage of policy, government and politics, and systems leadership in Education Week and on edweek.org. The Broad Foundations were established by entrepreneur and
philanthropist Eli Broad to advance entrepreneurship for the public good in education, science, and the arts. Education Week retains sole editorial control over the content of this coverage.
20 | EDUCATION WEEK | November 16, 2016 | www.edweek.org
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Education Week - November 16, 2016
Education Week - November 16, 2016
Few Women Run School Districts. Why?
Trump’s Lesson Plan Awaited
A Day After Election, Classes Are Awash in Emotions
News in Brief
States Found to Offer 95 Kinds of Diplomas
Black Teachers Feel Pigeonholed On the Job, Report Says
DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Eager to Innovate: African-American Teenagers and Technology
Positive Climates May Shrink Achievement Gaps
Q&A: ‘You Just Do the Work’
Proposed ESSA Spending Rules Encounter Stiff Resistance
Oklahoma Schools Chief Facing Campaign-Finance Charges
Sharp Questions Posed In Service-Dog Case
SNAPSHOT: Title IX and Transgender Students: Some Key Developments Over 44 Years
Governors and Schools Chiefs Results
Ed. Policy on Simmer as GOP Holds Congress
GOP Solidifies Hold on State-Level Leadership
State Ballot Measures
In Mass., Voters Shun More Charter Schools
Bilingual Education Set to Return to California Schools
Education Department May Again Find Itself in GOP Cross Hairs
Teachers’ Unions Spend Big, Mostly Fall Short in Elections
SUSAN MOORE JOHNSON: To Decentralize or Not? Is That Even the Question?
JIM HAAS: Oh, the Humanity!
GREGG WEINLEIN: The School Friendship Challenge
TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
GARY BEACH: Does the U.S. Department of Education Need to Be Restructured?
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - A Day After Election, Classes Are Awash in Emotions
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 2
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 3
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - News in Brief
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Report Roundup
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - States Found to Offer 95 Kinds of Diplomas
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Black Teachers Feel Pigeonholed On the Job, Report Says
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - DIGITAL DIRECTIONS: Eager to Innovate: African-American Teenagers and Technology
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Positive Climates May Shrink Achievement Gaps
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 10
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 11
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Q&A: ‘You Just Do the Work’
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 13
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 14
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Oklahoma Schools Chief Facing Campaign-Finance Charges
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Sharp Questions Posed In Service-Dog Case
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - SNAPSHOT: Title IX and Transgender Students: Some Key Developments Over 44 Years
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - GOP Solidifies Hold on State-Level Leadership
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - State Ballot Measures
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Bilingual Education Set to Return to California Schools
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 21
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Teachers’ Unions Spend Big, Mostly Fall Short in Elections
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Senate/House Results
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - SUSAN MOORE JOHNSON: To Decentralize or Not? Is That Even the Question?
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - JIM HAAS: Oh, the Humanity!
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - GREGG WEINLEIN: The School Friendship Challenge
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - Letters
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - TopSchoolJobs Recruitment Marketplace
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 29
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 30
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - 31
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - GARY BEACH: Does the U.S. Department of Education Need to Be Restructured?
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - CW1
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - CW2
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - CW3
Education Week - November 16, 2016 - CW4