I'm scheduled to do an interview on Monday with a local radio reporter (public radio station KALW, 91.7 FM) about the Libertarian Party's position on Prop. 58 (bilingual education). We've recommended a "no" vote on the measure, a position I fully support and feel I can speak to, but I just wanted to see whether anyone has any points they think would be good to make regarding our opposition. I know we didn't spend much time on most of the ballot measures, and I don't recall any specific discussion on Prop. 58.
Here is my basic argument against the measure:
• The Libertarian Party is the most pro-immigrant party in the United States – we defend the rights of noncitizens of the U. S. to seek work, trade, and live within this country, just as we defend current citizens when they wish to exercise these same rights, and oppose the forced imposition by government of English (or any other language) as the official language
• Libertarians support school choice – we want students and parents to have a wide a range of educational choices, including independent schools and homeschooling, that offer many different educational paths and programs, so that if a student wants bilingual education, that option will be available
• Unfortunately, California currently has a state-run government school system, funded by stolen taxpayer dollars, which is largely run in a top-down manner with a one-size-fits-all curriculum, in which families who do not actively pursue an alternative option are compelled to participate under threat of legal penalty
• The problem is that no single educational institution like this can be all things to all people
• Given that most experience and research tends to suggest that language immersion programs are most effective for learning English as a second language, and what most immigrant parents want for their students, current law, as established by California voters in 1998 with Prop. 227, mandating English immersion as the default method of instruction for students under age 10 but allowing various exemptions and waivers, seems like as reasonable an approach as we are likely to be able to have in the current flawed system
I'll also mention that in trying to learn Spanish myself as an adult, I personally chose a Spanish immersion program (although it was only for a few weeks).
If the reporter characterizes Prop. 58 as simply allowing more bilingual education as a choice, and asks why we wouldn't support that, I'll note that the educational establishment (administration and teachers' unions) tend to have an institutional bias in favor of bilingual education, and without the accountability protections for students and parents provided under current law that Prop. 58 would get rid of, educators would favor and push such programs at the expense of English immersion learning.
Love & Liberty,
((( starchild )))
At-Large Alternate, California LP Executive Committee