For Immediate Release: November 9, 2016
Contacts: CABE:Jan Gustafson-Corea (951)662-0795, Californians Together: Shelly Spiegel-Coleman 562-756-0493
Overwhelming majority of California voters said Yes to opening the doors and providing more opportunities for Multilingual Education in California Schools
Los Angeles, CA (November 9, 2016) Once more California will lead the nation in recognizing the value and importance of students graduating from our schools proficient in English and one or more other languages. California students, parents and teachers can now freely decide the best possible language program for their children. With the passage of Proposition 58, California is embracing its diversity, giving the hands-on decision of the best language education programs back to those closest to the students.
“As president of Californians Together and a school board member, I am thrilled that the electorate sees being bilingual as an asset, and we will work with policy makers and school districts to make this a reality for California’s students”, said Xilonin Cruz Gonzalez.
This vote removes the barriers put in place 18 years ago by a previous proposition that mandated a “one size fits all” approach to educating 1.4 million students learning English in California schools and diminishing the opportunity for all students to learn another language. Starting July, 2017, any 20 parents at a grade level or 30 parents at a school site can initiate the conversation and planning process for determining with educators the best approach to prepare all students for the 21st century with communication skills in two languages.
“Eliminating barriers and creating equal opportunities for students has been a life-long passion of mine. I’m so proud that the voters of California voted to give all students a chance to learn by overwhelmingly passing Prop 58,” said Senator Ricardo Lara (D-33), author of the legislation that created the proposition. “This decisive vote helps restore the pride in being multi-lingual as a valued skill and reflects a cultural shift toward openness and acceptance of people from all different backgrounds.”
In addition to the whole education community, the California Business Roundtable, the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Medical Association among many more supported Proposition 58 as essential for equipping students with the skills and abilities to meet the demands of our local communities, state and nation. California’s graduates will be our next doctors, teachers, service providers, and business leaders who can build bridges with the use of their bilingualism and confidence to move across California’s diverse ethnic and linguistic communities.
As the sixth-largest economy in the world, California’s passage of Proposition 58 encourages California schools to offer multilingual programs to ensure that our students become proficient in English while also having the chance to learn in other languages. Currently, only 425 of the 10,393 public schools in California offer dual language immersion programs.
In 2010 California became the first state in the United States to establish a state Seal of Biliteracy. Currently, 22 states and Washington DC public schools have adopted a statewide Seal of Biliteracy to honor graduating seniors who are proficient in English and another language. With the passing of Proposition 58, California continues to demonstrate its commitment to the education and advancement of its richly diverse population.
“This is an historic day. The California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) will be working from now until Proposition 58 is implemented in July, 2017 to help support and prepare our schools, teachers, administrators and school board members to best plan for this exciting new era in public education” said Karling Aguilera Fort, president of CABE.
For more information on next steps now that Proposition 58
has passed please visit:
Californians Together is a statewide coalition of 25 parent, teacher, education advocacy and civil rights groups committed to improving policy and practice for educating the state’s 1.4 million English Learners. Since 2001, Californians Together, a nonprofit organization, has served as a clarion voice on behalf of language minority students in California public schools
California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) is a non-profit organization incorporated in 1976 to promote a vision of biliteracy, educational equity, and 21st century success for all. CABE is a statewide association with members and chapters throughout California along with partnerships with other state and national advocacy organizations who work to promote equity and student achievement for students with diverse cultural, racial, and linguistic backgrounds.