February 24, 2014 15:29 ET
WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - Feb 24, 2014) - U.S.English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica today released the following statement in response to a bill in the California State Senate that would repeal an existing law prohibiting multilingual instruction of non-English speakers in schools.
SB 1174, the Multilingual Education for a 21st Century Economy Act, was introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara. It would repeal Proposition 227, approved by California voters in 1998. Proposition 227 calls for English learner students to be educated using English immersion rather than bilingual education or other methods. Sen. Lara's proposed legislation will, if passed, require the California Secretary of State to include the repeal of Proposition 227 as a ballot initiative in a November 2016 election.
"Being surrounded by English speakers has been shown to lead to faster proficiency among non-English speakers," Chairman Mujica said. "Furthermore, being surrounded by other foreign language speakers has been shown to delay English acquisition. The ability to learn a foreign language is an advantage and should be encouraged among students -- I myself speak four languages. But in the United States, English proficiency should be the primary objective. Without it, students will face a life struggling with language barriers. Conversely, with a strong base of English proficiency, the doors of opportunity will open to them. I urge the California State Senate to oppose SB 1174 and continue making it their priority to assist English language learner students to acquire English proficiency as soon as possible."
SB 1174 currently awaits assignment to a Senate committee where it will be considered further.
U.S.English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non-partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S.English, Inc. (www.usenglish.org) now has more than 1.8 million members.
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