On Feb. 20, California Senator Ricardo Lara introduced the Multilingual Education for a 21st Century Economy Act (SB 1174) that will repeal the Bilingual Education Act (Proposition 227), which requires English learners to be taught in mainly English language-dominated classes.
“In an increasingly interconnected global economy, we have to prepare our students for a future in which their success depends on an ability to understand diverse perspectives and cultures [and] communicate in different languages,” Lara said, according to the 33rd Senate District’s website.
In addition, if SB 1174 passes, it would allow parents to decide whether their children receive bilingual instruction.
“Bilingual teaching would assist current students who […] can only speak a foreign language. It lessens the hardships faced by those students because it does not force stress like Prop. 227,” sophomore Jessica Mo said.
According to the Edweek website, SB 1174 opposers claim that Prop. 227 benefits a diversity of students. As stated by the website Onenation, the academic test scores of California’s English learner students increased with Prop. 227. School districts who kept their bilingual programs did not excel as much as school districts who adhered to the terms set by Prop.227.
On the other hand, groups such as the California Association for Bilingual Education and Californians Together support the bill’s passage. These groups, composed of parents, teachers, education advocates and civil rights groups, found that being bilingual is an important skill that runs through our society. In addition, they find that SB 1174 connects the many differentialities between races and cultures.
“Becoming biliterate will give students a valuable 21st century skill [and] celebrate diversity and multiculturalism and recognize that languages are an asset,” executive director of Californians Together Shelly Spiegel-Coleman said, according to the LA Times.