Correspondence

Que Bueno?

Letter From Colorado

“Whether or not [sic] it is advisable to completely [sic] shut the door on native-language instruction is a decision that has to be made at the point of instruction,” U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige said on a recent trip to Denver, where he stopped to promote President George W. Bush’s educational-reform agenda.

Colorado voters will likely be asked to decide this November on a proposal that would amend the state constitution to guarantee that public schools put non-English-speaking students in one-year immersion courses rather than the bilingual-education programs favored by the education establishment.  Paige’s opposition to the amendment should not come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the Bush administration’s general “Que Bueno” stance.  But few expected the administration to take sides against the pro-English reformers in such a dramatic and public way.

The Denver Post depicted the Colorado debate as pitting those who favor local control of bilingual education against the supporters of the amendment, who “would remove that choice from local schools and districts.”  I don’t have a dog in a fight between bilingualists and centralizers.  My dog is the one the Post’s reporters somehow manage not to hear barking: immigration reform.  Why on earth would anyone prefer to consolidate...

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