Original URL: http://www.thebostonchannel.com/newscenter5/1749654/detail.html
Debate Passionate Over Bilingual Education
Question 2 Would End Bilingual Education In State
TheBostonChannel, October 30, 2002, BOSTON -
Question 2, a proposal to eliminate bilingual education, is drawing
passionate responses on both sides of the
NewsCenter 5's Rhondella Richardson reported that the proposal would replace
bilingual education with an English
The ballot initiative has drawn together political foes to oppose it. The Boston
City Council, Boston Mayor Tom Menino and
the School Committee gathered Wednesday to speak out against Question 2.
Currently, children can be taught basic subjects in their native language for
three years before being mainstreamed.
Question 2 on the ballot implements a one-year English-immersion program for all
children under age 10, in which
everything would be taught in English.
"Once they've learned the English language, we allow for foreign language
instruction and native language maintenance,"
Question 2 supporter Lincoln Tamayo said.
Opponents said the proposal is too restrictive on teachers.
"Question 2 makes it illegal for a teacher in Massachusetts public schools to
speak any language but English to a child,"
attorney Tim Duncan said.
A yes vote on Question 2 would allow teachers to be sued. Question 2 supporters
said enforcement of the law is important,
but there will be exceptions.
"The ballot question allows for the native language to be use in a classroom
whenever necessary to allow kids [to
transition] into a new lesson," Tamayo said.
But school officials said that the proposal would tie teachers' and parents'
hands, not allowing them to choose the
educational plan in their community.
"Let's give parents a choice," School Superintendent Thomas Payzant said. "Let's
be sure there's accountability for the
If Question 2 is voted down, parents will continue to choose between traditional
methods: the native language is gradually
phased out over three years, English as a second language classes are taught or
English-immersion programs can be
"Let's make sure that when you vote this coming Tuesday, you do it to support
diversity, not to reject it," question
opponent Felix Arroyo said.
Supporters said that English immersion will help children be more successful.
"I'm very proud of my first language -- Spanish -- but I can't imagine anything
more pro-immigrant than to give a child
the very foundation of success in our society as quickly as possible, and that's
a command of English," Tamayo said.
If Question 2 passes, the new curriculum could take effect by next September.
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