Original URL: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_1478097,00.html
Group pummels Amendment 31
By Colleen Slevin, Associated Press
Rocky Mountain News. October 14, 2002.
Hundreds of parents and students from Colorado's dual-language schools rallied
Sunday at South High School against a ballot initiative they say would cripple
efforts to teach children to speak both English and Spanish.
Amendment 31, on the Nov. 5 ballot, would change the state Constitution to
require schools to replace bilingual education with an intensive
English-immersion program aimed at getting students into regular classrooms
after one year.
But supporters of dual-language schools say the measure would shut down schools
in which native English speakers and Spanish speakers start school together and
emerge as bilingual by fifth grade.
"Spanish students would be forced into segregated classrooms where the only
person who speaks English is the teacher," Denise Walters, a parent volunteer at
Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, told the approximately 400
demonstrators in front of South High School.
Amendment supporters argue that bilingual education has failed students, leaving
them illiterate in two languages and more likely to drop out of school.
Proponents believe English-immersion classes will help immigrants to assimilate
and advance more quickly in the United States.