Original URL: http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/288/metro/Menino_vows_to_fight_Question_2_on_ballot+.shtml

Menino vows to fight Question 2 on ballot

By Anand Vaishnav, Boston Globe Staff, 10/15/2002

Mayor Thomas M. Menino yesterday announced he opposes a ballot measure
that would replace bilingual education in Massachusetts with English
immersion and vowed to drum up support among other mayors to help defeat
Question 2.

Menino denounced the
Nov. 5 ballot initiative as
''draconian, misguided, and
counterproductive.''
Question 2, partially
financed by Silicon Valley
millionaire Ron Unz, would
replace bilingual programs
that ease students into
English with English
immersion classes intended
to last one year.

''What they're trying to say
is, wave a magic wand out
there and all kids will learn in one year. That doesn't exist,'' said Menino, the
grandson of Italian immigrants. ''The people who proposed this are in dreamland. I
honestly don't think they get it. ... There is no cookie-cutter approach.''

Lincoln Tamayo, chairman of Unz's local campaign, said he is not surprised that
Menino followed the leaders of the Boston public schools and the Boston Teachers
Union, who also do not support Question 2.

''I am sure that the mayor will carry some weight in Boston,'' Tamayo said. ''I have
more than enough confidence in the ability of the electorate, including rank-and-file
members of the teachers' union, to make their own decision based on what they
believe is right.''

Tamayo and other bilingual education opponents say the programs take too long to
teach English and are staffed with underqualified teachers. The mayor conceded
that some students stay longer than they should, but said they are the exception. He
backs a law signed by Acting Governor Jane Swift in August that grants school
systems flexibility in educating Massachusetts' 39,000 bilingual students in exchange
for stricter state oversight.

Menino's support means that bilingual education proponents such as the Committee
for Fairness to Children and Teachers will be able to tap his powerful field
organization. The mayor's director of neighborhood services, Michael Kineavy, has
met with bilingual education supporters.

Recent Boston Globe/WBZ-TV polls have indicated that voters overwhelmingly
support Question 2.

This story ran on page B3 of the Boston Globe on 10/15/2002.
Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.


 

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