Orange County Register
Friday, March 13, 1998
History of State's Bilingual
The bilingual education battle in California began in
1976, when the state Assembly enacted the Bilingual-Bicultural Act. The
law required academic instruction for non-English-speaking students in
their primary language. In 1986, the Legislature enacted a "sunset"
provision to end the act. But the state Board of Education determined that
it was legally obligated to enforce the law. Orange County has the only
school districts that received waivers.
- FEBRUARY 1996: State Board of Education approves
22-month bilingual waiver for Westminster School District.
- JANUARY 1997: Magnolia School District receives
temporary waiver. Savanna School District receives temporary waiver shortly
thereafter. Orange Unified School District petitions for waiver.
- MAY 1997: Santa Ana teacher Gloria Matta Tuchman
and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ron Unz place an initiative on the 1998
ballot that would dismantle the state's bilingual-education law.
- JULY 1997: Hispanic coalition files lawsuit, hoping
to block Orange's bilingual waiver.
- JANUARY 1998: Westminster is first district in
the state to receive a permanent bilingual waiver. The state board reserves
the right to revoke the permanent waiver if the district fails to report
test scores and assessment of students in English-immersion program.
- MARCH 7, 1998: Court rules state's mandate for
bilingual programs outdated and potentially eliminates waiver process for
school districts wanting English-only instruction.
Change May Not Be Imminent in O.C. Schools