Sacramento Bee

Friday, October 9, 1998

Prop. 227 Rules Adopted

The state Board of Education on Thursday adopted formal regulations giving local school districts broad flexibility in deciding how best to implement Proposition 227, the June ballot measure that virtually eliminated traditional bilingual education in California.

In approving the regulations, the board essentially left intact emergency regulations put in place in July. Proposition 227 requires that children who are not fluent in English be placed in structured language programs taught "overwhelmingly" in English. It allows students to remain in bilingual programs (in which students are taught core subjects in their primary language while they learn English) only if parents requested a waiver.

The regulations adopted by the board allow districts to determine what form of structured English program to adopt, so long as the approach is deemed successful, as measured by standardized tests.

The board did make one substantive change to the emergency regulations, providing that school officials can deny waiver requests if they determine that the alternative requested would be educationally inferior to a structured English program. Under the emergency regulations, districts had to have "substantial" evidence that the alternative program was unsound.