|News & Editorials
Colorado Secretary of
State, Elections Center
(No on 31.org)
Proposition 203 (AZ)
Proposition 227 (CA)
Anti-Bilingual Initiative in Colorado
FAILED, 44% - 55%, 11/5/02
Ron Unz has now taken his medicine show to Colorado,
peddling the same brand of English-only
snake oil that he sold to voters in California and
Arizona. Heading the effort, known as English
for the Children of Colorado is Rita Montero, a
former member of the Denver School Board. She is also a former Chicana activist
who, in the 1980s, was prominent in opposing English-only measures and, in
the 1970s, was linked to a group of radicals who died while allegedly trying
to manufacture bombs.
Unz's Colorado initiative – as yet unnumbered – is far
more draconian than California's Proposition 227
and even more restrictive than Arizona's Proposition
203. Like those measures, the Colorado initiative would:
Worse than its Arizona counterpart, the Colorado
- require public schools to replace bilingual instruction with an unproven
“structured English immersion” approach "not normally intended to exceed one
- assign virtually all English learners to classrooms taught “overwhelmingly
in English,” regardless of their individual needs, the advice of professionals,
the wishes of local school boards, or the choices of parents;
- allow "waivers" of the English-only rule, but only under very restrictive
- invite lawsuits against educators and public officials who fail to
observe the English-only mandate to hold them personally liable for financial
damages and banish them from their jobs for at least 5 years; and
- mandate annual, English-language achievement tests for all public
school students – with no exemptions on the basis of
limited English proficiency.
For more information, visit the web site of English Plus: No-on-31.org.
- make "any school district employee" – i.e., any
teacher as well as administrator or school board member – subject to litigation
for violations of the law;
- force parents seeking bilingual instruction
to reapply for waivers "each and every school year" – after students have
spent 30 "instructional days" in English-only classrooms;
- order schools to "report as zero" the scores
of students who do not take the required English-language achievement tests,
with exceptions allowed only for children who are "classified as severely
learning disabled"; and
- outlaw bilingual instruction in the Colorado
Constitution – making it impossible for the state legislature to repeal or
amend the English-only mandate.
(no endorsement implied)
- A Bigot by Any Other Name
– "In Unz's incredibly narrow world view," the substance of Rod Paige's arguments
about English-only mandates don't matter – only his race.
Denver Post, 21 July 2002
So Shut Up, Coach
– Editorial challenges Unz's argument that African-Americans, such as U.S.
Secretary of Education Rod Paige, have a poor "grasp" of the bilingual education
Rocky Mountain News, 18 July 2002
- Bilingual-Ed Foe Chides
Unz's Remarks – Rita Montero, leader of the English-only campaign in
Colorado, claims that "the issue to us is not about race, it's about language."
Unz has footed the bill for Montero's group, supplying about $130,000 so
Rocky Mountain News, 18 July 2002
- Bilingual Foe's E-mail
Slams Education Chief – Unz questions the intelligence of the "black
former football coach" who opposes his English-only initiative.
- Denver Post, 17 July 2002
- Education Chief: Keep Bilingual Option – U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige criticizes Unz initiative
for overriding local control of schools.
Denver Post, 13 July 2002
- Activist for English Immersion Injects Feud into Arizona
Race – Unz blasts back at Paige. In a letter to supporters, he accuses the "black former
football coach" of being "the dimmest member of the Bush Cabinet," who owes
his job to "Affirmative Access."
Arizona Republic, 16 July 2002
- Bilingual-Ed Fight Closer
to Vote – Colorado Supreme Court approves revised
ballot language. The story quotes Boston University political scientist Christine
Rossell as a "moderate" who approves of dual immersion (also known as two-way
bilingual) education. It fails to mention that Rossell is a cosponsor of
Unz's initiative in Massachusetts, which would outlaw such programs there
– just as in Colorado. The "good cop/bad cop" routine still seems to work
with credulous journalists.
Denver Post, 19 June 2002
Plan 'Misleading' – Colorado Supreme Court invalidates
"English for the Children" ballot summary for failing to explain the severity
of restrictions it would impose on parental choice. Unz must now redraft
the initiative's "title" and seek approval from state officials before he
can begin circulating petitions. To qualify the measure for the November
ballot, he needs to submit 80,571 valid signatures by August 5.
Rocky Mountain News, 9 April 2002
Willing To Pay for Bilingual Ed Fight
Denver Post, 22 June 2001
Ed Might Wind up on Ballot
Rocky Mountain News, 20 June 2001
Fray May Go to Ballot
Denver Post, 20 June 2001
Rita – Former school board member Rita Montero,
now leading Unz's campaign in Colorado, found herself in 'explosive' times
in the seventies.
Westword, 7 June 1995
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