A media project to combat the Big Lie
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Press Advisories                                      Issue Briefs

Big Lies

Proposition 227, the anti-bilingual education measure on the June 2 ballot, is leading in the polls for two simple reasons:

  1. Most Californians still don't know what's in it.
  2. False claims by Ron Unz, the initiative's sponsor, have gone largely unchallenged.

UnzWatch plans an aggressive effort to tackle these problems. Our focus will be on the news media which need all the help they can get in reporting this complex debate. Coverage of the campaign thus far has had its weaknesses. According to a Media Alliance study released April 14, the state's major newspapers have yet to explore key issues about Proposition 227, such as:

  • Where is the scientific evidence that a one-year, "one size fits all" approach would be effective for students learning English?
  • Why does this initiative, promoted in the name of "parent choice," effectively eliminate parents' right to choose bilingual education for their children?
  • What's the rationale for a statewide mandate that denies local districts the flexibility to make their own curriculum decisions?
  • How well are "mainstream" teachers prepared to cope with the needs of 1.4 million English learners and how would this impact the schooling of all students?

To cast an informed vote on Proposition 227, Californians need answers to these and numerous other questions. Thus far, however, Ron Unz and his Big Lie techniques have dominated media attention. For the most part, voters have heard only one side of the debate.

Here's where UnzWatch comes in. We are a group of teachers, parents, administrators, researchers, school board members, and other advocates for language-minority students. Our plan is to produce press advisories and fact sheets on key issues in the campaign with special emphasis on refuting fallacies, distortions, and outright falsehoods. For the children of California, the stakes are too high to remain silent.

We welcome your suggestions and support. UnzWatch may be contacted in several ways:

310-204-0308 (fax)
3175 South Hoover, Suite 274, Los Angeles, CA 90007