Original URL: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/election/article/0,1299,DRMN_36_1493424,00.html

Coalition criticizes Amendment 31

By The Associated Press
Rocky Mountain News, October 21, 2002

A bipartisan coalition that included lawmakers, education board members and Attorney General Ken Salazar came out Monday against a plan on the November ballot that would dismantle bilingual education.

Salazar, a Democrat, said he opposes Amendment 31 because it would result in lawsuits by parents who would have up to 10 years to seek restitution for grievances, and will not help children learn English.

"Iím very concerned about the potential for lawsuits," he said.

Rep. Nancy Spence, R-Centennial, said she was inclined to support the amendment, but changed her mind after she
determined it would eliminate successful programs like English as a Second Language that some educators say are working.  Gully Stanford, a member of the state Board of Education, said the proposed constitutional amendment is losing support.

Amendment 31, on the Nov. 5 ballot, would require children learning English to spend no more than a year in English
immersion courses before being placed in regular classrooms. Parents could keep their children in traditional bilingual classrooms by going through a stringent waiver process. Parents would have up to 10 years to file lawsuits.

Rita Montero, spokeswoman for sponsors of the amendment, said current programs do not work.  "Itís 20 years of failure. Their solution is more of the same.

Change is hard, especially for people who profit from the current system," Montero said.



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