Original URL: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/local/article/0,1299,DRMN_15_1478097,00.html

Group pummels Amendment 31

By Colleen Slevin, Associated Press
Rocky Mountain News. October 14, 2002.

Hundreds of parents and students from Colorado's dual-language schools rallied Sunday at South High School against a ballot initiative they say would cripple efforts to teach children to speak both English and Spanish.

Amendment 31, on the Nov. 5 ballot, would change the state Constitution to require schools to replace bilingual education with an intensive English-immersion program aimed at getting students into regular classrooms after one year.

But supporters of dual-language schools say the measure would shut down schools in which native English speakers and Spanish speakers start school together and emerge as bilingual by fifth grade.

"Spanish students would be forced into segregated classrooms where the only person who speaks English is the teacher," Denise Walters, a parent volunteer at Harris Bilingual Elementary School in Fort Collins, told the approximately 400
demonstrators in front of South High School.

Amendment supporters argue that bilingual education has failed students, leaving them illiterate in two languages and more likely to drop out of school.

Proponents believe English-immersion classes will help immigrants to assimilate and advance more quickly in the United States.


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