Original URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/10/08/BA236842.DTL

Repeal of bilingual education lawful, U.S. appeals court says

Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer

Tuesday, October 8, 2002

A federal appeals court on Monday upheld
California's 1998 repeal of bilingual education, saying
the voter-approved measure was motivated by
education, not racism.

The initiative, Proposition 227, overturned 30 years of
policies that allowed bilingual instruction and required
all public school classes to be taught
"overwhelmingly" in English.

Limited-English speakers are now taught in separate
English-only classes that are supposed to last no
more than a year. Parents can request waivers that
allow their children to be instructed in their native
language, a decision that is left up to each school

Opponents led by Latino civil rights organizations
argued that Proposition 227 discriminated against
racial and ethnic minorities by making it impossible
for local schools or the Legislature to restore bilingual
programs. But a federal judge found no proof of
intentional discrimination, and the Ninth U.S. Circuit
Court of Appeals in San Francisco agreed Monday.

The Pacific Legal Foundation, which represented
Proposition 227 sponsor Ron Unz, said the court
recognized the measure as "the lawful,
nondiscriminatory solution to a broken-down

E-mail Bob Egelko at begelko@sfchronicle.com.

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