The California Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors recently voted to support Proposition 58, the California Education for a Global Economy Initiative, on the November 2016 ballot.
The CalChamber Board supports Proposition 58 because California’s economic success depends on its ability to prepare a workforce educated to compete in a global economy.
If approved by voters, Proposition 58 would amend and repeal certain portions of Proposition 227 and add a few new provisions regarding English language instruction. Proposition 227, the “English Language in Public Schools” initiative approved by voters in 1998, mandates that all children in California public schools be taught English by being taught in English unless parents have gone through a waiver process.
Proposition 58 would repeal existing law giving parents/guardians standing to sue for enforcement and making public school administrators and teachers personally liable for failing to provide an English only curriculum. This right to sue has had the effect of doing away with most bilingual programs/classes. Before the passage of Proposition 227, 30% of California’s English Learners were taught in bilingual programs. Ten years after the passage of Proposition 227, about 5% of English Learners were taught in bilingual programs. The California Department of Education reports that of the 10,393 schools currently in California, only 312 offer multilingual programs.
Top education systems in the world all require students to learn multiple languages. Yet California, with its natural reserve of diverse linguistic resources has failed to develop a multilingual workforce.
Sixty-six percent of people around the world speak more than one language while only 20% of people in the U.S. speak multiple languages. Students with a strong proficiency in English who also speak another language are better equipped to compete in the global workforce and offer California employers a more prepared and educated workforce.
CalChamber Highlights Positions on All Ballot Initiatives
Below is a recap of CalChamber’s positions on November 2016 Ballot Measures:
Proposition 51 — School Bonds
Proposition 52 — State Fees on Hospitals. Federal Medi-Cal Matching Funds
Proposition 54 — Legislative Transparency
Proposition 58 — English Language Education
Proposition 53 — Revenue Bonds
Proposition 55 — Tax Extension on High Wealth Individuals
Proposition 61 — Prescription Drug Purchases. Pricing
NOT TAKING A POSITION
Proposition 56 — Cigarette Tax to Fund Healthcare, Tobacco Use Prevention, Research, and Law Enforcement
Proposition 57 — Criminal Sentences. Juvenile Criminal Proceedings and Sentencing
Proposition 59 — Campaign Finance. Voter Instruction
Proposition 60 — Adult Films
Proposition 62 — Death Penalty
Proposition 63 — Firearms. Ammunition Sales
Proposition 64 — Marijuana Legalization
Proposition 65 — Carry-Out Bags. Charges
Proposition 66 — Death Penalty. Procedures
Proposition 67 — Referendum to Overturn Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags