The Debate Over Bilingual Education In California

Alice Callaghan has spent decades working with mostly Mexican and Guatemalan families out of a tiny office near Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles. It doubles as a school for a few dozen 4- and 5-year-olds.

After the Pledge of Allegiance, children scamper to their seats to work on phonics exercises, blended words, vocabulary and reciting classroom rules. Not a word in Spanish is spoken, heard or written on the posters and word puzzles hanging on the walls, and many of the children’s names have been anglicized.

It has been nearly two decades since California imposed significant restrictions on bilingual education and mandated English-only instruction for the state’s 1.4 million English-language learners (ELLs). But on this year’s ballot, Proposition 58 will give voters a chance to lift those restrictions and make it easier for parents to choose.

Proponents of bilingual instruction say the change is long overdue, but opponents are convinced it will be a huge mistake.

Here in downtown Los Angeles, Callaghan — a former nun and self-described liberal — is proud to call this an English-only school.

“Almost all of our children are at the beginning level,” she says. “When they leave first grade, they’re at the advanced level.”

Callaghan and critics of bilingual instruction say it delays kids’ ability to read, write and speak proper English.

Read more: NPR

Gov. Brown Signs Law Requiring Translation of Drug Information

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed a bill that requires California pharmacists to provide translations of prescription instructions to help the millions of residents with limited proficiency in English gain better access to important health care information.

Assembly Bill 1073, authored by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) passed unanimously in both the state Assembly and Senate before being signed by the governor Sunday, according to Ting’s office. AB 1073 requires that all California pharmacists provide either their own translations or use the state Board of Pharmacy’s 15 standardized directions such as “take one pill at bedtime” or “take one pill in the morning,” which are available in Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Read more: Patch

Mexican Publisher Rolls Out Spanish-Language Book Truck In San Diego

A Spanish-language book truck has started traveling to schools, parks, and other areas of San Diego County.

The Mexican publisher Fondo de Cultura Económica launched the book truck with the Mexican Consulate in San Diego this weekend at Ruocco Park.

José Carreño Carlón, director of the Fondo de Cultura Económica, said the truck is meant to promote Spanish-language learning, especially among the children of Latin American families.

“Our native language unites us and protects us,” he said. “That’s why we’re putting forth this project.”

Read more: KPBS