Debra J. Saunders

 No lie. Then again, you can see why bilingual-education advocates wouldn't want to hear or read Rodriguez. Their cause relies on the ability of zealots to ignore unwanted data -- and, more importantly, student success.

 When English-immersion activist Ron Unz put Proposition 227 on the ballot in 1998, most Democrats opposed the measure, and many educators did, too. They had their reasons. They feared non-English speakers would not learn subject matter. They believed English immersion would be especially harmful to older students.

 But a funny thing happened. Proposition 227 worked. Within five years, the number of limited-English students who could speak English proficiently tripled. Educators who cared about immigrant children succeeding reassessed their beliefs. They didn't have to turn their backs on bilingual education entirely, let me add. To their credit, they simply came to realize that English immersion often works better with young children.

 Bilingual advocates have been faced with two ways to address the success of Proposition 227. They could admit that bilingual education only works best for some people, and concentrate on that niche. Or they could ignore the successes of English immersion because they want Latinos to speak Spanish first and foremost. Imagine, then, how bilingual zealots would be especially threatened by a Latino who, from personal experience, knows in his heart that English fluency is attainable and essential for immigrant children to succeed in America. His crime is that he makes it more difficult for the bilingual lobby to dismiss English immersion supporters as racists.

 Such a man must be vilified. He must be marginalized. He must be silenced.

Debra J. Saunders

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