California on verge of ending English-only instruction

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The state Legislature has approved a ballot measure that would ask voters two years from now whether California schools should ditch English-only instruction. It’s the latest in a series of victories for Latino lawmakers in Sacramento this Legislative session.

If Gov. Jerry Brown signs the measure and voters approve it, students who speak a foreign language could receive instruction in their native language, at least partially. It would also reopen the door to language-immersion programs in California schools. The part of the current law that ensures that students have access to English instruction would remain in effect.

Lawmakers also passed a bill yesterday that would create a student loan program at U.C. and Cal State universities for immigrants who are here illegally. That bill is also headed to Gov. Brown.

Just last week, the Legislature voted to remove all remnants of Proposition 187 from state law. That measure – approved by voters 20 years ago – barred state services to immigrants in the country illegally.

The measure to end English-only instruction would appear on the 2016 ballot.