California Proposition 58, Non-English Languages Allowed in Public Education (2016)
|California Proposition 58, Non-English Languages Allowed in Public Education|
November 8, 2016
Education and English language
On the ballot
|A "yes" vote is a vote in favor of repealing most of the 1998 Proposition 227, the "English in Public Schools" Initiative, thus effectively allowing non-English languages to be used in public educational instruction.|
|A "no" vote is a vote against repealing most of the "English in Public Schools" Initiative, which was designed to prohibit non-English languages from being used in public schools.|
Proposition 227Proposition 227 of 1998. In English-only programs, students learn subjects from teachers who speak only in English. Proposition 227 required English learners to take one year of intensive English instruction before transitioning to English-only classes. 
Under Proposition 227, parents of English learners can opt their children into bilingual programs by signing a waiver. The waiver is approved if one of three conditions are met. First, the student must have "attended an English-only classroom for at least 30 days and whose teachers, principal, and district superintendent all agree would learn better in a bilingual program." Second, the student must be at least 10 years old. Third, the student is already a fluent English speaker.
How would English learning change?Proposition 58 would no longer require English-only education for English learners. Schools would be allowed to utilize multiple programs, including bilingual education. In bilingual programs, students learn from teachers who speak both their native language and English. Furthermore, parental waivers would no longer be needed to take non-English-only classes. 
If requested by enough parents, schools would be required to offer specific English learner programs. School districts and county offices of education would ask for annual feedback on English learner programs from parents and community members.
Text of the measure
Ballot titleThe ballot title is as follows:
|“||SB 1174 (Chapter 753, Statutes of 2014), Lara. English language education.||”|
Ballot summaryThe long-form ballot summary is as follows:
|“||Preserves requirement that public schools ensure students obtain English language proficiency. Requires school districts to solicit parent/community input in developing language acquisition programs. Requires instruction to ensure English acquisition as rapidly and effectively as possible. Authorizes school districts to establish dual-language immersion programs for both native and non-native English speakers. Fiscal Impact: No notable fiscal effect on school districts or state government.||”|
Fiscal impactThe fiscal impact statement for this initiative is: Note: The fiscal impact statement for a California ballot initiative authorized for circulation is jointly prepared by the state's legislative analyst and its director of finance.
Full textThe full text of the initiative measure is available here.
OfficialsProposition 58 was sponsored by the following officials in the legislature:
- Gov. Jerry Brown (D)
- Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D)
- State Superintendent Tom Torlakson
- Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D)
- State Controller Betty Yee (D)
- Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D)
- U.S. Rep. Judy Chu (D-27)
- U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-39)
- U.S. Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-47)
- U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-28)
- Sen. Kevin de Leon (D-24)
- Sen. Ben Allen (D-26)
- Sen. Jim Beall (D-15)
- Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-19)
- Sen. Isadore Hall (D-35)
- Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-22)
- Sen. Jerry Hill (D-13)
- Sen. Mark Leno (D-11)
- Sen. Connie Leyva (D-20)
- Sen. Carol Liu (D-25)
- Sen. Mike McGuire (D-2)
- Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-32)
- Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-30)
- Sen. Richard Pan (D-6)
- Sen. Fran Pavley (D-27)
- Sen. Richard Roth (D-31)
- Sen. Bob Wieckowski (D-10)
- Sen. Lois Wolk (D-3)
- Rep. Anthony Rendon (D-63)
- Rep. Luis Alejo (D-30)
- Rep. Rob Bonta (D-18)
- Rep. Ian Calderon (D-57)
- Rep. Nora Campos (D-27)
- Rep. David Chiu (D-17)
- Rep. Kansen Chu (D-25)
- Rep. Cristina Garcia (D-58)
- Rep. Eduardo Garcia (D-56)
- Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-51)
- Rep. Reginald Jones-Sawyer (D-59)
- Rep. Kevin McCarty (D-7)
- Rep. Miguel Santiago (D-53)
- Rep. Susan Talamantes Eggman (D-13)
- Rep. Tony Thurmond (D-15)
- Rep. Das Williams (D-37)
- Mayor Ed Lee, San Francisco
- Mayor Bao Nguyen, Garden Grove
- Mayor Robert Garcia, Long Beach
- California Democratic Party
- California Peace and Freedom Party
- Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club
- Santa Monica Democratic Club
|Sen. Lara (D-33) unveiling the bill to the media in April 2014.|
- San Diego State University
- Alhambra Unified School District
- Alum Rock Unified School District
- Anaheim City School District
- Berkeley Unified School District
- El Rancho Unified School District
- Firebaugh-Las Deltas Unified School District
- Garvey Unified School District
- Hueneme School District
- Los Angeles Unified School District
- Lynwood Unified School District
- Montebello Unified School District
- Norton Space and Aeronautics Academy Board of Education
- Oceanview School District
- Pajaro Valley Unified School District
- San Bernardino City School District
- San Francisco Unified School District
- Woodland Joint Unified School District
- Margaret Grogan, Dean, College of Educational Studies, Chapman University
- Bill Ong Hing, Professor of Law, University of San Francisco
ArgumentsSupporters make the following arguments in support of Proposition 58:
- The proposition would allow all students to become proficient in English as soon as possible.
- The proposition would encourage schools to use instruction programs rather than expand multilingual education, thereby providing English speakers the opportunity to learn a second language.
- The proposition would restore local control for California schools.
- The proposition's changes would prepare students more effectively for the future.
- Multilingual education encourages "intercultural interactions and empathy."
Official argumentsThe following argument in support of Proposition 58 was provided in the official voter guide:
OppositionKeep English for the Children is leading the campaign in opposition to Proposition 58.
- Ron Unz, advocate for Proposition 227
- Mauro E. Mujica, U.S. English Chairperson
ArgumentsOpponents make the following arguments in opposition of Proposition 58:
- The proposition would repeal the requirement that California children be taught English in public schools.
- The proposition would lift restrictions on the California legislature making future changes, enabling the legislature to reestablish Spanish-Almost-Only instruction in public schools.
- The proposition would overturn policies that actually improved language education.
Official argumentsThe following argument in opposition of Proposition 58 was provided in the official voter guide:
|Total campaign cash|
as of September 14, 2016
SupportAs of September 14, 2016, the following PACs were registered to support Proposition 58 and the total amount raised below was current as of the same date. The amount spent listed below was current as of June 2016.
|PAC||Amount raised||Amount spent|
|Yes On 58, Californians For English Proficiency Sponsored By Teachers And Service Employees Organizations Click here for details||$814,658,00||$221,691.27|
|California Teachers Association PAC||$500,000|
|Association of California School Administrators Issues PAC||$100,000|
|SEIU Local 2015 Issues PAC||$50,000|
|United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Issues PAC||$25,000|
|California Faculty Association Political Issues Committee||$15,000|
|United Domestic Workers of America PAC||$15,000|
OppositionAs of September 14, 2016, there were no PACs registered to oppose Proposition 58.
MethodologyIn calculating campaign finance for supporting and opposing committees, Ballotpedia does not count donations or expenditures from one PAC to another since that would amount to counting the same money twice. This method is used to give the most accurate information concerning how much funding was actually provided to and spent by the opposing and supporting campaigns. Ballotpedia reports all in-kind donations reported by the state government.
- Los Angeles Times: "... there's a difference between bilingual education done badly and bilingual education done right. A vast store of research shows that bilingual education, when it is well-designed and implemented, can be at least as good, and often better at helping immigrant and other non-English speaking students gain academic proficiency... And if students aren't achieving academically, Proposition 58 could be amended through a simple majority vote of the Legislature. Immigrant parents and their local school districts should be trusted to work this out together. Vote yes on Proposition 58."
- The Press Democrat: "Proposition 58 on the Nov. 8 ballot would repeal Proposition 228 and restore the ability of local school districts, in consultation with parents, to offer bilingual education programs. Over the past several years, California has been increasing local control of K-12 education. Proposition 58 is another step in that direction, and The Press Democrat recommends a yes vote."
- The Bakersfield Californian: "One might assume Prop. 227 was an outgrowth of intolerance. But actually many supporters included Latino parents who were frustrated by their English-learner students languishing for years in bilingual classes and failing to acquire the language proficiency needed to prepare for good-paying, professional jobs. English-learners are students who are unable to communicate fluently or learn effectively in English. ... “It’s our job to provide the language and the culture of the nation, which is English,” Noonan said. “Why screw up a good thing? This is working. This is working so well.” We agree. Californians should vote no on Prop. 58."
Legislation trajectoryProposition 58 was sponsored in the California State Legislature by State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-33) as Senate Bill 1174, or the Multilingual Education for a 21st Century Economy Act.
The bill passed through the legislature largely along party lines. In the House, all "aye" votes came from Democratic legislators and all but two "nay" votes came from Republican legislators. In the Senate, all "nay" votes came from Republican legislators while all but three "aye" votes came from Democratic legislators.
Proposition 227Proposition 227 (the English Language in Public Schools Statute), also known as the English for the Children Act, was introduced by Ron Unz, a software entrepreneur in Silicon Valley, and Gloria Mata Tuchman, a teacher in Santa Ana, California. The statute called for changes to the approach used to teach "Limited English Proficient" (LEP) students in California public schools, requiring that special classes be taught predominantly in English and shortening the time that LEP students were in special classes before moving to regular classes.
Ron Unz senate runBefore drafting Proposition 227, Ron Unz ran for governor in California in 1994. In March 2016, Unz entered into the race for Senator Barbara Boxer's vacant seat as a Republican candidate, saying that the main reason for his candidacy was to raise awareness about SB 1174 and efforts to repeal Proposition 227. "After considering various options, I decided that becoming a statewide candidate myself was the probably the best means of effectively focusing public attention on this repeal effort and defeating it," Unz stated on his website.
Path to the ballot
|Voting on Education|
|Not on ballot|
The timeline for Senate Bill 1174 was:
- February 20, 2014: Introduced into the California Legislature
- April 30, 2014: The Senate Education Committee, in an eight to zero vote, recommended the bill's approval
- May 23, 2014: The Senate Appropriations Committee, in a seven to zero vote, recommended the bill's approval
- May 27, 2014: Approved by California Senate for the first time
- June 26, 2014: The Assembly Education Committee, in a five to two vote, recommended the bill's approval
- August 14, 2014: The Assembly Appropriations Committee, in a twelve to five vote, recommended the bill's approval
- August 25, 2014: Approved by California State Assembly
- August 26, 2014: Senate concurred with assembly's amendments
- September 28, 2014: Gov. Brown (D) signed the legislation, thus placing Proposition 58 on the ballot
Assembly voteAugust 25, 2014
|California SB 1174 Assembly Vote|
Senate voteMay 27, 2014
|California SB 1174 Senate Vote|
|Verbatim fact check: Does an increase in the number of propositions on the ballot in California lead to more of those propositions being rejected by voters?|
examined the election results for statewide propositions on the ballot
between 1912 and 2014 to determine if there is a simple correlation
between the number of propositions on the ballot and the proportion of
propositions that are rejected by voters. In elections with more than 13
propositions, the average number of propositions on the ballot per
election during the period, voters rejected 44 percent of propositions.
In elections with 13 or fewer statewide propositions on the ballot, 42
percent were rejected.|
Read Ballotpedia's Verbatim fact check »
California experienced a 2 percent increase in total employment from 2011 to 2012, falling below the 2.2 percent increase at the national level during the same period.
DemographicsCalifornia exceeded the national average for residents who attained at least bachelor's degrees, according to data from 2009 to 2013. The United States Census Bureau found that 30.7 percent of California residents aged 25 years and older attained bachelor's degrees, compared to 28.8 percent at the national level.
The median household income in California was $61,094 between 2009 and 2013, compared to a $53,046 national median income. Census information showed a 16.8 percent poverty rate in California during the study period, compared to a 14.5 percent national poverty rate. To expand the boxes below, click [show] on the right side of each box.
Recent newsThis section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the terms California Proposition 58 language 2016. This list of articles is automatically generated from Google. Ballotpedia does not curate or endorse these articles; they are included to provide readers with the most recent news articles on the subject. Click here to learn more about this section.
- Proposition 58 would bring back bilingual education in California. And that's a good thing. - Los Angeles Times
- Prop. 58 would help English learners retain native language - San Francisco Chronicle
- Business Backs Bilingualism - Language Magazine
- Our View: Put California students first: Vote no on Prop. 58 - The Bakersfield Californian
- Thumbs up: Vote yes on Prop 58 - Santa Rosa Press Democrat
- IGS poll finds voters prioritize learning English as well as speaking multiple languages - UC Berkeley
- Morning Report: The Water Authority's Battery Gamble - Voice of San Diego
- Teachers Union Pushes the Bilingual Education Teachers Hate - Breitbart News
- Institute of Governmental Studies releases poll data on death penalty, bilingual education - Daily Californian
- Bilingualism vs. “Bilingual Education” - Fox and Hounds Daily
- Los Angeles Times, "Lawmakers move to scrap English-only instruction," August 26, 2014
- San Francisco Gate, "S.F. seen as model in bilingual education over English only," February 13, 2014