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    Bilingual Education Will Make a Comeback in California

    The state, which has more English-language learners than any other, restricted bilingual education in the '90s. Voters are bringing it back.
    BY  NOVEMBER 9, 2016

    Nearly two decades after voters made California one of the most restrictive states for bilingual education in public schools, residents on Tuesday reversed that decision.

    In California -- which has the nation's highest rate of students who speak a non-English language at home -- fewer than 5 percent of public schools now offer multilingual programs. But by approving Proposition 58, school districts can now offer regular dual-language programs.

    In 1998, voters approved Prop. 227, a law passed amid anti-immigrant fervor that said students whose first language isn't English can only take one year of intensive English instruction before transitioning to English-only classes. Parents who wanted bilingual classes for their kids beyond that had to sign a waiver each year.

    Prop. 58 essentially repeals the waiver system but keeps intact the part of the law requiring proficiency in English. It cruised to victory Tuesday night by a nearly three-to-one margin.

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