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Friday, September 26, 2008

Citizen Jury Condemns Oregon Measure Limiting Bilingual Ed

Bill Sizemore’s Measure 58 is a bad idea for Oregon. That is the conclusion a citizen jury of 23 Oregonians came to on Thursday after finishing up their 5 day analysis. Measure 58, sponsored by Bill Sizemore, would prohibit teaching a public school student in a language other than English for more than two years.

Healthy Democracy Oregon, a citizen-based review process for statewide ballot measures, heard arguments for and against from the campaigns. In the end, the decision jurors came to was not surprising. The 16 of the 23 jurors agreed that Measure 58 will not save taxpayer dollars and will not guarantee English language proficiency.

Among their findings, the citizen panel concluded that Measure 58:

  • Is projected to cost over $500 million in the first two years
  • Does not acknowledge research which shows most students need more than 1-2 years to become proficient in English
  • Does not allow flexibility for teachers to meet the needs of individual students
  • Does not allow for any flexibility or exceptions to the rigid one to two year timelines
  • Requires the legislature to determine what comprises English Immersion for the entire state of Oregon
  • Does not allow for local control
  • Would eliminate current successful programs
  • Is NOT the same as the more flexible laws passed in CA and AZ, and no other state in the nation has a law as restrictive as this one
  • May have unpredicted and/or unintended social and financial consequences
  • In a statement from the "Parents and Teachers Know Better" coalition, Campaign Manager Treasure Mackley said, "After both sides presented on Measure 58 it is clear that jurors have sided with educators across the state against this vague and poorly worded measure”. Mackley finished by saying “It's clear that Oregon voters can see that this measure is a one-size-fits-all mandate that would punish both teachers and students throughout Oregon."

    Additionally, Gary Hargett, a renowned education expert, expressed he was pleased with the jurors’ decision, but was also disappointed that it took 23 Oregonians five days to comprehend the negative impacts of Measure 58. Hargett attributed this to Sizemore’s vague and poor wording that he used when drafting the measure.

    The statement from the “No on 58” campaign concluded by saying that school boards, education organizations, teachers, and parents across the state have come out in opposition to Measure 58 because it will take away local control from the people who know our schools best and put the control in the hands of government bureaucrats.

    CAUSA is a member of the Parents and Teachers Know Better Coalition. For more information about Parents and Teachers Know Better and how you can get involved, please visit


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