- LOS ANGELES TIMES
Saturday, May 30, 1998
- Voting With Their Feet
200 Translate Opposition to Anti-Bilingual Education
Initiative Into March
By ROBERTO J. MANZANO, Times Staff Writer
Waving signs and chanting "Education first--No on 227!", about 200 people marched
through downtown Santa Ana on Friday to show opposition to a state ballot initiative that
would end bilingual education.
"March, shout so everyone looks at us," Lisa Gonzales-Solomon encouraged those near
"We're calling it a walk. It's nothing radical or militant," said Gonzales-Solomon, one of
the organizers of the demonstration and a teacher at Pio Pico Elementary School in Santa
Ana. "We're just concerned about our kids and want to show we're against 227."
Police officers directed traffic at large intersections along the route, which started at
Flower and Bishop streets and continued 10 blocks to Civic Center Plaza. Several
motorists honked in support.
Co-sponsored by Silicon Valley entrepreneur Ron K. Unz, Proposition 227, also known
as "English for the Children," will be on the ballot Tuesday. The initiative seeks to place
children with limited English, about 1.4 million statewide, into mainstream classes
after about a year of English immersion. With limited exceptions, it would effectively
end the practice of teaching in languages other than English.
The initiative would also set aside $50 million a year for 10 years to train English
- BILINGUAL MARCH
- Parents and students of the Santa Ana Unified School District, walking through
downtown Santa Ana, in opposition to Proposition 227, which would end
- PHOTO BY GLENN KOENIG / Los Angeles Times
- A recent Los Angeles Times Poll indicated that two-thirds of Orange County's registered
voters would support Proposition 227.
- Some Latino and Asian American activists have endorsed the measure, arguing that it
would be a step to overhaul a failing system.
- But critics contend that getting rid of native language instruction would leave immigrant
students at a severe disadvantage. Others argue that the initiative is racist and anti
- Santa Ana Unified School District last month passed a resolution against the initiative.
- Miguel Hernandez, one of Friday's demonstrators, said he does not understand why
Proposition 227 has so much support.
- "I don't know why people are against bilingual education. Why the big deal?" asked
Hernandez, a Santa Ana resident. "We're not against English. We're against Unz."
- Another marcher, Flora San Roman, said that passing Proposition 227 is not the best
way to ensure that children learn English.
- "I don't think it applies to children's needs," said San Roman, a teacher at Pio Pico
Elementary School. "It's unfair because it gives them little opportunity to feel
comfortable in their own languages."
- After the march, the demonstrators were joined by about 50 other educators, parents
and children at Civic Center Plaza for a rally and speeches.
- Audrey Yamagata-Noji, Santa Ana Unified trustee, told the crowd: "Who's to say you
parents don't know what's best for your children? Prop. 227 says you parents don't
matter. And that's wrong."
- Switching from English to Spanish, she said to the group, "If I can learn Spanish, these
kids can learn Spanish too."
- Copyright Los Angeles Times