Texas Board Member Calls for English Immersion

By Mary Ann Zehr — March 20, 2007 1 min read
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Katherine Leal Unmuth, of the Dallas Morning News, tells how a school board member in the Irving Independent School District in Texas pitched the idea of starting classes in English immersion and was told by the district’s superintendent that it’s against the law. Texas requires bilingual education. (Click here to read Ms. Unmuth’s article.)

This isn’t the first time that educators or education leaders in Texas have suggested that the state should offer school districts more flexibility in how they teach English-language learners. I wrote about discussions on this issue held by the Texas Board of Education last school year.

If Texas educators do try to overturn the requirement for bilingual education in the state, they will have to follow a different process than was the case in Arizona, California, and Massachusetts, where voters approved ballot initiatives to curtail bilingual education. Texas doesn’t have a ballot-initiative process.

The ballot initiatives passed in Arizona, California, and Massachusetts made English immersion, where students receive instruction only in English, the default approach for teaching English-language learners.

Along with Texas, New Jersey and Illinois require bilingual education. I wrote about bilingual education in New Jersey in January.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.