Bilingual Education Column

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Many immigrant students and those with limited English skills are being left behind in California's school-restructuring movement, a report concludes.

California Tomorrow, a San-Francisco-based group that monitors minority and equity issues, spent two years studying the reform efforts of 73 elementary, junior high, and high schools to compile its 360-page report.

Limited-English-proficient students made up at least 21 percent of the enrollment in most schools studied.

Roughly half of the schools had received planning grants from the state's 1991 education-reform initiative, which included explicit references to L.E.P. students' needs. However, the advisory notice sent to schools included just one reference to the issue, the report released last month says.

"The lack of explicitness on this issue has proved to carry a high price,'' it says, as schools have moved forward without considering such students' needs.

The report cites "ragged exhaustion'' among school personnel and calls for increased funding of reform efforts to prevent "burnout and bitterness.''

In the report, California Tomorrow urges the state education department not to award reform aid to schools that do not collect and disaggregate data on the experiences of various racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups for use in planning and evaluation. It also asks the department not to fund schools that do not comply with state and federal laws on serving L.E.P. students.

Complete copies of "The Unfinished Journey'' are available for $24 each, or an executive summary can be purchased for $3 each, from California Tomorrow, Fort Mason Center, Building B, San Francisco, Calif. 94123; (415) 441-7631.

A private language school accused of teaching improper English grammar to its mostly Spanish-speaking students, both youths and adults, has settled a lawsuit filed by Attorney General Dan Morales of Texas.

Instructional materials from Instituto Bilingue Internacional, which operated in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, included gramatically incorrect phrases such as "I love you much'' and "I tell you good words.''

Mr. Morales filed suit last fall alleging that the school was engaged in deceptive trade.

The settlement last month prohibits the school from promising potential students that any product or service will teach them to speak English, and requires that the institute pay $7,000 in civil penalties and court costs.--LYNN SCHNAIBERG

Vol. 13, Issue 25

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