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Big numbers

Ron Unz, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur who became famous as the chief organizer and financier of the 1998 initiative that curtailed bilingual education in California, now wants to pursue that issue as a member of the U.S. Senate. He has announced he'll seek the Republican nomination to run against Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat, in next year's elections.

Mr. Unz led support for Proposition 227, the statewide ballot measure that aimed to replace most bilingual education programs with one-year English-immersion programs.

He says that, if elected, he will work to eliminate bilingual education nationwide.

"I would support federal legislation that would redirect funding away from native-language instruction toward English-language immersion," Mr. Unz said in an interview.

Ms. Feinstein opposed Proposition 227. But her communications director, Howard Gantman, said she was concerned about whether bilingual education "ensures that the maximum number of children speak and learn English as soon as possible."

State Sen. Ray Haynes, San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn, and Orange County businessman J.P. Gough have also announced they'll seek the gop nomination.

The Winter Olympics come to Salt Lake City in 2002. As part of its preparations, Utah has been spending a lot of money to upgrade its roads and highways.

State teachers would like to shift priorities back to education. Earlier this month, more than 1,000 educators rallied at the state Capitol and called for more spending to reduce class sizes, provide classroom supplies, and raise salaries.

"The attitude in this state is stack 'em deep and teach 'em cheap," Phyllis Sorenson, the president of the Utah Education Association, was quoted as saying at the Oct. 7 rally.

Gov. Mike Leavitt, a Republican, apparently got the message. He held a news conference the same day and promised a significant increase in spending for education in the next state budget.

Education spending in the state has been a victim of the push for highway construction, said the governor, who was light on any specifics for the increases he plans to propose.

"I'm looking at some big numbers--ones the education community can be optimistic about," he told reporters.

-- Mary Ann Zehr & Mark Walsh

Vol. 19, Issue 8, Page 16

Published in Print: October 20, 1999, as State Journal

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