State Journal

Sitting One Out

Anti-Bilingual Ed. Activist Steps Back From Politics

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints

Silicon Valley entrepreneur and software developer Ron K. Unz has set off sparks in recent election seasons by financing campaigns to get rid of bilingual education through various statewide ballot initiatives.

But this time around, he was absent from the scene.

Mr. Unz says he’s withdrawn from the forefront of politics because he’s been creating a software program that would enable people to post political articles and magazines on the Internet more easily.

Ron K. Unz

“I’ve been too busy writing code. It takes a lot of time,” Mr. Unz said in an Oct. 28 telephone interview from his home in Palo Alto, Calif.

In addition, Mr. Unz said, he’s run out of states that have both a lot of students in bilingual education and a process for statewide ballot initiatives.

In bilingual education classes, students are taught some subjects in their native languages while they are learning English.

 In 1998, Mr. Unz launched his personal push to get rid of bilingual education by underwriting a campaign to get California voters to approve a state ballot initiative, called Proposition 227, against the teaching method.

Voters passed the measure in June of that year, leading to a major reduction in native-language instruction in the state. California has about 40 percent of the nation’s 4 million English-language learners.

In the November 2000 election, Mr. Unz paid for the effort to persuade Arizona voters to curtail bilingual education through a state ballot initiative—and they did.

Then in November of 2002, Mr. Unz financed campaigns to get state ballot measures against bilingual education approved in Colorado and Massachusetts. He succeeded in Massachusetts but failed in Colorado.

Mr. Unz said it didn’t make sense to return to Colorado to try to get an initiative passed once again in last week’s election. “When people vote against an initiative in a state, you have to wait a while to put it on the ballot,” he said.

Mr. Unz said it’s been a year and a half since he’s taken an active role in politics. In February of last year, he helped to unseat Nativo Lopez, a member of the school board of Santa Ana, Calif., in a recall election. One of the issues at stake was Mr. Lopez’s encouragement of parents to request waivers under Proposition 227. The waivers permit children to receive bilingual education.

Vol. 24, Issue 11, Page 14

Published in Print: November 10, 2004, as Sitting One Out

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Recommended

Commented

Sponsor Insights

Free Ebook: How to Implement a Coding Program in Schools

Successful Intervention Builds Student Success

Effective Ways to Support Students with Dyslexia

Stop cobbling together your EdTech

Integrate Science and ELA with Informational Text

Can self-efficacy impact growth for ELLs?

Disruptive Tech Integration for Meaningful Learning

Building Community for Social Good

5 Resources on the Power of Interoperability from Unified Edtech

New campaign for UN World Teachers Day

5 Game-Changers in Today’s Digital Learning Platforms

Hiding in Plain Sight - 7 Common Signs of Dyslexia in the Classroom

The research: Reading Benchmark Assessments

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

All Students Are Language Learners: The Imagine Learning Language Advantage™

Shifting Mindsets: A Guide for Training Paraeducators to Think Differently About Challenging Behavior

How to Support All Students with Equitable Pathways

2019 K-12 Digital Content Report

3-D Learning & Assessment for K–5 Science

Climate Change, LGBTQ Issues, Politics & Race: Instructional Materials for Teaching Complex Topics

Closing the Science Achievement Gap

Evidence-based Coaching: Key Driver(s) of Scalable Improvement District-Wide

Advancing Literacy with Large Print

Research Sheds New Light on the Reading Brain

Tips for Supporting English Learners Through Personalized Approaches

Response to Intervention Centered on Student Learning

The Nonnegotiable Attributes of Effective Feedback

SEE MORE Insights >