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U.S.English Chairman Highlights Benefits of English Immersion Upon Passage of California Bill Targeting English Language Learners

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwired) -- 08/28/14 -- U.S.English Chairman Mauro E. Mujica today released the following statement in response to the California State Legislature's passage of a bill that could repeal a voter-enacted English learning measure and reinstate bilingual education programs in California.

Senate Bill 1174, the California Education for a Global Economy Initiative, was introduced by State Senator Ricardo Lara. The bill would repeal sections of Proposition 227, a measure passed by voters in 1998 which aims to ensure that California's non-English speaking students be instructed through sheltered English immersion to acquire English proficiency most effectively.

Lara's bill would remove the sheltered English immersion requirement, opening the doors to dual-language immersion programs and bilingual education programs throughout the state.

"Proficiency in English is one of the greatest tools students can have to prepare them for their future," Chairman Mujica said. "While being bilingual or multilingual is beneficial, it is imperative that the primary objective of all school districts is to help ensure that all students first become proficient in English. Senate Bill 1174 would be a detriment to this objective. English is the language of commerce not only in the United States, but also in the global economy. For students to be most successful in school and as working professionals, it is in their best interest to learn English as quickly as possible, and maintaining English immersion requirements will help meet this need."

Senate Bill 1174 passed the State Assembly on August 25 by a vote of 53 - 26 and the State Senate on August 26 by a vote of 25 - 10. SB 1174 now awaits action by California Governor Jerry Brown, who is expected to sign off with his approval. Once enacted, the legislation will be presented to voters in the November 2016 general election, and if approved, will take effect on July 1, 2017.

U.S.English, Inc. is the nation's oldest and largest non-partisan citizens' action group dedicated to preserving the unifying role of the English language in the United States. Founded in 1983 by the late Sen. S.I. Hayakawa of California, U.S.English, Inc. (www.usenglish.org) now has more than 1.8 million members.

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KARIN DAVENPORT
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