I just read the letters (Sept. 13), both pros and cons, with regard to Frank del Olmo's article (Editorial Pages, Sept. 28) on the implications of Proposition 63. As an English-as-a-second-language teacher and one who also possesses a bilingual certificate, I am naturally concerned about the fate of such a measure to make English the official language of our state.
No doubt there are areas of the country in which this initiative appears to be of no concern or an unnecessary effort. Many people are apt to vote for this measure with little knowledge of the consequences. No doubt some people think that English is already the official language of this country. Unfortunately, there are areas in this nation where passage of this proposition could result in more negative feelings toward non-native speakers of English. There is a justifiable fear, especially among Hispanics, Chinese and speakers of certain Southeast Asian languages who live in California, Texas, Florida and other states with high numbers of these minorities.
At Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, where I have taught English as a second language since 1980, I have had no less than 20 different languages spoken by my students. This mixture of sounds gives my class an international flavor. Although it is an ESL class, I often use bilingual methods and occasionally have to resort to the use of short phrases in Spanish, French, Vietnamese or Cambodian to get my points across.