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Trustees Vote to Make English Key Language

September 25, 1998|CHRISTINE CASTRO

Students will receive mostly English instruction under a board policy adopted this week by school trustees.

The policy, approved with a 4-1 vote, ensures that classroom instruction be delivered "overwhelmingly in English," or 80% English and 20% in a student's primary language.

Trustee Kim Ann Guth voted against the policy, saying it was too lenient. "I don't object to the effort that the district has made," Guth said. "It just didn't go far enough."

The board majority said the policy will work as a needed transition into the new English-only instruction mandated by Proposition 227.

The 20% provision is added to help the limited-English-speaking student understand the content of the curriculum, according to the policy, not to replace the primary mode of instruction.

The policy allows waivers for parents who, after 30 days, want to keep their children in bilingual programs. It also requires that students with limited English proficiency go into "sheltered immersion," or English mainstream programs.

Sheltered immersion is designed for students who are in the process of acquiring the English language. The mainstream program adds formal English language arts instruction for students who have demonstrated reasonable literacy and oral proficiency in the language.

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