portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article announcements oregon & cascadia

community building

Citizen panel: Reject limit on bilingual education

Salem, Oregon. The state of Oregon's first Citizens' Initiative Review was successfully concluded today. The panel of 23 voters from across Oregon presented their findings, called a "Citizens' Statement", at a press conference held at the steps of the State Capitol.
The panel was tasked with evaluating Measure 58, which proposes placing limits on bilingual education in public schools. After hearing from representatives of the campaigns for and against the measure, and upon close review of testimony provided by campaigns and background experts on the issue, the panel concluded 14 to 9 to oppose the measure. Upon deciding their position on the ballot measure, both sides drafted a position statement to provide voters with a clear assessment of the pros and cons of Measure 58. The text of the panel's Citizens' Statement is provided below.

The full version of the panel's Citizens' Statement is linked here!

Citizens' Statement in Opposition

Position taken by 14 of the 23 panelists.


We oppose Measure 58 because it will not save taxpayer dollars

and will not guarantee English language profi ciency. M58 will

not help Oregon's children!

Measure 58:

Is projected to cost over $500 million in the fi rst two years

Does not acknowledge research which shows most students

need more than 1-2 years to become proficient in English

Does not allow flexibility for teachers to meet the needs of

individual students

Does not allow for any flexibility or exceptions to the rigid one

to two year time lines

Requires the legislature to determine what comprises English

Immersion for the entire state of Oregon

Does not allow for local control

Would eliminate current successful programs

Is NOT the same as the more flexible laws passed in CA and

AZ, and no other state in the nation has a law as restrictive as

this one

May have unpredicted and/or unintended social and financial


After five days of receiving testimony about M58, we cannot

support it. According to published research the time lines

imposed are unrealistic. Not ALL students learn English in such

a short time frame. Most of our non-English speaking students

are already in English immersion programs. M58 will not solve

current problems



Citizens' Statement in Support

Position taken by 9 of the 23 panelists.

We members of the Citizen Initiative Review demonstration

support Ballot Measure 58 for the following reasons:



Current programs have not worked for years so we need a


The Oregon legislature has had their opportunity to address

this issue, they have not, and that is why we need Measure 58.

We need a standardized English immersion program that is

more effective and less of a financial burden

To efficiently and effectively use state funds by merging non-

English speaking students with native English speaking students

to achieve proficiency.

The time line has been proven in other states to be sufficient

and it promotes accountability

Immersion programs in other states have produced higher test


This measure will help school districts be on equal ground. It

will also enhance teaching programs, simplify instructions, help

students learn, and grasp the English language more rapidly.

Consistency across the state will keep students that transfer

from other schools from falling behind when they enter a new

school district.

Estimated costs in other successful states is less than 15%

of what Oregon is currently spending per student, leading to

substantial savings in the future.

Oregon schools are not meeting required standards and need to

improve. We believe that this measure will greatly improve our

schools, helping children learn English while keeping up with

core curriculum.