Massachusetts English in Public Schools Initiative, Question 2 (2002)
the English Language
|Not on ballot|
The Massachusetts English Language Education in Public Schools Initiative, also known as Question 2, was on the November 5, 2002 ballot in Massachusetts as an initiated state statute. It was approved.
It sought to require that, with limited exceptions, all public school children must be taught English by being taught all subjects in English and being placed in English language classrooms.
|Question 2 (English in Public Schools)|
Official results via: The Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth Elections Division
Text of measure
The following is the Attorney General's summary:
The full text of the legislation proposed by the question is available here.
|historical ballot measure article requires that the text of the measure be added to the page.|
The initiative was sponsored by English for the Children of Massachusetts, chaired by Lincoln Tamayo, Christine Rossell and Rosalie Pedalino Porter. They argued the following:
- For the last thirty years, state law required that immigrant students be segregated into native language classrooms, often for many years. Many of these students never learn to read English, write English, or even speak English. As a result, they were denied the same opportunities for success as children born here.
- “Bilingual education” has been a failed experiment, but bilingual education teachers and administrators, as well as Massachusetts legislators, have refused to admit this disastrous failure and have defended this system, destroying the lives of countless immigrant students.
- Under the proposed measure, children who don’t know English would be placed in an intensive sheltered English immersion program, teaching them English as quickly as possible. Once they learn English, they would be enrolled in regular classes.
The initiative was opposed by the Committee for Fairness to Children & Teachers, chaired by Tim Duncan. Duncan argued that, if passed, the proposed law would allow teachers to be personally sued for using a child's native language to help them learn, quoting the following passage of the law:
- “The parent or legal guardian of any school child shall have legal standing to sue for enforcement of the provisions of this chapter, and if successful shall be awarded reasonable attorney’s fees, costs, and compensatory damages.”
Duncan also argued that a similar system had failed in California, and that the new system would cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
The members of the state legislature's Joint Committee on Education, Arts and Humanities stated that they "strongly and unanimously" rejected the initiative. The committee called the proposed law overly simplistic and inflexible, arguing that the initiative ignores the fact that there is more than one proven method to teach English by mandating all students be taught by a single method and restricting the choices of local school districts.
- List of Massachusetts ballot measures
- Procedures for qualifying an initiative in Massachusetts
- Campaign finance requirements for Massachusetts ballot measures
- 2002 ballot measures
- Massachusetts 2002 ballot measures
- Petition drive deadlines in 2008
- Massachusetts signature requirements
- 2002 Massachusetts Voter Guide
- 2002 Massachusetts Election Results
- Secretary of State: Information for Voters 2002 Full text of the initiative
- Information for Voters 2002 - Ballot Question 2 Secretary of State website
- Elections: Massachusetts 2002 Statewide Ballot Measures (PDF) Official 2002 ballot measure results
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