Oregon Public School English Immersion, Measure 58 (2008)

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Oregon Public School English Immersion, Measure 58 (IRR 19) was on the November 4, 2008 ballot in Oregon as an initiated state statute. It was defeated.

The goal of the initiative was to create a new Oregon state statute (not a constitutional amendment) to require "English immersion" in Oregon's public schools.

Election results

Measure 58
Defeatedd No977,69656.32%
Yes 756,903 43.68%
Election results from Oregon Secretary of State

Text of measure

Ballot title

The ballot title for Measure 58 was:

Prohibits Teaching Public School Student in Language Other Than English for More Than Two Years.[1][2]

Full text

The full text of the legislation enacted by Measure 58 is available here.

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This historical ballot measure article requires that the text of the measure be added to the page.

Specific provisions

The measure would have limited the use of foreign language instruction in public schools to:

  • 1 year for students in kindergarten to 4th grade.
  • 1.5 years for 5th grade through 8th grade.
  • 2 years for high school students.
  • It would also prohibit ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching programs for longer than the mandated time.

Estimated fiscal impact

The state's Financial Estimate Committee prepares estimated fiscal impact statements for any ballot measures that will appear on the ballot. The estimate prepared by this committee for Measure 58 says:

  • The measure will require additional local school spending of between $203 and $253 million in each of the first two years, based on considerations of what it would cost to bring students who currently speak a foreign language up to federal standards.[3]
  • The more conservative estimate offered by the Financial Estimate Committee is based on the experience in Arizona with a similar measure.[4][2]

Chief petitioner Bill Sizemore disputed the state's financial estimate, and said the measure would save education money, contending that "these kids will learn English more quickly when they are required to do so."[5][6]



Measure 58 was sponsored by Bill Sizemore.

Measure 58's chief petitioners were Bill Sizemore, Alan Grosso, and Russ Walker. There was not a ballot measure committee in support of the measure.

The Oregon Voters' Pamphlet had arguments in favor from Oregonians For Immigration Reform, the Marion County Republican Party, FreedomWorks, and Sizemore's Oregon Taxpayers United.[7]

Arguments in favor

Notable arguments made in favor of Measure 58 included:

  • If the measure passes, it will improve the education of Oregon's immigrant children because it will bring about "specialized, intensive English instruction."
  • Current programs in Oregon to teach English to students who do not speak English as a first language are failing; as evidence, supporters of Measure 50 cite a 2007 Oregon Department of Education study that indicated that only 22 of the state's 129 school districts are meeting minimum standards in this area.
  • "Limited English Proficiency" (LEP) students in the state are funded at 150% the rate for regular students but this extra funding, supporters say, is not working. It isn't the money that is being spent that is the issue, they argue, but how the money is being spent.
  • School districts don't have the incentive to move students out of the LEP category because the school districts get more money from the state education department for LEP students than for non-LEP students.
  • A 23-member Citizens' Initiative Review panel examined this ballot measure in-depth in September 2008. They spent five days listening to advocates both for and against the measure. The final vote was 14 opposed to the measure, 9 in support. Final analysis and statement



Measure 58 was opposed by the Parents and Teachers Know Better Coalition, which described itself as "a broad coalition of parents, teachers, and school advocates who care about Oregon's students & schools."[8] The Parents and Teachers Know Better campaign was part of the Defend Oregon coalition, which opposed all five of the ballot initiatives on the November 4 ballot that were sponsored by Sizemore.

Members of the coalition included Stand for Children, Oregon PTA, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon Education Association, American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, Oregon School Employees Association, and the Human Services Coalition of Oregon, among others.[9]

Arguments against

Notable arguments made against Ballot Measure 58 included:

  • It offers a "one-size-fits-all" mandate that doesn't take into account the differences in students' ability to learn academic English.
  • English acquisition researcher Jim Cummins at the University of Toronto it typically takes students five to seven years to acquire full mastery of a second language.[10]
  • It is too expensive.
  • It doesn't define what it means by "English immersion."[11]
  • It doesn't make any exceptions for students with learning disabilities.
  • It isn't based on any research on how students learn. Most language acquisition experts say it takes five to seven years for children to become proficient enough in a new language to meet academic requirements.
  • It will ban popular dual-immersion programs.
  • A 23-member Citizens' Initiative Review panel examined this ballot measure in-depth in September 2008. They spent five days listening to advocates both for and against the measure. The panel voted widely to oppose Measure 58, with 14 voting against it and 9 voting for it. Final analysis and statement


Two campaign committees opposed to Measure 58 registered. They were Defend Oregon and the Committee to Protect Local Control of Schools (CPLCS), led by Kevin Neely, who was also the treasurer of Defend Oregon.

CPLCS reported no significant financial activity as of September 29.[12]

Defend Oregon, as a committee, fought seven different ballot measures, and supported two others. Altogether, the group raised $9 million in 2008.[13]

Major donations to the Defend Oregon group as of October 23 included:[14]

Newspaper editorial opinions

No Oregon newspaper endorsed a "yes" vote on Measure 58.

The Oregonian, Medford Mail Tribune, Statesman Journal, Bend Bulletin, Portland Tribune, Eugene Register-Guard, Daily Astorian, East Oregonian, Corvallis Gazette Times, The World (Coos Bay), Willamette Week, Yamhill Valley News Register, and the Gresham Outlook all endorsed a "no" vote.[18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26][27][28][29][30]

See also: Endorsements of Oregon ballot measures.

Citizen Initiative Review

Non-profit Healthy Democracy Oregon performed a demonstration of the Citizens' Initiative Review process using Measure 58. Twenty-three Oregonians convened for an extensive review of the measure, and published statements in favor of and opposing the measure. Fourteen panelists opposed the measure.[31]

Path to the ballot

What became Oregon Ballot Measure 58 started out as Oregon Initiative Petition 19; it was originally approved for petition circulation on August 30, 2006.

The office of the Oregon Secretary of State announced on June 16, 2008 that its unofficial signature verification process showed that the initiative's supporters had turned in 83,248 valid signatures, versus a requirement of 82,769 signatures. This represented a validity rate of 66.88% calculated over the 124,476 signatures turned in.[32][33]

A union-funded watchdog group asked the Oregon Secretary of State to conduct an investigation into how some of the signatures on the measure were collected. Bill Bradbury, the Secretary of State has said, ""...most all of the initiatives Oregon voters will decide this fall got there through practices that are now illegal. But those practices were legal at the time most of the signatures were submitted." A lawsuit has been filed in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the new laws governing the initiative process in Oregon.[34][35][36]

See also

External links

Suggest a link

Basic information



Additional reading


  1. Oregon Blue Book website, accessed December 12, 2013
  2. 2.0 2.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  3. Estimated financial impact of Oregon Ballot Measure 58, 2008
  4. Financial Estimate Committee's explanation of how it derived its financial impact estimate for Measure 58
  5. State puts high price tag on education measures
  6. Measures could squeeze Oregon budget, critics say
  7. Arguments in favor of Ballot Measure 58
  8. Parents and Teachers Know Better Coalition
  9. Oregon Voters' Pamphlet, list of opponents of Measure 50
  10. Immigration ballot measure (dead link)
  11. CAUSA, "Citizen Jury condemns Oregon measure limiting bilingual ed," September 26, 2008
  12. Financial records for CPLCS
  13. Campaign finance history of Defend Oregon for 2008
  14. Record of donations to Defend Oregon
  15. Oregon Live, "Teachers, nurses add $2.5 million to campaigns," September 10, 2008
  16. "Oregon teachers, other unions wage costly war against measures"
  17. Oregonian, "School workers add $100,000 to campaign," August 25, 2008
  18. | The Oregonian
  19. Medford Mail-Tribune
  20. Statesman Journal
  21. Bend Bulletin
  22. Portland Tribune
  23. Eugene Register-Guard
  24. Daily Astorian
  25. East Oregonian
  26. Corvallis Gazette Times (dead link)
  27. Coos Bay The World
  28. Willamette Week
  29. Yamhill Valley News Register
  30. Gresham Outlook (timed out)
  31. http://www.healthydemocracyoregon.org/node/81
  32. TDN.com: "Sizemore initiatives reach Oregon signature threshold," The Daily News, June 17, 2008
  33. Unofficial signature verification statement from the Oregon Secretary of State
  34. KATU-TV, "Union watchdog group asks for initiative review," July 20, 2008
  35. News.OPB.org: "Progressive Group Claims Ballot Petitions Included Forgeries," Oregon Public Broadcasting, July 15, 2008
  36. NW Labor Press, "Sizemore operation faces new forgery allegations," August 1, 2008