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Researchers Study Impact of "Unz Initiatives"

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What kind of impact have anti-bilingual-education ballot measures had in Arizona, California, and Massachusetts? The directors of the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Linguistic Minority Research Institute at UC-Santa Barbara, decided to commission research and hold a conference to explore that question.

Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley businessman, financed the campaigns that advocated the passage of anti-bilingual initiatives in all three states so they are nicknamed the "Unz initiatives."

I attended the conference in Sacramento, Calif., last week—hence the light posting on this blog recently—and wrote about how the researchers believe that structured English immersion hasn't proved to be any kind of magic method for teaching English to ELLs. My article, published on-line today at edweek.org, also quotes a couple of people who believe the initiatives have had a positive impact.

1 Comment

Dear All,

I apologize for sending a ppt slide to Mary Ann Zehr, labeled Grade 8 that was actually the slide for grade 4. The error was entirely my fault. The data published in Ed Week are accurate for Grade 4. The trend lines for Grade 8 are similar, but not as similar as stated in the article, again, due to my error. The Grade 8 data are below.

Table 4: Grade 8 NAEP Reading Average Scale Score for ELL Students

1998-2007


1998
2003[1]
2005
2007
Change, 1998-2007

National
217
222
224
222
+5

Arizona
225
219
225
214
-11

California
225
221
222
219
-6

Massachusetts
N/A
222
222
232
+10 (2003 -2007)

Source: NAEP data explorer; author's calculations

Once again, I apologize to all for this error, and especially to Mary Ann Zehr.

Dan Losen

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