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California Lawmakers Approve Measure to Repeal Limits on Bilingual Education

A piece of legislation aimed at asking California voters to overturn a 16-year-old state law that restricts the use of bilingual education in California's public schools has made it out of the legislature and now awaits action from Gov. Jerry Brown.

The California State Assembly this week voted in favor of the measure that seeks to repeal Proposition 227, the 1998 voter-approved ballot measure that severely limited the availability of bilingual education programs for the state's large share of students who are still learning English.

If signed by Gov. Brown, voters would get a chance to reconsider whether English-only instruction ought to remain as the predominant approach to educating English-language learners in the state's public schools. The new measure would appear on the November 2016 ballot.

While Proposition 227 was not an outright ban on bilingual education, it had the near effect of eliminating it from public schools. Most school districts either got rid of bilingual education or scaled it back significantly to serve only those students whose parents sought special waivers to keep their children in bilingual programs.

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