Measure 58

Proposed by initiative petition to be voted on at the General Election, November 4, 2008.

Ballot Title

Prohibits teaching public school student in language other than English for more than two years

Result of "yes" vote

"Yes" vote prohibits teaching public school student in language other than English for more than two years (exception for teaching foreign language to English speakers).

Result of "no" vote

"No" vote retains requiring English courses for students unable to profit from classes taught in English, permitting multiple-language instruction to assist transition to English.

Summary

Current law requires instruction in all school subjects (except foreign languages) to be primarily in English; permits instruction in more than one language so students whose native language is not English can make early transition to English; requires schools to provide English courses for children unable to profit from classes taught in English. Measure provides that no public school student shall be taught in language other than English for more than two years, with exception for classes teaching foreign language to English-speaking students. Limits "English immersion classes" (not defined) to no more than two years for students whose primary language is not English and who are not capable of being taught in English; after that, students shall be taught exclusively in English. Other provisions.

Estimate of financial impact

This measure will require additional local school spending between $203 million and $253 million in each of the first two school years. The cost may change in later years, depending upon the number of non-English speaking students in public schools, and their academic performance over time.

The measure does not affect the amount of funds collected for state government, schools, or local governments.


Explanation of Estimate of Financial Impact

This proposal mandates a new requirement that all non-English speaking students be "immersed in English" for a limited amount of time. Federal law requires that students continue to make satisfactory academic progress each year. To meet the requirements of both the measure and federal law will require more staff and resources in public schools. The following additional resources would be needed:

The cost of these additional resources would be $253 million in each of the first two years.

Arizona Experience
Arizona required English immersion programs for public school students starting in 2006. While the implementation cost estimates vary from district to district, the Arizona School Administrators Association estimated the average additional statewide cost to be $2,741 per student per year. If Oregon schools spent a similar amount on 74,000 English Language Learner students, an English immersion program in Oregon would cost approximately $203 million each of the first two school years.

Committee Members:

Secretary of State Bill Bradbury
State Treasurer Randall Edwards
Scott Harra, Director, Dept. of Administrative Services
Elizabeth Harchenko, Director, Dept. of Revenue
Debra Guzman, Local Government Representative

(The estimate of financial impact and explanation was provided by the above committee pursuant to ORS 250.127.)