NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 4, 2005

In California, fluency rates among students with limited English skills have nearly doubled since the passage and implementation of Prop. 227, according to U.S. English, Inc. Prop. 227 requires all public school instruction to be done in English and for the third year in a row, English language learners (ELLs) in California have posted improved results on language proficiency tests.

Results from the California English Language Development Test (CELDT) include:

  • On the 2004-05 CELDT, 47 percent of California ELLs in grades K-12 scored at the advanced or early-advanced levels.
  • Since the first measurement in 2001-02, statewide fluency rates have doubled.
  • In Los Angeles, 49 percent of ELL students reached the standard in 2004-05, more than triple the 16-percent rate of four years earlier.

U.S. English, Inc. says that the rapid rise in English proficiency exhibits the opposite effect of what opponents of Prop. 227 claimed would occur. A vocal minority criticized an English immersion program but the proposition went on to pass with 61 percent of the vote and the support of the majority of voters in all but one county.

The Chairman of U.S. English, Inc., Mauro E. Mujica believes there is no longer any doubt that English immersion was the right path for California's immigrant students. He says hundreds of thousands of children will find new opportunities in higher education and employment, doors opened by the power of English fluency.

U.S. English, Inc. hopes elected officials nationwide will adapt California's model to their communities and ensure the spread of fluency in English to all English language learners.

Source: Rob Toonkel, "English Immersion Delivers Shining Results in California," U.S. English, Inc., February 9, 2005.

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