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Proposition 58: California Education for a Global Economy. Initiative Statute.

The California Labor Federation supports this measure.  Want to learn more? Lydia D’Angelo discusses how “Prop 58 Prepares CA Kids for a Global Economy” in California Labor’s 2016 Top Props Series. Check it out here.


Click here to download California Labor’s 2016 Endorsements & Ballot Measures Analyses

A YES vote on this measure means:

Some provisions of Proposition 227 will be repealed, thus effectively allowing non-English languages to be used in public educational instruction.

A NO vote on this measure means:

Proposition 227 will remain in effect, maintaining the prohibition of non-English languages from being used in public schools.

Legislative Counsel’s Digest:

  • This bill would amend and repeal various provisions of Proposition 227.
  • The bill would, among other things, delete the sheltered English immersion requirement and waiver provisions, and would instead, provide that school districts and county offices of education shall, at a minimum, provide English learners with a structured English immersion program, as specified.
  • The bill would authorize parents or legal guardians of pupils enrolled in the school to choose a language acquisition program that best suits their child.
  • This bill would, as part of the parent and community engagement process required for the development of local control and accountability plan, require school districts and county offices of education to solicit input on, and provide to pupils, effective and appropriate instructional methods, including, but not limited to, establishing language acquisition programs, as defined.
  • This bill would delete those provisions of Prop. 227 that specify that a pupil’s parent or legal guardian has standing to sue for enforcement of its provisions and, if successful, to receive normal and customary attorney’s fees and actual damages.
  • This bill would delete the requirement that the amendment further the purpose Of Proposition 227, and would revise the vote threshold to a majority vote in each house of the Legislature.
  • This bill would make these provisions operative on July 1, 2017.
  • This bill would provide that it would become effective only upon approval of the voters, and would require the Secretary of State to submit this measure to the voters for approval at the November 2016 statewide general election.


In June of 1998, Proposition 227 was passed by 61% of the California electorate.  Sponsored by Ron Unz, a Silicon Valley software engineer, the initiative was intended to significantly alter the ways in which California’s English learners are taught.  Proposition 227 requires that English learners be taught “overwhelmingly in English” through sheltered/structured English immersion (SEI) programs during “a temporary transition period not normally intended to exceed one year,” and then transferred to mainstream English-language classrooms.

SB 1174 (Lara), the California Education for a Global Economy Initiative, was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2014.  The bill amends and repeals various provisions of Proposition 227, including repealing the requirement that all children be taught English by being taught only in English and, instead, allows school districts and county offices of education, in consultation with language experts in the field and parents, to determine the best language instruction methods and language acquisition programs to implement. SB 1174 requires the Secretary of State to submit those sections that amend or repeal provisions of Proposition 227 for approval by the voters at the November 2016 statewide General Election.

Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance estimate of fiscal impact: 

One-time General Fund costs in the range of $275,000 to $660,000 and ongoing costs of approximately $48,000.

Support and Opposition:

Supporters include California Teachers Association, California Federation of Teachers, SEIU California, and many other education and business groups. They argue that this measure recognizes our increased understanding of who California’s English learners are and how California can better serve these, and all, students.  This measure supports California’s recognition of the value of biliteracy and reaffirms the commitment to shift decision making to local districts.  Nothing in this bill prohibits districts from continuing to offer SEI or English-only instruction.  Rather, it leaves the particular instructional program to the discretion of the district.

Opponents include Ron Unz, the billionaire who placed Proposition 227 on the ballot. They argue that the academic performance of an estimated million immigrant students doubled since Prop. 227 passed. They also argue that being surrounded by English speakers has been shown to lead to faster proficiency among non-English speakers and that being surrounded by other foreign language speakers has been shown to delay English acquisition. They argue that in the United States, English proficiency should be the primary objective.

Prior Positions

The Labor Federation opposed Proposition 227 on the 1998 ballot.

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