| Education Series Home & Contents | Economic Report Home Page & Contents | Economic Summary
| Feedback | | What's New | Link Index | Eye-opener |


- a section of the Grandfather Education Reform Report -
(which is a chapter of the Grandfather Economic Report series)

-an erosion of education quality, productivity and parental preferences -

resulting in dramatic slowdown in education for millions of children
and the waste of billions of dollars

by Michael Hodges (email)

Graduation Hat

GOAL: The best quality in the world, without any doubt !
and - without any excuses!

The Grandfather Economic Reports is a series of picture reports of threats to the economic future of families and their children, compared to prior generations - - with chapters on government size, family income, education quality, healthcare, debt, national security, energy and other subjects. This series includes an extensive, graphically-illustrated chapter called the Education Report, since unacceptable education quality is one of those serious threats facing our young generation - - which is partly caused by mandated bilingual education. You are now at a sub-section of the Education Report chapter - on Bilingual Education. Welcome. We hope your visit will find useful information to help you and your loved ones.

5 Questions asked by 2 grandfathers with 11 grandchildren

  1. A better quality education than the children of all nations without any doubt, instead of below average as reported in the International Test Report and by the extensive International Education Report? (One-third of the economy depends on global trade as reported in the International Trade Report - 3 times more than before - and, foreign competition is accelerating.)
  2. To be better prepared to meet future economic challenges than all prior generations, or less prepared?
  3. The highest quality education at the lowest cost per student reasonably attainable?
  4. To have the best command of English at the earliest possible age, despite ethnic background?
  5. Or, less quality at high wasted cost and seriously compromise both their economic and personal futures, and that of their nation?

For some answers to these critical questions, read on


'Bilingual education is only part of the cause of America's severe public education quality problem, but it is indicative of many ill-conceived social engineering programs mandated from above on local school districts that not only have zero to do with quality learning but reduce quality and increase costs - - and, in this case, the raw deal immigrants are getting from America's education system. They are usually stuck in cities with the most bloated school bureaucracies (half of New York's budget goes for administration, not classroom teachers). In many parts of Los Angeles, the white middle class has abandoned public education. And multiculturalist wheezes - - such as social promotion, whereby children are moved up a grade even if they have failed exams - - have done immigrant children few favors. ' All in all, the barriers preventing today's learners from becoming tomorrow's leaders still look worrying high. But immigrants have one enormous advantage: most of them desperately want to learn. That is why many of them have come to America.'

  1. Learning and the ability to compete has been eroded by federal & state bureaucratic-mandates of social-engineering, such as bilingual education mandates, that have zero to do with learning and education quality.
  2. Which has slowed the learning process in English of many Hispanics and other newer citizens of immigrant parents.
  3. Bilingual education forces children of certain ethnic backgrounds to attend classes in the native language of their ancestors, for basic subject learning - instead of being totally immersed in English - - with all subject matter taught in English.
  4. Parents are up in arms. A poll in California showed 75% oppose bilingual language mandates - - including 84% of Hispanics. (below you will read how voters of that state in June 1998 overwhelmingly threw-out bilingual mandates).
  5. Yet - the education establishment and teacher unions oppose giving parents the clear choice.
  6. The idea that a kid will learn English by being taught in Spanish does not usually strike people OUTSIDE the education field as plausible.
  7. English speaking Hispanics who did NOT speak Spanish have been forced into classes taught in Spanish.
  8. The result is a poorer education for hundreds of thousands of children and the waste of billions of dollars.
  9. Senator S. l. Hayakawa, the politician and renowned linguist: "why are you against people learning to speak two languages?" He looked at me as though I were daft. "Who said anything about that?" he demanded. "Only an idiot would be against speaking two languages. I'm against bilingual education."
  10. Since bilingual education was banned in California in June 1998, test scores have risen.
  11. When voters have a chance to express their preferences look what happens, despite screams from the education establishment and its unions > In November 2002, Massachusetts voters scrapped bilingual education in favor of an English-immersion program.

  • The catastrophe of bilingual education and many other social-engineering programs should prove to any reasonable person the need to have our school systems responsible and sensitive to the desires of the parents rather than the education bureaucracy
  • Bilingual language programs threaten the economic and social future of millions of our young
  • BOTTOM-LINE: since the program is primarily for students of Hispanic descent, and 84% of Hispanic parents want it scrapped - -


  • and - look closely at other social-engineering mandates fostered on schools that have zero to do with education quality
  • and - eliminate grade inflation and social promotion which can be called 'child abuse' since such, in the end, produces a most handicapped adult


- since quality declined while per-student spending increased -

and, much can be blamed on mandated social-engineering programs such as bilingual language programs - - and what it reveals in general about the bloated, monopolistic non-responsive public school system

productivityTo place education quality in perspective, here's one of the graphics from the main Education Report (of which this Bilingual Education report is a part). We show this first, since part of the quality decline is attributed to social-engineering programs that degrade education quality, such as mandated bilingual language programs forced on immigrant children and parents - - in addition to the standard practices of grade inflation and 'social promotions' instead of by achievement, covered elsewhere these reports.

Education productivity is a ratio that compares national education quality output with inflation-adjusted spending per student. (chart data is in above Education Report)

The left chart shows the dramatic 71% decline in education productivity over the past 3 ˝ decades. That's because SAT scores, a long-term measure of quality, fell over this period despite record increases in real spending per student and despite smaller class sizes. In addition to the data used herein, the resulting trend on the chart is indicative of education trends in so many areas. The author believes this trend chart is representative of relative education today, compared to prior generations. Since 1960, increasingly schools have been converted into factories of unproved social engineering agendas, instead of institutions for world-class learning quality.

The chart decline would be even steeper if we charged exploding remedial course costs in colleges, required due to poor high school output, back to secondary education costs.

``The quality of schooling is far worse today than it was in 1955,'' Dr. Milton Friedman, the Nobel laureate wrote in the Washington Post.

Note the above chart stops at 1994 - - since the SAT was thereafter revised in scoring method and its content made less rigorous - making later test scores 'apples and oranges' with the past.

Later data shows quality has not improved and there is much evidence that it has further deteriorated. The Remedial Education Report shows a tremendous increase in the percentage of college students that require remedial courses to try and make up that which high schools failed to teach them.. Making tests easier to pass is not the way to improve quality any more than reducing inspection standards for new autos, T-Vs, nuclear power plants, etc.

Additionally, our kids now score at or near the bottom on international test series comparing them with foreign students.

Additional evidence of poor output quality today includes: "of the 12 California state university colleges, 60% of students need remediation; a Florida study shows at least 70% of recent high school graduates need remedial courses when they enter community college - - in other words, they need to learn material they should have mastered in public high school - but did not - - costing an extra $59 million per year." Source: USA Today, pg. 14A, November 24, 1997. That averages out to two-thirds of high school diplomas are bogus compared to past generations - despite record per student spending!

Remember when President Clinton, recognizing poor public school education quality performance, called for volunteers to teach kids how to read? Calling for volunteers to do what the expensive education monopoly system is paid to do is quite an indictment. And, how does bilingual education contribute to lack of achievement and costs?

Is quality getting better? No - - documented inputs 1996 to today from teachers, professors and students demonstrate that quality is getting worse, and polls show more and more parents and international organizations believe public schools offer poor quality. The hard evidence of continuing poor quality is well documented and charted in the full Education Report - - in which this Bilingual Education report is a sub-section.


The catastrophe of bilingual education should prove to any reasonable person the need to have our school systems responsible and sensitive to the desires of the local parents rather than the State and Federal education bureaucracy. Bilingual education has resulted in the waste of billions of dollars and held back the education of millions of children.

We are a nation of immigrants and for two centuries young immigrants and children of immigrants have mastered English quickly via the total immersion method. In fact language schools for businesses use the total immersion method to teach new languages quickly to their executives.

Bilingual education teaches children in their native language for up to seven years. They are taught English very gradually over period of years. This results in confusion and a poorer acquisition of English than the older total immersion approach. The cost of trying to provide instruction in 120 languages is huge and wasteful.

The scrapping of bilingual education is in process. On June 2, 1998 California Proposition 227 was approved by a 2:1 vote in a state-wide election process to abolish bilingual education in that state in favor of requiring ALL children to be educated by 'total immersion' in English. 'The California Teachers' Association opposed the initiative including various gubernatorial candidates and even President Clinton. But, the voters approved the measure overwhelmingly. This will have an effect on the rest of America. California had the largest bilingual education program in the nation with as many as one-quarter of its school children taught primarily in non-English languages. Now that the state which pioneered bilingual education has voted to dismantle it, with the support of a large portion of its Spanish-speaking voters, other states may follow. The bilingual education experiment, which has shunted too many immigrants' children into second-rank life by keeping them unfamiliar with the language of their adopted country, may move to a more desirable close.' The Economist, 6/6/98, pg. 27.

'Since California banned bilingual education test scores have risen. Even more tellingly, the students who were on the English crash course or into mainstream classes are well ahead of those stuck in bilingual ones (which a few students have waivers to continue).' (The Economist 3/11/00, 'survey' pg. 15). Beside the voters and immigrant parents in California, much credit must be given to Ron Unz (Silicon Valley businessman) and his supporters as the guiding force behind Prop. 227. It is an indictment of the public school system, its huge union and many politicians beholden to union power that such an initiative did not originate from within, but had to be created via private citizen initiative outside the public education establishment - - which proves democracy works where honest referendums are possible.

The message is slowly getting through, and when voters have a chance to express their preference they do so, soundly. 'In November 2002, Massachusetts voters scrapped bilingual education in favor of an English-immersion program. Students now will be taught all classes in English, though a teacher could use a student's native language only to help explain a complex theory.' David Crary, AP National Writer

Several articles below highlight the issue.

It's Time For Blunt Talk About Bilingual Education

by Michelle Malkin Seattle Times July 2, 1996

Students are being used as school district funding sources. They are sinking. And the smooth-talkers are getting away with it. "They teach my children in Spanish in school so they can be busboys and waiters. I teach them in English at home so they can be doctors and lawyers."

So says Ernesto Ortiz, a Hispanic foreman on a Texas ranch, who became frustrated with so-called bilingual education programs that teach children in their native language before allowing them to make a transition to English.

"Spanish is the language of doormen, dishwashers and fruit-pickers. We should be teaching English, which is the language of doctors, dentists and lawyers."

So says Ron Taber, a white real estate developer who is running for state schools chief here in Washington

An excellent article at http://www.pff.org/townhall/columnists/otb/WA/malkin2.html

"The many failures of bilingual education"

by Glenn Garvin.(ggarvin@ibw.com.ni) REASON MAGAZINE, January 1998

This is an excellent article. It is recommended reading in its entirety. Following are some excerpts;

Bilingual education was initiated by Congress in 1967 when there was not a scrap of evidence that it would work at all or be beneficial to the children: Bilingual education was born 30 years ago from a goodhearted but vague impulse by Congress to help Spanish speakers learn English. Instead, it has become a multibillion dollar hog trough that feeds arrogant education bureaucrats and militant Hispanic separatists. And now poor immigrant parents increasingly see it as the wall around a linguistic ghetto from which their children must escape if they want to be anything more than maids or dishwashers.

In the late 1970s "facilitation theory" was born based on a totally faulty study of children who migrated from Finland to Sweden. In Sweden this study has been discredited for years.

The idea that a kid will learn English by being taught in Spanish does not usually strike people outside the education field as very plausible-"loco, completamente loco" was the reaction of parent Luisa Hernandez when the principal at 9th Street Elementary in Los Angeles explained it to her-but the theory is so inculcated in many teachers that they rarely question it. Although in theory, bilingual education is for all (over 120 different languages) non English speaking students it has been economically and logistically impossible to apply on any substantial scale to other than those of Hispanic origin.

The system has routinely forced English speaking students with Spanish surnames or Spanish speaking parents into being taught in Spanish. And this despite strong parental objections. All his spelling words, every day, were in Spanish," Ericka recalls. "I began to wonder, is this really bilingual? Or is it just Spanish?" Finally she paid a visit to the school, where she discovered Tony's class spent just a few minutes a day on English. It took an entire year of skirmishing before she could have him moved to an English classroom. All that time wasted! He was so confused- why was he in Spanish classes when he knew English?

150 Hispanic families in Brooklyn's Bushwick neighborhood had to sue the State of New York to FORCE the release of their children from a bilingual program.

A Los Angeles Times poll showed that 75% opposed bilingual education and the opposition among Hispanics was 84%. (An October 1997 poll by the Los Angeles Times showed that California voters favored a proposed ballot measure to limit bilingual education by an astonishing 4­1 margin. The support was greatest among Hispanics: 84 percent.

In Los Lunas, New Mexico, high school students walked out to protest the lack of English tutoring.

In Dearborn, Michigan, the school board junked a proposal for $5 million in federal money to begin a bilingual program after parents complained.

In Princeton, New Jersey, immigrant parents raised so much hell about rules that made it difficult to get their children out of bilingual programs that the state legislature had to step in to change them. In San Francisco 750 black students were arbitrarily dumped into Spanish and Chinese classrooms to fulfill the schools racial diversity policies.

English speaking Hispanics who did NOT speak Spanish have been forced into classes taught in Spanish. Ericka Velasquez's 7­year­old son Tony was put into a bilingual class-even though he grew up speaking English.

Denver is taking bold risks to boost academic achievement-including mandatory summer school for poor readers and a revamped program for thousands of students who don't speak English. Instead of support, the Office for Civil Rights has asked the Justice Department to mire the district in a destructive legal battle. The district's offense? Its proposed reform for bilingual education does not match in every detail the canon preferred by federal officials. No one disputes that the present bilingual program that Denver intends to retool is a failure. Yet the Federal government and the US District court are blocking reform and effectively dictating how local students shall be taught.

Though usually poorly organized and often relatively powerless-they often aren't U.S. citizens and sometimes aren't even legal residents-the parents are starting to make themselves heard. Michigan has adopted reforms in its bilingual programs. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, did away with its bilingual program altogether. So did Orange County and three smaller school districts in California. In November, when Orange County voters were asked what they thought of the change, a crushing 86 percent approved.

Perhaps the most telling argument of all against bilingual education is the high school dropout rate among Hispanic students: 30 percent, more than double that for blacks or whites. Those who have difficulty with English are far more likely to drop out. The message has gotten through to Hispanic parents. The Los Angeles Times poll showing their support for the anti-bilingual ballot proposition in California was hardly the first to reflect their skepticism about TBE. A 1996 survey of Hispanic parents in Houston, San Antonio, Miami, New York, and Los Angeles showed that they regard teaching English as the single most important thing that schools do. Second: math, history, and other academic subjects. Spanish finished a distant third.

Sifting through social science research is always tricky for a layman; there are so many studies, their methodologies obscured in thick layers of jargon, their outcomes in impenetrable mathematics. Fortunately, when it comes to bilingual education, someone has done the academic grunt work for us. Christine Rossell and her research partner Keith Baker, who directed several studies of bilingual education for the U.S. Department of Education, sifted through scientific evaluations of 300 bilingual programs. Their first conclusion: Most of the research was just plain rotten. Of the 300 evaluations, Rossell and Baker found only 72 that were methodologically sound.

Then they compiled a scorecard based on the results. The outcome was devastating for TBE. In head­to­head comparisons with the various versions of immersion teaching on reading, grammar, and math, TBE lost every time. Often, lots more. For instance, 83 percent of the studies comparing TBE to "structured immersion" teaching (essentially, using simple

English) showed kids learned to read better in the structured immersion classes; not a single one showed TBE to be superior. Perhaps the single most calamitous statistic was in the comparison between TBE and doing nothing at all. An amazing 64 percent of the studies found kids learned grammar better in 'sink or swim' classes without any special features whatsoever than they did in TBE.

Despite substantial evidence that Federal bilingual education program is opposed by those it is supposed to help and evidence that is negatively impacting on children's education, the educational establishment has been rigorously opposing any abandonment of the program. In California they are even opposed giving PARENTS A CHOICE as to whether their children would be taught in their native language or in English. The financial and bureaucratic incentives to keep bilingual education on life support are considerable. It creates more teacher jobs and jobs in he bureaucracy. Teachers are paid higher salaries for teaching in other languages. Because the money is scattered across thousands of budgets at the state, local, and federal level, and often not plainly labeled, it's difficult to come up with a reliable estimate of TBE's costs, but they probably approach $2 billion.

It's wrapped up in money and power and control. Now we have a huge bureaucracy of administrators, bilingual psychologists, textbook publishers producing books in Spanish. Whether anybody wants to admit it or not, there's a huge investment in keeping this going. Unfortunately the result is a poorer education for hundreds of thousands of children and the waste of billions of dollars that could be better spent elsewhere.

If we had parental choice this force fed program would quickly shrivel and die. If we had had parental choice thirty years ago this program would likely have been stillborn! END of article.

'Bilingual education is only part of the education quality problem, but it is indicative of the raw deal immigrants are getting from America's education system. They are usually stuck in cities with the most bloated school bureaucracies (half of New York's budget goes for administration, not classroom teachers). In many parts of Los Angeles, the white middle class has abandoned public education. And multiculturalist wheezes - - such as social promotion, whereby children are moved up a grade even if they have failed exams - - have done immigrant children few favors. ' All in all, the barriers preventing today's learners from becoming tomorrow's leaders still look worrying high. But immigrants have one enormous advantage: most of them desperately want to learn. That is why many of them have come to America.' (The Economist 3/11/00, 'survey' pg. 15).

The Economist survey above continues: One reform that could help is school vouchers, which would allow parents to choose their children's school. In one recent charitable scheme, 168,000 poor New Yorkers applied for 2,500 places. Many good teachers suspect that vouchers would amount to privatization. But the overwhelming arms-length evidence in the Education Report (see below) suggests that good schools have noting to fear, and that poor people would greatly benefit.


Parents must take full responsibility for assuring their children have the best, MEASURABLE quality education they can find. In many cases this will mean setting economic priorities for their families - - placing education quality for their young way above over-consumption on new cars, etc. Parents are gambling with their children's futures if they procrastinate, somehow hoping the public system will, all of a sudden, change to the better - - in a measurable way. It may mean removing their children from the public school system and paying for a private school education which produces measurable results - - one in which the voice and wishes of parents carries a zillion times more weight than in the public system. Parents have a choice - - pay for the best quality or allow their children to lead less educated lives. Other than deep family love, what better gift can a parent provide a child than the best quality education, anywhere? More children need more parents acting responsibily, and less ostrich-like. Our nation needs that, too.

Where do you go from here?

You have just reviewed the 'Bilingual Education Report' - - which is one of the sections in the Education Report.

It is highly recommended that you review the full Education Report - - where you will find related sections on quality, textbooks, remedial education, education cost, international test scores vs. foreign nations, school district size, power players, home school, colleges, comments from teachers & students, class size, grade inflation, school choice, test standards, and others.

Lastly, you have an Invitation to visit the HOME PAGE of the GRANDFATHER ECONOMIC REPORT series - a collection of reports reviewing other difficult economic conditions facing young families and their children, compared to prior generations. Here you will find a complete listing of each of the mini-picture reports in the series - on: family income, debt, savings, government spending and size, trust funds, education quality, social security, regulations, taxes, inflation, productivity, foreign trade and exchange, voter turnout, trust, celebration, national security, energy, and health care/life expectancy. This grandfather is not very proud of economic & education quality trends facing the young generation. Such information might assist their futures.

Exchange information via E-mail to Michael Hodges

Constructive input and links are welcome