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[Susan notes: Again, Stephen Krashen reaches out with information, trying to inform important issues.]

Submitted to Standard-Times but not published

To the editor

There is concern about whether English learners can achieve fluency in one year under Question 2 ("Progress in immersion, but no miracles," December 29). Readers of the Standard-Times might be interested in California's experience with Proposition 227, an initiative similar to Question 2. Data from the state of California shows that last year about 1,125,000 limited English proficient children had been in school for one year or longer, and had not

acquired enough English to be reclassified as fluent English proficient: Only 70,000 (6 percent of the total number of English learners) acquired enough English in one year to be considered fluent.

On a test given only to English learners, California children showed only modest progress in one year. In 2001, 19% were considered

beginners, 71% were intermediate, 11% were proficient. In 2002, data on the same children showed that 8% were still beginners, 61%

intermediate and 32% proficient. That's a very modest gain for a year's study. If Prop. 227 had kept its promise, all of these children would have reached the proficient level this year. This didn't happen. Not even close.

This is only data from California. There is plenty of additional data from other sources showing one year is not nearly enough time to

achieve proficiency in the kind of language school requires. We tried very hard to share this data with Massachusetts voters before Question 2 was voted on.

Stephen Krashen, Emeritus Professor, USC

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