Oregon Ballot Measure 58 (2008)

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Measure 58
Prohibits teaching public school student in language other than English for more than two years.
Results
Votes  %
Yes 756,903 43.64%
No 977,696 56.36%
Total votes 1,734,599 100.00%
Registered voters/turnout 85.7%
Results by county
Oregon 2008 Measure 58.svg
  Yes     No
Source: Oregon Secretary of State [1]

Oregon Ballot Measure 58 was an initiated state statute ballot measure sponsored by Bill Sizemore that appeared on the November 4, 2008 general election ballot in Oregon. It was rejected by voters.

The initiative would have required "English immersion" in Oregon's public schools. "English immersion" wasn't defined in the measure, and there is no academic consensus as to what it means.

Newspaper Endorsements[edit]

Here is how Oregon's major newspapers endorsed on the measure:

Newspapers Yes No
The Oregonian No
Medford Mail-Tribune No
Statesman Journal No
Bend Bulletin No
Portland Tribune No
Eugene Register-Guard No
Daily Astorian No
East Oregonian No
Corvallis Gazette Times No
Coos Bay The World No
Willamette Week No
Yamhill Valley News Register No
Gresham Outlook No

No Oregon newspapers have endorsed a yes vote on Measure 58.

Specific provisions[edit]

The measure would limit the use of foreign language instruction in public schools to:

  • 1 year for students in kindergarten to 4th grade.
  • 1.5 years for 5th grade through 8th grade.
  • 2 years for high school students.
  • It would also prohibit ESL (English as a Second Language) teaching programs for longer than the mandated time.

Estimated fiscal impact[edit]

The state's Financial Estimate Committee prepares estimated fiscal impact statements for any ballot measures that will appear on the ballot. The estimate prepared by this committee for Measure 58 says:

  • The measure will require additional local school spending of between $203 and $253 million in each of the first two years, based on considerations of what it would cost to bring students who currently speak a foreign language up to federal standards.[2]
  • The more conservative estimate offered by the Financial Estimate Committee is based on the experience in Arizona with a similar measure.[3]

Chief petitioner Bill Sizemore disputed the state's financial estimate, and said the measure would save education money, contending that "these kids will learn English more quickly when they are required to do so.",[4][5]

Supporters[edit]

Measure 58's chief petitioners are Bill Sizemore, Alan Grosso, and Russ Walker.

The Oregon Voters' Pamphlet has arguments in favor from Oregonians For Immigration Reform, the Marion County Republican Party, FreedomWorks, and Sizemore's Oregon Taxpayers United.[6]

Arguments for Measure 58[edit]

Notable arguments that have been made in favor of Measure 58 include:

  • If the measure passes, it will improve the education of Oregon's immigrant children because it will bring about "specialized, intensive English instruction".
  • Current programs in Oregon to teach English to students who do not speak English as a first language are failing; as evidence, supporters of Measure 58 cite a 2007 Oregon Department of Education study that indicated that only 22 of the state's 129 school districts are meeting minimum standards in this area.
  • Limited English proficiency (LEP) students in the state are funded at 150% the rate for regular students but this extra funding, supporters say, is not working. It isn't the money that is being spent that is the issue, they argue, but how the money is being spent.
  • School districts don't have the incentive to move students out of the LEP category because the school districts get more money from the state education department for LEP students than for non-LEP students.

Opponents[edit]

Measure 58 is opposed by the Parents and Teachers Know Better Coalition, which describes itself as "a broad coalition of parents, teachers, and school advocates who care about Oregon's students & schools."[7] The Parents and Teachers Know Better campaign is part of the Defend Oregon Coalition, which opposes all five of the ballot initiatives on the November 4 ballot that are sponsored by Sizemore.

Members of the coalition include Stand for Children, Oregon PTA, United Way of the Mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon Education Association, American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, Oregon School Employees Association, and the Human Services Coalition of Oregon, among others.[8]

Arguments against Measure 58[edit]

Notable arguments that have been made against Ballot Measure 58 include:

  • It offers a "one-size-fits-all" mandate that doesn't take into account the differences in students' ability to learn academic English.
  • English acquisition researcher Jim Cummins at the University of Toronto it typically takes students five to seven years to acquire full mastery of a second language.[9]
  • It is too expensive.
  • It doesn't define what it means by "English immersion".[10]
  • It doesn't make any exceptions for students with learning disabilities.
  • It isn't based on any research on how students learn. Most language acquisition experts say it takes five to seven years for children to become proficient enough in a new language to meet academic requirements.
  • It will ban popular dual-immersion programs.

Donors opposed to Measure 58[edit]

Two campaign committees opposed to Measure 58 have registered. They are Defend Oregon and the Committee to Protect Local Control of Schools (CPLCS), led by Kevin Neely, who is also the treasurer of Defend Oregon.

CPLCS reports no significant financial activity as of September 29.[11]

Defend Oregon, as a committee, fought seven different ballot measures in 2008, and supported two others. As a result, it is not possible to discern how much of its campaign warchest went specifically to defeat Measure 58. Altogether, the group has raised $9 million in 2008.[12]

Major donations to the Defend Oregon group as of October 23 include:[13]

Citizens' Initiative Review - 9 for, 14 against[edit]

  • A 23-member Oregon Citizens Initiative Review panel examined this ballot measure in-depth in September 2008. They spent five days listening to advocates for and against the measure, and independent experts on language education. In the end, 14 were opposed to the measure, and nine were in support, and both groups wrote up their recommendation. Final analysis and statement

Path to the ballot[edit]

What became Oregon Ballot Measure 50 started out as Oregon Initiative Petition 19; it was originally approved for petition circulation on August 30, 2006.

The office of the Oregon Secretary of State announced on June 16, 2008 that its unofficial signature verification process showed that the initiative's supporters had turned in 83,248 valid signatures, versus a requirement of 82,769 signatures. This represented a validity rate of 66.88% calculated over the 124,476 signatures turned in.[17] [18]

A union-funded watchdog group asked the Oregon Secretary of State to conduct an investigation into how some signatures on the measure were collected. Bill Bradbury, the Secretary of State has said, ""...most all of the initiatives Oregon voters will decide this fall got there through practices that are now illegal. But those practices were legal at the time most of the signatures were submitted." The state Elections Division is currently investigating the claims.[19] [20] [21]

External links[edit]

Note:: This article was taken from Ballotpedia's article about Oregon Ballot Measure 58

Basic information[edit]

Supporters[edit]

Opponents[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bradbury, Bill (4 November 2008). "Official Results – November 4, 2008 General Election" (Website). Elections Division. Oregon Secretary of State. Retrieved December 23, 2008. 
  2. ^ Estimated financial impact of Oregon Ballot Measure 58, 2008
  3. ^ Financial Estimate Committee's explanation of how it derived its financial impact estimate for Measure 58
  4. ^ State puts high price tag on education measures
  5. ^ Measures could squeeze Oregon budget, critics say
  6. ^ Arguments in favor of Ballot Measure 58
  7. ^ Parents and Teachers Know Better Coalition
  8. ^ Oregon Voters' Pamphlet, list of opponents of Measure 50
  9. ^ Immigration ballot measure
  10. ^ CAUSA, "Citizen Jury condemns Oregon measure limiting bilingual ed", September 26, 2008
  11. ^ Financial records for CPLCS
  12. ^ Campaign finance history of Defend Oregon for 2008
  13. ^ Record of donations to Defend Oregon
  14. ^ Oregon Live, "Teachers, nurses add $2.5 million to campaigns", September 10, 2008
  15. ^ "Oregon teachers, other unions wage costly war against measures"
  16. ^ Oregonian, "School workers add $100,000 to campaign", August 25, 2008
  17. ^ TDN.com: "Sizemore initiatives reach Oregon signature threshold", The Daily News, June 17, 2008
  18. ^ Unofficial signature verification statement from the Oregon Secretary of State
  19. ^ KATU-TV, "Union watchdog group asks for initiative review", July 20, 2008
  20. ^ News.OPB.org: "Progressive Group Claims Ballot Petitions Included Forgeries", Oregon Public Broadcasting, July 15, 2008
  21. ^ NW Labor Press, "Sizemore operation faces new forgery allegations", August 1, 2008

Additional reading[edit]