Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Another really strong piece from Ron Unz on the subject of the Colorado English initiative. It seems Dick Lamm, former Governor, has joined the fight.
Which leads me to the following observation. It has been clear to me for some time that one of the most achievable, cheapest and most clearly good reforms we could effect in our public schools would be to eliminate bi-lingual education. Bi-lingual education is a hugely expensive, utterly wasteful, socially and educationally destructive policy with no honest defenders left on earth. Its only beneficiaries are teachers' unions and Latino demogogues (and Spanish-language broadcasters). But hard-core conservatives - like current Colorado Governor Bill Owen, opponent of the Colorado initiative - have almost uniformly refused to make this a core issue, while the more pragmatic types - like Richard Riordan, former Los Angeles Mayor and loser in this year's California gubernatorial primary - have at least occasionally climbed aboard. What does that say about who is principled and who is not? I judge someone principled not by the extremity of his political views but by his willingness to spend capital to achieve the public good even if it is not particularly to his political advantage.
(Dick Lamm, by the way, is primarily known for having once said that the old and infirm have a duty to die, and for being seriously considered for the 1996 Reform Party Presidential or Vice Presidential ticket. He's not clearly a conservative or a liberal. He's for privatizing Social Security, cutting Medicare and Medicaid substantially, free trade, immigration restriction, higher taxes, a balanced budget, and generally telling everyone that life is getting worse. I don't know what his views on the "social issues" are. He would be out of place in today's Democratic Party, at least at the national level, though he is still nominally a Democrat.)