Presented on October 24, 2008
Rick Hickey; Dana Hepper
“Current Oregon law requires local school districts to provide research-based programs for non-native speakers to learn English until students are assessed as “English proficient.” Ballot Measure 58 would amend this law and prohibit teaching non-English speaking students in a language other than English for more than two years. It allows for “English immersion classes for more than two years” before students are taught in only English. On October 24, Rick Hickey and Dana Hepper will debate whether to enact these new requirements or to keep the current law.
Proponents of Measure 58 consider current programs inaffective and too expensive. They say immersion classes will improve education for non-English speaking children and reduce costs. Those opposed to the measure argue that it’s a “one-size-fits-all” mandate that takes away educational control from competent local teachers. In addition they say the measure doesn’t adequately explain “immersion classes.”
Rick Hickey, a proponent of Measure 58, has been an insurance agent for many years, president of his local PTA chapter, and is the Chair of the English for the Children of Oregon political action committee. Dana Hepper, an opponent of Measure 58, is the Statewide Advocacy Director for the Parents and Teachers Know Better Coalition, a broad coalition of parents, teachers and school advocates. She has taught in Clackamas County, at a low-income school in Harlem and a charter school on the Upper West Side of New York City.
The debate will be moderated by Rob Manning, reporter and on-air host for OPB. ”