One reason that Ron Unz, the author of California's successful initiative
against bilingual education, endorsed John McCain for president was to
bring the senator around on the issue. Unz writes in today's Wall Street
Journal that if McCain were to take up the fight against bilingual
education really, against Spanish-only instruction that denies the
benefits of English proficiency to kids he would win support among
conservatives, differentiate himself from George W. Bush, appeal to
Hispanic parents who want their kids to learn English, and further
demonstrate his independence from monied interests (A. Jerrold Perenchio,
owner of the Univision Spanish-language television network, supports both
McCain and bilingual ed).
Unz's plea to McCain might seem quixotic, since the senator has in the
past supported bilingual education. But Unz's approach seems to be
working. Here's a McCain quote from today's Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
"Most bilingual education programs have failed to achieve their goal." He
advocates "total immersion" in English for immigrant schoolchildren.
This is a smart move for McCain. Not only does it offer him the advantages
Unz mentions, it also dovetails nicely with the patriotic theme that has
been important to his success so far. McCain has been able to articulate
and to embody a patriotism that is inviting, rather than alienating, to
newcomers. A commitment to teaching English is an invitation for them to
participate fully in American life.
Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida criticized the "Catholic alert" phone calls
attacking George W. Bush. . . . Around the state, an estimated 200,000
Democrats participated in the primary. . . . Republicans are pondering
plans to keep Democrats from voting in future GOP primaries. "Knights of
Columbus elections aren't determined by Masons," said state Sen. Thaddeus
McCotter. Gov. John Engler said he wants to study Tuesday's results before
making a decision.