In his review of William McGowan's fine book, Coloring the News (Dec. 31), John Corry claims that the media coverage of California's Proposition 227 was grossly unfair, and that the L.A. Times and other publications portrayed our 1998 measure to dismantle bilingual education as a nativist plot attacking Latino culture. Fortunately, this was not the... Read More
While most Americans have been transfixed by the terrifying prospect of massive deaths from anthrax or suicide bombers, a few in our society fear an even greater horror: the fanatic defenders of Spanish-almost-always instruction see their doom in an "English" initiative heading toward the November 2002 Massachusetts ballot. Although the vote on "English" is over... Read More
Given the landslide victories of ballot measures to dismantle bilingual education in California and Arizona, national media coverage of the dramatic rise in subsequent test scores, and the growing possibility of similar efforts in Colorado and New York City, it is hardly surprising that Congress would consider inserting bilingual-education reform into its omnibus package of... Read More
Yesterday, the National Association of Bilingual Educators concluded its 2001 annual national convention in Phoenix on a desperate note. According to a front-page story in the Arizona Republic, the 7,000 participants were beseeched to pony up millions of dollars to fight the forthcoming state-wide "English for the Children" campaigns in Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, and... Read More
In recent years, Republicans have regularly charged that liberal Democrats tend only to enforce those laws that they support and ignore those laws they regard as misguided. Although the evidence for this criticism is mixed at best, demands for reestablishing the "Rule of Law" have become a staple of partisan Republican attacks on an allegedly... Read More
Originally proposed by Economics Nobel Laureate Milton Friedman in 1955, educational vouchers and related types of school choice have increasingly become the main focus of conservative education- reformers, as attractive to parochial-school Christian conservatives as to free-market libertarians. In the past year, some prominent liberal journalists, such as Matt Miller writing in The Atlantic and... Read More
Today, on the important issue of whether immigrant children should be taught English in American schools, the Republican party is in danger of having won the war but lost the peace. For nearly thirty years, the Republican Party has been on record as opposing so-called bilingual-education programs, which all too often amount to Spanish-only instruction... Read More
Although I've always been a very strongly pro-immigrant conservative, I found that the underlying facts and figures in your "immigration" issue (June 16, 1997) were absolutely irrefutable, however much I might disagree with your ultimate conclusions. But then I noticed that if I changed "Asians" to "Jews," "Hispanics" to "blacks," and "immigrants" to "Jews and... Read More
This journal has performed a valuable service by clarifying the immigration debate. Rather than choosing the safe path of attacking only illegal immigration, NR has correctly pointed out that illegal immigration is dwarfed by legal immigration; that legal and illegal immigration share a wide range of important characteristics; and that most of the key arguments... Read More
About Ron Unz
A theoretical physicist by training, Mr. Unz serves as founder and chairman of UNZ.org, a content-archiving website providing free access to many hundreds of thousands of articles from prominent periodicals of the last hundred and fifty years. From 2007 to 2013, he also served as publisher of The American Conservative, a small opinion magazine, and had previously served as chairman of Wall Street Analytics, Inc., a financial services software company which he founded in New York City in 1987. He holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard University, Cambridge University, and Stanford University, and is a past first-place winner in the Intel/Westinghouse Science Talent Search. He was born in Los Angeles in 1961.
He has long been deeply interested in public policy issues, and his writings on issues of immigration, race, ethnicity, and social policy have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, The Nation, and numerous other publications.
In 1994, he launched a surprise Republican primary challenge to incumbent Gov. Pete Wilson of California, running on a conservative, pro-immigrant platform against the prevailing political sentiment, and received 34% of the vote. Later that year, he campaigned as a leading opponent of Prop. 187, the anti-immigration initiative, and was a top featured speaker at a 70,000 person pro-immigrant march in Los Angeles, the largest political rally in California history to that date.
In 1997, Mr. Unz began his “English for the Children” initiative campaign to dismantle bilingual education in California. He drafted Prop. 227 and led the campaign to qualify and pass the measure, culminating in a landslide 61% victory in June 1998, effectively eliminating over one-third of America’s bilingual programs. Within less than three years of the new English immersion curriculum, the mean percentile test scores of over a million immigrant students in California rose by an average of 70%. He later organized and led similar initiative campaigns in other states, winning with 63% in the 2000 Arizona vote and a remarkable 68% in the 2002 Massachusetts vote without spending a single dollar on advertising.
After spending most of the 2000s focused on software projects, he has recently become much more active in his public policy writings, most of which had appeared in his own magazine.