In Tom Wicker’s Jan. 13 column, the Rev. Allan Boesak was characterized as a white South African champion of black rights, recently jailed for his efforts. This is incorrect. Mr. Boesak, a founder of the United Democratic Front, is actually a colored (mixed-race) South African. This is significant because it underscores the South African Government’s... Read More
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- Tuesday's crushing defeat of a sweeping campaign finance measure in California thwarted reform in a state much in need of it. It also put the lie to the conventional wisdom that the Democratic Party is less opposed to campaign reform than the Republicans are. With absolutely no limits on the size... Read More
I agree with the general sentiments of "Repairing Bilingual Education" (editorial, Dec. 22), but you are wrong to recommend reforming the system in New York City rather than replacing it with English immersion. English immersion is not "sink or swim" — that would be submersion. Instead, sheltered English immersion provides special classes in which English... Read More
PALO ALTO, Calif.---In 1974, the New York City Board of Education signed a federal consent decree with Aspira, a Hispanic education and advocacy group, requiring that students who speak limited English be taught almost exclusively in their native languages. Today, this decree requiring bilingual education still governs the schooling of some 170,000 students in the... Read More
In his defense of bilingual education programs ("The Voters' Prerogatives and Bilingual Education," Lessons column, Oct. 23), Richard Rothstein implies that previous generations of European immigrants would have greatly benefited by spending the first five to seven years of their schooling in classes taught mostly in Italian, Yiddish or Greek, as is called for under... Read More
Just as their predecessors of the 1920s always denied the existence of "Jewish quotas," top officials at Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the other Ivy League schools today strongly deny the existence of "Asian quotas." But there exists powerful statistical evidence to the contrary. Each year, American universities provide their racial enrollment data to the National... Read More
From Making Low Wages Livable - A Symposium in The New York Times Tens of millions of low-wage workers in the United States are trapped in lives of poverty. Many suggestions have been put forth to improve their difficult situation, ranging from new social welfare programs to enhanced adult education to greater unionization. But I... Read More
Although Harvard is widely known as one of America's oldest and most prestigious colleges, that public image is outdated. Over the last couple of decades, the university has transformed itself into one of the world's largest hedge-funds, with the huge profits of its aggressively managed $36 billion portfolio shielded from taxes because of the educational... 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.