Bilingual Education Debate with Ron Unz and Catherine Snow Askwith Education Forum/Harvard University, October 15, 2001, 1:20:52 Askwith Educational Forum at Harvard University on Massachusetts English for the Children initiative; debate moderated by Tony Randolph of WBUR, with Ron Unz of English for the Children and Catherine Snow of Harvard University.
"Taking the Initiative: The Initiative Process" with Bruce Cain and Ron Unz Uncommon Knowledge/Hoover Institution, December 13, 2000 Is the ballot initiative good or bad for American democracy? Today citizens in twenty-four states have the right to petition their fellow citizens in the law. Initiatives that are approved by voters become law, bypassing the normal... Read More
"A Level Playing Field - Campaign Finance Reform" with Bruce Cain, Jerry Lubenow, and Ron Unz Uncommon Knowledge/Hoover Institution, December 9, 1999 In 2000, the amount of money spent in political campaigns in the United States may reach three billion dollars. Is that too much? Have our politicians been corrupted by special interests and their... Read More
"Habla English?" with Ron Unz and Joseph Jaramillo Uncommon Knowledge/Hoover Institution, October 23, 1997 Ron Unz, chairman, English for the Children, and Joseph Jaramillo, staff attorney, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, discuss if bilingual education failed, and if it should be improved or eliminated.
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.