In the mid-1990s, conditions were right for California to build the multilingual economy of the future. A slumping economy needed a boost. A remarkably multilingual population -- including millions of Spanish speakers -- was already in place.
Bilingual education programs -- pioneered and developed in Miami over the prior three decades -- were already being established in school districts from San Diego to San Francisco.
But in 1998, with globalization knocking ever more loudly on its door, Californians voted instead to pass a ballot measure known as Proposition 227 that imposed wide-reaching restrictions on bilingual education, effectively banning it.