SACRAMENTO (AP) — A state senator wants to repeal California’s 16-year-old ban on bilingual education in public schools.

Ricardo Lara on Thursday proposed putting a measure on the November 2016 ballot giving voters the chance to overturn Proposition 227.

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The Southern California Democrat says English will always remain California’s official language but the ability to speak more than one language is an invaluable skill in the global economy.

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Proposition 227 required schools to teach only in English — even to students who spoke little or no English — unless their parents signed a waiver.

Lara says the percentage of elementary school-age students enrolled in multilingual programs declined from 39 percent in 1997 — the year before the ballot measure — to 13 percent in 2001.

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