No Habla Espanol

Santa Barbara votes to scrap bilingual education, a decision that could be a bellwether for the nation

Santa Barbara, the soap-opera resort by the sea, is no cauldron of ethnic conflict. Founded by Spanish friars in the 18th century, it has evolved into a complacent retirement community where Latinos, a third of the population, work mostly in low-wage jobs, waiting tables and tending lawns. They rarely challenge the Anglo establishment. But last week, as the school board was preparing to scrap the city's 25-year-old bilingual-education program, 400 Latino families called a three-day strike, boycotting schools and setting up an alternative academy in a community center. At a boisterous public hearing, Rogelio Trujillo, 55, a burly Mexican-born gardener, argued...

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