A controversial ordinance to make English the official language of Nashville has made the national news wires after Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell vetoed it yesterday. Purcell says the ordinance was "unconstitutional, unnecessary and mean-spirited," and that it "does not reflect who we are in Nashville." You can read the full text of his veto message here.

Nashville Metro Council passed the ordinance last week by a vote of 23-14. It has been widely blogged, and there are good roundups here and here.

The Mayor's veto may not be the last word, though. Metro Council could override it, and failing that the sponsor of the bill proposes to put a Metro Charter amendment to the voters. If some of the comments in the article are any indication of public opinion, it might have a good chance of passing.

Just to editorialize a bit, perhaps the folks in Nashville ought to worry more about teaching kids English before making Nashville "English only."

According to the most recent Tennessee Department of Education report card (2005), 20.6% of Davidson County (Nashville Metro) high school students were below proficient in English I, as compared to 12.2% statewide.

English-only proponents will be quick to point out, however, that 14% of Hispanic students scored below proficient in the state's reading/language/writing "Gateway" testing, as compared to 9% of white students. But perhaps what this really suggests is that they want to require English only, but aren't all that interested in teaching it to the very kids who need the most help learning it.