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The Need for and Challenge of Bringing More Dual-Language Teachers into Classrooms

Education World – Joel Stice

“The U.S. Hispanic population accounts for 56 percent of the country’s population growth since 2000, according to the Pew Research Center. What this means for schools is that roughly five million or one out of every 10 school children are classified as English language learners (ELLs). Many of these students are immigrants or first-generation from Spanish-speaking countries and while they might know some English, it may not be the primary language spoken at home. This elevates the potential for them to easily fall behind in school. Because of this, the need for bilingual or dual-language teachers continues to rise in many parts of the country.”(more)

Voter initiative opens door to expansion of popular dual language immersion programs

Ed Source – Ashley Hopkinson

“As an initiative approved by California voters last November clears the path for districts to increase opportunities for students to become fluent in more than one language, the Fresno Unified School District is creating an educational track that will provide dual language instruction from preschool through 12th grade. The goal of the program is for English learners and native English speakers to start mastering two languages earlier in their school careers, and to maintain those skills through classes at every grade level.”(more)

The State of Dual-Language Education Initiatives in U.S. Classrooms

Education World – Joel Stice

“As of 2015, there are 41 million native-Spanish speakers or roughly 13 percent of the population in the United States. To put that in perspective, there are more people, including second-language speakers, in the United States who speak Spanish than in Spain. Spanish is the second-most natively spoken language in the world, with around 400 million. Mandarin Chinese takes the top spot at nearly a billion native speakers, while English comes in third place. With business being more global now than any other point in human history, the need for more bilingual education is on the minds of many education experts.”(more)

Interview: New Research Links Dual Immersion to Reading Score Gains

New America – Janie T. Carnock

“Last month, my colleague Amaya Garcia wrote about how Portland Public Schools are using dual immersion programs (sometimes referred to as “dual-language immersion” programs) to increase educational equity. District leaders see dual immersion programs — where core content is taught in English and a partner language — as a key lever for closing the achievement gap for English language learners (ELLs) as well as other “traditionally underserved” students. As the earlier post notes, recent findings from a study of Portland Public Schools add to a growing body of research suggesting academic benefits of dual-language immersion for all students, including ELLs. Researchers at the RAND Corporation and the American Councils for International Education found that students randomly assigned to dual-language immersion outperformed their peers in reading by seven months in the fifth grade and nine months in eighth grade. Results did not differ significantly by native language status, meaning native English speakers and ELLs benefitted from immersion at similar levels. Additionally, the study found that immersion students were three times less likely to be classified as ELLs by the sixth grade.”(more)

Language instruction leans forward in K12

The District Administration – Emily Rogan

“Alaska recently graduated its first class of Russian dual-language students who began the program in kindergarten. That’s just one example of the growing diversity of language-immersion programs in U.S. schools. While Spanish remains a constant, there is an increased demand nationally for dual-language programs in Portuguese, German, French and Mandarin, says Pete Swanson, president of American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL) and associate professor of foreign language at Georgia State University. Dual language and the increasing public awareness of the value of foreign language education will drive part of the discussions at the ACTFL’s convention in Boston this month.”(more)

Schools that teach in two languages foster integration — so how come so many families can’t find programs?

The Hechinger Report – Connor Williams and Catherine Brown

“U.S. Education Secretary John King has proclaimed school integration a key priority. Policymakers have focused on attaining diversity because of the benefits for all students, regardless of their background. School integration has been a critical priority for many waves of education reformers: students in diverse, integrated schools grow up better prepared to flourish in a plural democratic society and economy…So, what to do? Some have wondered if instead of promoting diversity for its own sake, school districts might attract families of diverse backgrounds to enroll in integrated schools by promoting unique educational themes. Might privileged families be willing to enroll their children in integrated schools that promise thematic instruction focused on science, the arts, or technology? Perhaps. But what if we took this thinking a step further and designed and promoted schools that actually required integration for their model to work? Dual immersion programs offer precisely that.”(more)