|Students from Hoboken's Award Winning and|
Highly Ranked Dual Language
School-- Hoboken, NJ
In New York City, there were 39 new or expanded dual-language public-school programs this fall, in addition to an increase of about 25 programs two years ago. The city has about 180 such programs, according to the Department of Education. Languages offered now include Arabic, Chinese, French, Haitian-Creole, Hebrew, Korean, Polish and Russian, as well as Spanish
In Utah, 9 percent of the state’s public elementary students are enrolled in dual-language programs. In Portland, Ore., 10 percent of all students, and nearly one in five kindergartners, participate. Statewide efforts to increase the number of programs, and expand access to them, are underway in states including Delaware and North Carolina.
Libia Gil, assistant deputy secretary and director of the office of English language acquisition at the federal Education Department, said that while there was no definitive count of dual-language programs nationwide, “there are clear indications of a movement."
In some localities, like New York City, the primary goal of expanding dual-language programs is to increase access to them for English-language learners, officials at the city’s Education Department said.
Traditionally, these children were taught almost exclusively in English. But new research suggests that while these students can take more time to get on grade level in a dual-language program, by late elementary or middle school they tend to perform as well as or better academically than their peers and may be more likely to be reclassified as proficient in English.
But these programs also offer a partial solution to the intractable problem of de facto school segregation. John B. King Jr., a senior adviser at the federal Education Department who will soon become President Obama’s acting education secretary, said dual-language programs “can be a vehicle to increase socioeconomic and racial diversity in schools” by drawing more affluent parents.
At the School for International Studies, a sixth-through-12th-grade school in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, the enrollment recently shot up to 100 sixth-grade students this year from 30 last year. The principal, Jillian Juman, estimated that half of that interest came from the school’s recently added International Baccalaureate program, and the other half from families looking for a dual-language program, which is offered there in French.
More and more, native English-speaking parents see biliteracy in their own children as important in a global economy. In Delaware and Utah, statewide initiatives to increase dual-language education were largely conceived as a way to increase bilingualism among English speakers.
“I want two things,” said Gov. Jack Markell of Delaware, a Democrat. “I want students from Delaware to be able to go anywhere and do any kind of work they want to do, and I also want to attract businesses from around the world, to say, ‘You want to be in Delaware because, amongst other things, we’ve got a bilingual work force.’ ”
For native English speakers, there is relatively little research on how dual-language programs affect their performance on standard metrics like state tests.
But Jennifer Steele, an associate professor at American University’s School of Education who is finishing research on Portland’s dual-language programs, said her work had found performance increases for both native English speakers and English-language learners in some grades and certain subjects once they reached late elementary school.
The climb to that advantage, however, can be daunting. Depending on the model, classes are generally taught from 50 percent to 90 percent of the time in the target language, with the rest taught in English. Some programs switch halfway through the day, while others switch every other day or by subject. Especially early on, many words spoken in class are ones a child has never heard.
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Here is a profile of a successful dual language school in San Antonio, TX: CLICK HERE