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Bilingual ed is back — but where are the teachers?

Dual-immersion Bilingual education is wildly popular — with educated, English-speaking parents, if not with less-educated immigrants.  In 2016, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 58 which essentially repealed a 1998 anti-bilingual measure, also overwhelmingly approved by voters.

Is bilingual ed back in California? There’s a hitch, I write in Education Next. There aren’t enough bilingual teachers.

Nearly all the new programs use the dual-immersion model, and some existing programs are switching to dual immersion.  To achieve the goal of biliteracy, schools need teachers who can teach reading, writing, math, science and social studies in a second language from kindergarten through high school. Some teachers with old bilingual credentials are retraining and trying to improve their language skills. Others say bilingual teaching is too much work without extra pay. (Some districts are paying stipends or signing bonuses.)

Nearly everyone I talked to said they didn’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past: When nearly all students came from low-income and working-class immigrant families, expectations were low. It was common for teachers’ aides to teach reading in Spanish because the teacher wasn’t really bilingual.

Because so many dual-immersion students come from educated, affluent families, there’s lots of pressure to do it right, with qualified teachers. But that will constrain the growth of dual immersion for years to come.

Immigrant parents also are not sold on the cognitive benefits of learning in two languages: They set a very high value on English mastery for their children. Some programs are having trouble recruiting enough English Language Learners.

In addition, a number of bilingual education advocates are concerned that programs will cater to the needs of the least-needy students, becoming enrichment for the affluent.

This post first appeared on Joanne Jacobs — Thinking And Linking By Joanne Jacobs, please read the originial post: here

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Bilingual ed is back — but where are the teachers?


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