Education

No matter the result on Prop 58, LA Unified will offer more multilingual programs next year

Eloise Wong, a second grader in Castelar Street Elementary's Mandarin dual language program, shows off her classwork during an open house.
Eloise Wong, a second grader in Castelar Street Elementary's Mandarin dual language program, shows off her classwork during an open house.
Kyle Stokes/KPCC

Listen to story

00:59
Download this story 0.0MB

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, 12 new language immersion or bilingual education programs came online this school year. Next year, the district expects to add another dozen or so.

No matter how California votes on Proposition 58 on Election Day, the state's largest school district will continue to expand its offerings that predominantly teach students in languages other than English.

If approved, this year's ballot measure would roll back 1998's Proposition 227, which required California public schools offer the vast majority of their instruction in English. Under that mandate, even non-native speakers were required to receive "sheltered English immersion" before they could transition into mainstream classes.

But under Prop. 227, parents could obtain a waiver from these requirements, allowing their child to be able to learn in languages other than English.

Because of those waivers, L.A. Unified has opened 87 dual language, bilingual and immersion programs, said Hilda Maldonado, executive director of the district's Department of Multilingual Multicultural Education.

The waivers, Maldonado said, are just "another layer of red tape that everyone has to sift through."

She said if Prop. 58 passed, the district could eliminate that layer of red tape. If Prop. 58 did not pass, it would not alter the district's plans to continue offering these programs.

(Check out this story by Adolfo Guzman-Lopez for more on the pros and cons of Prop. 58)

What kinds of multilingual programs does L.A. Unified offer?