How can dual immersion education help raise test scores? Do bilingual children learn better?
Proposition 227 all but eliminated bilingual education in California schools in 1998. The law mandated that English be used as the primary language to teach non-English-speaking kids in schools. In recent years, a different form of secondary language acquisition has been gaining traction in Los Angeles public school system. They are called "dual language immersion" programs: classes are taught almost entirely in Spanish, Mandarin or another language, and they are designed to benefit both children who are learning English as a second language as well as those who are native English speakers.
KPCC's Early Childhood Development Correspondent Deepa Fernandes has a piece today looking at one such program at Foster Elementary School in Baldwin Park. School officials there, mirroring what many researchers have found, say that kids in their dual language programs outperform those who are taught in just English-only classes.
If dual language immersion programs are so successful, why aren't more California schools adopting them? What are some of the challenges and drawbacks? What are the benefits?
Karen Cadiero-Kaplan, Director of the English Learner Support Division at the California Department of Education
Roger Lowenstein, founder and executive director of Los Angeles Leadership Academy, a public charter school in Lincoln Heights that practices dual language immersion
Karen Nemeth, co-founder of Language Castle. She is a dual language immersion consultant who works with school districts across the the country