International perspective on foreign language study

A stark contrast:

The typical European pupil must study multiple languages in the classroom before becoming a teen. Studying a second foreign language for at least one year is compulsory in more than 20 European countries… Meanwhile, the U.S. does not have a nationwide foreign-language mandate at any level of education. Many states allow individual school districts to set language requirements for high school graduation, and primary schools have very low rates of even offering foreign-language course work.

Pew Research Center: Learning a foreign language a ‘must’ in Europe, not so in America

Include bilingual instruction for all students in ESEA reauthorization

A commentary in Education Week supporting expanded bilingual education in ESEA reauthorization:

While employers are clamoring for bilingual or even multilingual employees for an increasingly globalized economy, U.S. schools turn out relatively few students who are even somewhat competent in a second language. Hard figures are unavailable, but we know that only 5 percent of the 4.2 million Advanced Placement exams given in 2014 were in a foreign language, and only slightly more than half these students scored a 4 or a 5. That’s about 100,000 students—about six-tenths of 1 percent of the country’s nearly 16 million high school students. Most egregiously, instead of maintaining and building on the home-language abilities of 11 million students in our public schools, we actually attempt to quash them, if only by neglect.

Education Week: Congress: Bilingualism Is Not a Handicap

Boston Globe editorial urges bilingual education for Boston schools

A Boston Globe editorial on July 13, 2015 urges superintendent Chang to increase bilingual and dual language education in Boston Public Schools:

When it comes to educating the surging immigrant population in Boston, many in educational and political circles ignore the evidence of failure all around them. The achievement gap for so-called English-language learners — students enrolled in school but without English proficiency — promises to haunt Boston for a generation unless the ineffective and highly unsuccessful English immersion mandate is reversed. The Boston Public Schools continue to watch these students fall through the cracks. Their dropout rates are consistently higher, and they have among the lowest MCAS scores in the city. Saving more of these students from a life without meaningful educational achievement stands as one of the signal challenges for new superintendent Tommy Chang. Read more…

The Boston Globe: Bring back bilingual education for Boston schools

Happy Graduation!

Congratulations to the students around the country who graduated from high school with a Seal of Biliteracy — Let’s make this possible for Massachusetts students as well!

  • Illinois: Nearly 800 Illinois students in Class of 2015 graduate with the Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy
  • New Jersey: Washington Township High School was one of 12 school districts in New Jersey that participated in a pilot program that recognizes students for biliteracy — an honor that is aimed at giving students a competitive edge upon high school graduation.
  • California: The Napa Valley Unified School District recognized 137 high school graduates who attained a high level of proficiency in speaking, reading, and writing in one or more languages in addition to English with a Seal of Biliteracy.

See more at SealofBiliteracy.org.

Seal of Biliteracy

Support the Seal of Biliteracy in Massachusetts! Support An Act to Establish a State Seal of Biliteracy H.422/S.336 and An Act relative to Language Opportunity for Our Kids (LOOK) H.498/S.262.

“A lot of businesses want to know, ‘Do you know Chinese? And how do I know you know?’ And you can have your certificate as verification.”

NPR: On The High School Diploma: A ‘Bilingual’ Stamp Of Approval?

Shortage of Dual Language Teachers

The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA) has cited finding highly qualified teachers as the greatest challenge in implementing an immersion program. Aside from needing to be fluent in the target language, teachers also need to be competent in language learning strategies and the relevant pedagogical skills.

The LOOK Bill will create a certification for Dual Language educators in Massachusetts.

Education Week: Shortage of Dual-Language Teachers: Filling the Gap

Who are Dual Language Learners?

New America’s EdCentral is publishing a part of a 10-week series on research, policies, and practices pertaining to the education of dual language learners (DLLs) in U.S. public schools.

Children between the ages of zero- and eight-years-old are the most diverse age group in the United States. Compared to other age groups, they are more likely to be racial and/or ethnic minorities, be born to immigrant parents, and speak a language other than English. Many of these young children are considered dual language learners (DLLs). Yet despite this fact, it is somewhat difficult to find a good estimation for just how many DLLs there are.

The New America Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy institute that invests in new thinkers and new ideas to address the next generation of challenges facing the United States.

New America EdCentral: http://www.edcentral.org/dllreader2/