Immigrant parents aren’t keen on bilingual ed


My German professor in college never spoke English until her parents put her in 1st grade in the USA. She learned by immersion. She also had a PhD in English. She was completely against bi-lingual education. She said you don’t learn either language well that way, and it effects you for life. Immersion is the only way to go. 

Los Angeles Unified is tripling the number of dual-immersion bilingual programs, but there’s a catch, reports Kyle Stokes for KPCC. Worried that their children won’t learn English, most immigrant parents are rejecting bilingual education. Only six percent of the district’s 150,000 English Learners have enrolled in a dual-language program.

In dual language programs, students spend at least half – if not most – of their day learning in a languages ranging from Spanish, Mandarin or even Armenian. Each dual language classroom features a mix of native English speakers with students who speak the “target language” proficiently.

The expansion is driven by research suggesting there could be a huge upside for English learners: dual language instruction has the potential to help this needy population deepen their native language abilities while — all at the same time — becoming proficient in English and growing other academic skills.

Last year, California voters passed Proposition 58, which repealed limits on bilingual education. “As many as 137 dual language programs will be up and running district-wide next year, up from 42 six years ago,” reports Stokes.

Dual-immersion students learn English, said Hilda Maldonado, who runs L.A. Unified’s Multilingual and Multicultural Education Division. In addition, “you’re going to learn your content areas in a language that you understand, so you don’t fall behind.”