The Dual Language Schools Survey: The How, Why, What & When
Last year, after a lot of hard work and tireless support from many people, California passed Proposition 58, which repealed the bilingual education restrictions created by Proposition 227 in 1998. This was great news for Dual Language Education! However, this also created a huge demand for more dual language schools. Because of the previous restrictions on bilingual education, there were no up-to-date materials to sustain these new schools. All the materials were developed years ago before the restrictions, which caused these new schools to develop their own materials, which they often did not have the means or time to develop effective materials for students. To encourage more Dual Language materials, we conducted a survey with CABE (California Association of Bilingual Education) to encourage more publishing companies to create materials to satisfy the needs of these schools. We presented our survey findings at La Cosecha Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Utilizing data from California Dual Language programs that intended to decipher the challenges Dual Language programs were facing within their curriculum, teacher management, and assessment. The survey had 80 participants, and the participants were asked questions regarding the program models, curriculum used, type of immersion program, languages utilized, and challenges faced. The majority of the respondents were two-way dual immersion, programs utilizing a 90:10 model, followed by a 50:50 model. The most used languages were Spanish, followed by Spanish/French, beginning at the kindergarten level.
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The challenges predominately reported by institutions were with teacher recruitment and curriculum. This data is conclusive with what has been reported via many news outlets lately regarding teacher shortages. From programs reporting either lack of curriculum, or trouble with existing curriculum, we hope that our survey results encourage publishing companies to create more curriculum geared towards Dual Language programs. Challenges with curriculum that were discussed included not being able to have students reach bilingual proficiency, including (but not limited to) listening, speaking, reading and writing. The curriculum was not allowing students to excel in Spanish assessments, and English Learners’ scoring and reclassification.
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Other challenges reported by schools included not receiving additional funding for their dual language programs, finding true models in this area, and ensuring that there are policies in place to protect the needs of the program within the district. Besides finding teachers, programs also reported difficulty finding teachers with proficient both Spanish and English skills, and getting them the proper training to improve these skills. This is extremely evident when teachers work with Long-Term English Learners, who really need the support from teachers in order to improve their test scores.
Overall, this survey allowed us to find important data regarding what needs to change within curriculum for Dual Language programs. We’d like to thank CABE for their collaboration on putting together this important survey. We would love to hear YOUR feedback on challenges that your programs are facing, needs that you are experiencing within curriculum, or what you are excelling at. The best way to create a more bilingual, biliterate world is to have an open dialogue within the Dual Language community! Please visit the forum to let us know your thoughts regarding the survey results, or challenges your program is facing: https://duallanguageschools.org/forums/dual-language-administrators