Language Magazine is urging its readers to ask their representatives to approve legislation introduced by Representative Raúl Grijalva (D–AZ) to expand access to and support for dual-language educational programs for children in low-income and ethnically diverse communities. The “Providing Resources to Improve Dual-Language Education (PRIDE) Act” would provide more resources to develop students’ reading and speaking skills in two languages.
“The ‘PRIDE Act’ is a powerful tool in our efforts to eliminate the achievement gap between high- and low-income children. As Congress will soon consider reauthorization of the No Child Left Behind Act, it is important that we develop more innovative strategies to support Latino and English language learner students. Research has shown that dual-language programs can change the trajectory of Latino student achievement,” said Delia Pompa, National Council of La Raza’s vice president of Education and former executive director of the National Association for Bilingual Education.
The “PRIDE Act” would benefit both native English-speaking students and English language learners (ELLs) by increasing the number of classrooms in low-income communities that provide them with content and literacy instruction in two languages. Dual-language models have proven effective in developing English-language proficiency for ELLs and bilingualism for English speakers. Studies have shown that knowing more than one language increases students’ abilities.
Despite these proven benefits, few dual-language programs include low-income students and ELLs. For example, of the 332 dual-language programs in the U.S., only 11% of them serve a significant number of Black children, and only one-third of programs nationwide report that more than half of the children enrolled are low-income.
“We applaud Congressman Grijalva for his work on behalf of all students, but especially for being a champion of those who most need a boost in their academic performance,” concluded Pompa. “The ‘PRIDE Act’ is just another example of Congressman Grijalva’s leadership. We urge Congress to pass this legislation now.”