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HomenewsEducationWashington Plans to Offer Dual Language Ed forAll by 2040

Washington Plans to Offer Dual Language Ed for
All by 2040

Washington State superintendent for education Chris Reykdal wants to expand dual language education programs in the state so that all school-aged children have access to them by 2040.

In August, Reykdal laid out a plan to increase the accessibility of dual language programs, starting with an investment of $18.9 million over the course of the next three years. This money will be used to increase the number of programs throughout the state while also expanding and supporting the workforce of educators that makes these programs run.

“The evidence is clear,” Reykdal said. “When young people become bilingual during the early grades, they have more cognitive flexibility and they perform better in school. As our global economy changes and our world becomes increasingly international, dual language education must become a core opportunity for our students.”

During this first phase of Reykdal’s initiative to make dual language education more accessible, the plan is to provide funding to go toward the training of biliterate educators. This will help to increase the number of teachers qualified to work in these programs. Additionally, the plan provides annual stipends to educators already working in these programs.

Currently, the state provides 112 different dual language education programs for around 35,000 children, the vast majority of whom learn English and Spanish. There are also programs for Mandarin Chinese, Vietnamese, and five different Native American languages that are indigenous to the Pacific Northwest: Kalispel Salish, Lushootseed, Makah, Quileute, and Quilshootseed. These programs are concentrated in just 42 out of the state’s 322 school districts—Reykdal and supporters of his proposal hope that all school districts will one day be home to a dual language education program.

“Washington State has an opportunity to be a leader on this front by passing this year’s dual language budget request to ensure all school districts can offer quality dual language instruction by 2040,” said Roxana Norouzi, executive director of OneAmerica, a Washington-based organization advocating for the rights of immigrants and refugees. “Dual language [education] is a long-term investment in students to become bilingual and biliterate.”
Andrew Warner

Language Magazine
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