This infographic looks at the state of dual language education in DC. There are currently 14 elementary school dual language programs, 4 middle and 3 high school programs, for a total of 21 programs. Eight of these are Public Charter Schools, while 13 are DC public Schools. Dual language programs in DC are taught in four languages – Hebrew, French, Mandarin and Spanish, with the overwhelming majority of them being in Spanish. Six programs are dual language strands either within non dual language schools or within dual language schools with programs in multiple languages.
We’ve overlaid a map of DC post codes according to their percentage of household income under $40k which indicates that these programs are largely absent from the areas of the city where poverty is the greatest.
While dual language programs were initially understood to be beneficial primarily to English Language Learners, we now know they increase achievement and opportunity for all students. DC and the rest of the nation need to figure out how to make these programs accessible to all students.
At the same time, only 20% of the District’s English Language Learners are enrolled in dual language programs despite it being widely accepted that these programs are the most efficient and quickest way for ELLs to achieve English proficiency, and of course, retain their home language.
There is work to be done. And with shining examples of dual language programs in the District, education agencies’ support, together with parental and community demand, quality dual language programs can be made available to all those who want to raise multilingual children.