By Natalie Gross, Education Writers Association, March 18th 2016
The news of Houston Elementary DCPS having been authorized to start a dual language immersion program in the fall of 2016 was covered by the Latino Ed Beat of the Education Writers Association
““We know that these programs are particularly useful in trying to narrow the achievement gap,” D.C. Language Immersion Project Executive Director Vanessa Bertelli said Thursday, citing research that shows children in these types of programs have tested as much as two years ahead of their peers in reading and math. The nonprofit group advocates for the expansion of language immersion programs across all of the District’s eight wards in hopes that all schools will offer instruction in two languages by 2035.
Currently, the majority of these programs are concentrated in the northern part of the city in wards 1 and 4, but the District’s poorest neighborhoods in wards 7 and 8, including near Houston Elementary School, had no dual-language options.
“We hear all the time from people that, ‘Oh, these kids cannot even speak English properly. Why are we teaching them another language?’ referring to poor African American kids,” Bertelli said. “We have amazing research that actually these children have a much better chance at being proficient in English, if they are in these programs.”
Though Bertelli is pleased with the expansion, she said there’s still work to be done. “It is very exciting that this message is going through and that DCPS is responding to the demand. At the same time, it’s nowhere near satisfying the demand for these programs or curing the inequity. Hopefully it’s the beginning of a very interesting time in D.C., where we can start to address equity issues.””
Read full article here.