Election season is upon us. So we’ve compiled a handy guide to help you educate your favorite candidate about the need for more and better multilingual education in DC.

CHILDREN IN DUAL LANGUAGE PROGRAMS ACHIEVE BETTER, WHATEVER THEIR SOCIOECONOMIC STATUS, ETHNICITY OR LANGUAGE SPOKEN AT HOME

Studies are unanimous on the many research-based benefits of bilingual education.

  • Children in dual language are 9 months ahead of their peers in English reading by 8th grade – that’s one school year ahead!
  • Increase in achievement is the same for children whose home language is the partner language in the dual language program and for English native speakers – dual language programs benefit all students whether English language learners or not.
  • English language learners reach English proficiency much faster than their English language learners peers not in dual language programs.
  • Dual language programs improve behavior, increase attendance and reduce student mobility (fewer students leave a dual language program and more students re-enroll in a dual language program).
  • These advantages are seen across all demographics and abilitieswith special needs students benefitting as much as their peers.

SKYROCKETING UNMET DEMAND BY PARENTS FROM ALL WARDS

These are your constituents we are talking about.

  • Demand for dual language programs accounts for 30% of the total length of waitlist in Public Charter Schools and is significant in DC Public Schools’ dual language programs too.
  • Demand for dual language programs continues to grow year on year and, for example, accounts for over one third of the growth in charter sector applications.
  • The longest waitlist for any District middle school belongs to the only dual language charter middle school.

DEMAND FOR BILINGUAL EMPLOYEES IN THE DC REGION DOUBLED OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS

New American Economy study on the DC region shows that:

  • Demand for bilingual employees or employees who have some language skills has doubled over the last five years.
  • This demand is growing much faster than job growth overall.
  • Demand affects all industries and, in particular, finance and insurance, professional services, healthcare, public administration and hospitality.
  • Top occupations for bilingual jobs cross the spectrum from sales to registered nurses, from HR specialists to tellers.
  • Languages most in demand after Spanish are French, Arabic and Mandarin.

JURISDICTIONS AROUND THE COUNTRY ARE REALIZING THAT LANGUAGE SKILLS GIVE THEIR GRADUATES A LEG-UP: WE CAN’T FALL BEHIND

To meet constituents’ demand, narrow the opportunity gap and end up with a highly desirable, global workforce, multilingual education needs to be a priority for all our elected officials.

Dear Families, educators, and partners,

In 2020 we announced that the DC Language Immersion Project would close its doors due to lack of resources. However, before completely dissolving the organization, we recently asked a group of local and national educators if they - individually or collectively - would be interested in continuing the work of advocating for multilingual education in the District of Columbia. We are pleased to announce that a few individuals responded yes and volunteered to forge a plan to continue this vital work.

So, we are not closing our doors but we are entering a six-to-twelve-month period of dormancy as we determine the best path forward for the DC Immersion Project.  Thank you for your continued support and please stay tuned for updates.

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