For Immediate Release – Washington DC January 10, 2019
During the first legislative session of 2019, a bill to support the expansion of dual language programs in District schools was co-introduced by a majority of D.C. Council members: Education Committee Chair David Grosso (At-Large), Robert White (At-Large), Anita Bonds (At-Large), Brianne Nadeau (Ward 1), Mary Cheh (Ward 3), Brandon Todd (Ward 4), Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5) and Charles Allen (Ward 6), and was co-sponsored by Vincent Gray (Ward 7).
The bill is an exciting first step in the right direction. It mandates:
- a Language Roadmap that defines the policies to triple the number of seats in dual language immersion programs by 2025 and to give communities the right to secure further dual language immersion programs in their schools.
- the implementation of one new dual language immersion program in each Ward of the District by school year 2020/2021, prioritizing schools where communities have already expressed a desire for these programs, school leadership is on board, and where there are the most at risk students, the greatest need for enrollment and for achievement growth.
By working on a District-wide plan to substantially increase the number of students in multilingual education programs, we will equip our students with a huge advantage when they seek higher education and employment in an increasingly competitive, global 21st Century market.
Multilingualism empowers our students in the workplace, it makes them more attractive to colleges and universities, and qualifies them for an array of scholarships, too. The upsides of language immersion are too many to count, the downsides are none and the cost is nothing compared to the long-term benefits.
In the District, more than 10 children are on a waitlist for every spot in a dual language program. This bill represents a chance for the District to not only meet demand, but also to become a national leader in multilingual education.
The entire bill as introduced can be found here.