Urge Durham County Commissioners to Invest in Dual Language Programs!
Did you hear the great news?
Last week, the Durham Public Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to begin planning for dual language immersion programs at Bethesda Elementary School and Lakewood Elementary School, and expanding support for the existing program at Southwest Elementary School. Now we need you to raise your voice again!
This vote is a great step for Durham families who have been advocating for more bilingual programs by sending e-mails, making phone calls, signing petitions, and speaking to the School Board in their public meetings. But now we need to speak out again to ensure these programs get the funding they need to become a reality.
Why does Durham need dual language programs? Because they work for ALL students!
Regardless of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, research studies have demonstrated that these programs benefit every student. Dual language programs are a great means to help us to fulfill America's promise of equal opportunity for all:
Dual language programs serve as an academic intervention to raise achievement. Research shows that dual language programs are one of the most effective strategies to close the opportunity gap for all students before it starts while also ensuring our kids have a competitive advantage when they enter the global workforce. In a 2010 study of two-way dual language schools in North Carolina, it was found that when low-income students participate in dual language programs, the programs can serve to strongly counteract the barriers related to low socioeconomic status on school achievement while also significantly increasing student achievement for English language learners and African Americans vulnerable in the achievement gap.
Students who know more than one language have exhibited increased emotional intelligence, stronger problem solving skills, and improved academic outcomes. Dual language programs are a powerful model to address the holistic needs of children and support current early childhood programs, such as, the Adverse Childhood Experiences Plan, Community Resilience Plan and Early Childhood Mental Health Taskforce, by promoting early brain and language development, building socio-emotional skills like empathy, and encouraging parents to engage in meaningful activities with their young children.
Dual language programs strengthen the public education system and communities. These programs are popular across multilingual and monolingual communities. In fact, they are so well liked by English monolingual families that every school that offers dual language programs in North Carolina has a long waiting list for the English speaking families hoping to enroll their children. We are sure that offering more dual language programs will alleviate this and bring many Durham families back to the Durham Public Schools system. Not to mention that dual language programs are the best way to increase student achievement for English Language Learners (ELL), while also improving education outcomes for native English speaking students.
Knowing multiple languages sets children up to be competitive in a global workforce as adults. Do we need to say more? Students in dual language programs develop cultural awareness and inclusion of diverse cultures and are prepared to meet the exciting challenges of our society.
Let’s work together to ensure our educational system recognizes the benefits of bilingualism and that together we build welcoming communities that see the languages and cultures in our neighborhood as an asset.