Using language immersion to bring middle class families into public schools
New York City Education Department to Add or Expand 40 Dual-Language Programs
“…experts say that dual-language programs can also be a way to entice middle-class families to attend schools they might otherwise avoid.
“In my book, dual language is one of the best ways to get economic and ethnic integration of schools,” said Clara Hemphill, the founding editor of Insideschools.org, a website based at the New School.
JAN. 14, 2015
The New York City Education Department plans to expand dual-language programs offered in public schools, using the orchestra of local languages to spread bilingual little symphonies across the five boroughs — and perhaps to attract more middle-class families to poorer schools in the process.
Carmen Fariña, the city’s schools chancellor, announced the plan on Wednesday, saying that citywide, 40 dual-language programs for elementary, middle and high school levels would be created or expanded for the 2015-16 school year.
In each of the programs, which aim to teach students to read, write and speak in two languages, half the students will be English speakers and half will already speak the other language of the classroom. A vast majority of the programs will be in Spanish, but there will also be some in Japanese, Hebrew, Chinese, French and Haitian-Creole.
In remarks made at a professional development session at the United Federation of Teachers offices in Brooklyn, an enthusiastic Ms. Fariña described her own experience as a child who started school in New York City without speaking English, and as an adult who is bilingual in English and Spanish. She also emphasized the global advantages of speaking more than one language.
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