Some schools are benefitting from a new focus on bilingual education benefitting students who speak English and languages other than English.
In New York, there is a renewed emphasis on standards for bilingual education in New York, which will result in a special seal on diplomas to verify a student’s bilingualism.
Ar Washington Irving Intermediate School the third grade classroom was separated with a divider. Two teachers discussed an identical math problem on either side. Nanesha Nunez explained in Spanish to 17 students the procedures for a word problem, and Deborah Rose worked on the other side with 16 students on the same problem on her electronic board.
“When you talk about rigor, that’s exactly what we saw,” said Angelica Infante-Green, New York’s associate commissioner of the Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies, after her tour of the school. “I’m very impressed, and I’m hard to impress.”
Next year, state law will change in the fall, and require school districts to create bilingual classes if there are 20 or more children in the same age group who speak a language other than English. Usually the languages encountered are Spanish, Chinese, or Yiddish in East Ramapo. At present, they only have to create bilingual classes if 20 children are in the same building.
To accommodate the new rules and recent influx of immigrant children, schools can create single language e classes taught in the child’s native tongue, create transitional bilingual classrooms, or create dual language programs.