Urge State Legislators to Expand Access to Dual Language Learning

By: Alicia Teel Posted: 02/23/2017

This program contributes to a local bilingual workforce that is prepared for the global economy and close the opportunity gap

Teacher calling on studentsThe state legislature is quickly approaching a key deadline to pass bills out of fiscal committees, and your help is needed to advance an item that is part of our 2017 legislative agenda: expanding access to dual language learning programs. These programs teach students in two languages, generally English and a target language other than English spoken in the local community, for example Spanish, Somali, Vietnamese, Russian, Arabic, native languages, or indigenous languages.

The Chamber supports greater access to dual language learning because research shows that dual language programs are the most effective way for both English language learners and native-English speakers to learn, and they are an essential strategy building a local bilingual workforce that is prepared for the global economy. Dual language program also contribute to more inclusive communities, where more people have the opportunity to access a thriving quality of life. They close the opportunity gap and provide a number of other benefits to students and families, including increasing family and parent engagement. 

WHERE THE BILLS STAND 
Both the House and Senate have considered bills to expand dual-language learning, and the bills have strong bipartisan support. The House and Senate education policy committees approved the bills by a 16-3 vote and a 6-0 vote, respectively. Now, their continued progress through the legislative process depends on the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Ways and Means Committee. 

TAKE ACTION
Take a moment to write to your legislator and encourage their support of these bills. We've made it easy through our email-writing tool! 

For more information about the Chamber's work on education policy, please contact Kyla Shkerich, our policy and outreach manager.