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Bilingual Education at Providence Public Schools

November 21, 2013

“We are trying to work towards late-exit ELL programs so (students) can learn the concepts in (their) native language,” Lusi said. Administrative goals have recently shifted to a focus on proficiency in both languages because bilingual education is preferred, she added.

But instituting district-wide bilingual education would require funding to hire teachers certified in both languages and to buy dual-language materials, she said.

I am pretty sure this is new. I am surprised there has not been a stronger effort to pass a legislative package in Rhode Island that provides both the policy framework and funding necessary to achieve universal bilinguage education for English language learners in RI schools.

One of the great advantages of transitioning to common standards1 is there should be greater availability of curricular materials in languages other than English. I suspect most of what is needed for bilingual education is start up money for materials, curriculum supports and developments, and assessment materials. There are a few policy things that need to be in place, possibly around state exams, but also rules around flexible teacher assignment, hiring, and dismissal staffing needs dramatically change.

Someone should be putting this package together. I suspect there would be broad support.


  1. Note, this is not necessarily a feature of the Common Core State Standards, just having standards in common with many other states. [return]