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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

More US schools teach in Spanish, but not enough to help Latinos

More US schools teach in Spanish, but not enough to help Latinos

More US schools teach in English and Spanish, but not enough to help Latino kids
Classes taught in both languages help students from various backgrounds, but many districts have fought to keep Spanish out of schools.

The USA TODAY Network is launching a series on the Latino community in the USA called Hecho en USA, or made in America. Roughly 80% of all Latinos living in the USA are American citizens, but media coverage of Hispanics tends to focus on immigration and crime, instead of how Latino families live, work and learn in their hometowns. Hecho en USA tells the stories of the nation’s 59.9 million Latinos – a growing economic and cultural force, many of whom are born in the USA.

LOS ANGELES – Preschool teacher Rosa Ramirez has a special way of asking her students to line up for playtime outside. 
“Pueden pararse si llevan puesto algo de color amarillo, como una abeja,” she tells them. 
In English, Ramirez would say, “You can stand up if you are wearing yellow – like a bee.” But this is the half of the school day in which she teaches exclusively in Spanish. 
Her students are not confused by her language choice. Most of the 4-year-olds wearing even a smidgen of yellow stand up as instructed.

Bilingual education programs can help children from all backgrounds become better students

Research shows that dual-language programs where children learn both Spanish and English are especially helpful for Latino English-language learners. Editors note: Video has been updated to remove a student who opted out of appearing in photos and video.


The preschool dual-language program at Gates Street Early Education Center in Lincoln Heights, one of Los Angeles’ oldest neighborhoods with dense populations of Latino and Asian residents, is part of a growing number of bilingual education models taking root in California and across the country. Many of them are designed to serve students from Spanish-speaking families, as well as students from other cultures, under mounting evidence that learning two languages can help people from all backgrounds become stronger students.  

Roughly 3.8 million students in U.S. schools are native Spanish-speakers who are not proficient in English. They make up the bulk of the approximately 5 million students nationwide identified as English language learners, the fastest-growing demographic in schools – and the lowest-performing, as judged by achievement tests and graduation rates. 

Sixty-seven percent of students with limited English skills graduated high school after four years in 2016, compared with 84% of all students, according to federal data. 

Language experts recommend how to improve those outcomes: More high-quality, long-term dual- CONTINUE READING: More US schools teach in Spanish, but not enough to help Latinos