Our View: Speaking of the future
Imagine a program that can assimilate cultures, teach fluency in a second language and help solve California’s “No Child Left Behind” crisis.
The program, with the potential to do all of these things, is here, right in our backyard.
The concept, revolutionary in its simplicity, is to combine cultures to teach each student what has become one of the most critical issues in California education ” language.
The Kings Beach Elementary School dual immersion program has become so popular a lottery has been instituted to pick the lucky parents who get to send their children to the program.
The potential to expand the dual immersion program could turn what has been California’s weakest link in the “No Child Left Behind” program ” language ability “-into a strength while vaulting both Spanish and English speakers into the coveted realm of bilingual communicators.
Kings Beach’s coveted program could soon become a model for Truckee Elementary and others if the district can find enough qualified bilingual teachers for a new program.
That, however, brings us to the chicken-or-the-egg nature of language learning in California. The immersion program in Kings Beach is hamstrung from expanding because there are not enough people who can teach in both languages.
Bilingual teachers are scarce because of a lack of bilingual education.
The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, along with other districts across the state, have the opportunity to be on the leading edge of a new paradigm: Educating a crop of dual-language speakers, who very well may be our state’s next dual immersion teachers. Or, at the very least, parents will raise their children with knowledge of both English and Spanish.
Whether we like it or not, the Spanish language is not a passing fancy in California education, commerce or business.
Innovation in language education is where our future leaders will gather the skills to succeed in, like it or not, an increasingly diverse state ” whether it’s as business leaders, government officials or bilingual teachers.
Education starts with education. And the Kings Beach model is one that deserves support to grow.
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