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Dual Language Doesn't Translate: Equity and Access in Dual Language Education on English Learners and Low-Income Students


California has a history of bilingual education, but once that was eliminated with Proposition 227 in 1998, dual language education programs took its place. Dual Language Education programs are the teaching of academic content in two different languages. They have been expanding nationwide with several different languages being incorporated into this model, such as Spanish, Mandarin, Vietnamese, German, French, Portuguese, and Arabic. The draw for these programs has been to have students become better citizens in a global economy and to be able to participate within a diverse society. One of the concerns in regards to the expansion of dual language education is where the programs are being implemented and whom they are intended to serve. The trend is for affluent neighborhoods to have greater access to these dual language programs where there are a lower number of English learners and low-income students. These two demographic groups are not included in these dual language programs, which are considered advanced and rigorous. This case study is an in-depth look into one elementary school district in southern California with a high number of dual language programs, with many of them in affluent communities.

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