September 27, 2018
State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Applauds Signing of Dual Language Immersion Legislation
SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson thanked Gov. Brown for signing legislation to promote Dual Language Immersion programs in California. Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, authored the bill.
Assembly Bill 2514 creates 10 grants of $300,000 that will be available to districts to start Dual Language Immersion programs.
Money will still have to be allocated by the Department of Finance, but Torlakson said he would strongly advocate for the funding.
“This is a great first step in creating a program that will support the expansion of Dual Language Immersion programs,” he said. “Students and their families want the chance to learn more than one language.”
Torlakson said the legislation advances the goals of his initiative, Global California 2030, to vastly increase the number of students who are fluent in two languages.
“Numerous studies show that fluency in another language boosts students’ mental flexibility and enhances their ability to learn all subjects. This legislation could open the door by giving more students the opportunity to become fluent in a world language by making it easier for districts to launch Dual Language Immersion programs, allowing students to start learning a world language in kindergarten.”
Global California 2030 seeks to quadruple the number of Dual Language Immersion programs in California from the current 400 to 1,600.
“With the passage of AB 2514, we are making strides towards closing the achievement gap for English learners and preparing our students for success in the 21st century economy.” Assemblymember Thurmond said. “Research has demonstrated that dual language instructional programs have positive outcomes for both English learners and native English speakers, they perform better academically, gain more confidence, and possess greater cultural awareness. Creating dual language instructional programs for all students maximizes their full potential, starting with our youngest learners.”
Earlier this week, Torlakson announced progress on another part of his initiative – the State Seal of Biliteracy. His initiative seeks to triple the number of seals that are earned each year by graduating seniors. The seals demonstrate they are proficient in a world language in addition to English.
Torlakson announced that a record number of seals, over 55,000 were earned by graduating seniors in 2018. The highest number of seals were earned in Spanish, followed by French and by Mandarin.
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Tom Torlakson —
State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Communications Division, Room 5602, 916-319-0818, Fax 916-319-0100