The English Learner Roadmap which was unanimously adopted by the Cailfornia State Board of Education in July, is a digital resource that will help guide curriculum choices by school districts for the 1.4 million English language learners in the state’s public schools, EdSource reports.
The digital document replaces outdated language that mandated that all ELLs be taught in English-only classrooms unless a parent signed a waiver, and it now allows public schools to use multiple bilingual language programs to teach ELLs.
The roadmap is just part of an overall strategy to close the the achievement gap between English learners and their English-speaking peers.
In the past, the issue of dealing with English language learning has impacted some school districts more than others. School districts in California, Florida and Texas, for instance, have a greater population of students for whom English is a second language. However, with the new provisions in the Every Student Succeeds Act, every school district in the nation will soon have to address the issue.
In the long run, this new focus on bilingual education can benefit school districts. New research is touting the cognitive benefits of bilingual education. And an increasing number of school districts are pursuing the use of dual immersion classrooms as part of an overall global education strategy.
However, the benefits of bilingual education pass beyond the classroom. There is an increasing need for bilingual speakers in the workforce, and students need to have access to these skills in order to be competitive. In an increasingly global environment where the social boundaries that mark nations are fading, bilingual education can also be a unifying force for good.