Washington State Superintendent Announces Plan to Expand Bilingual Programs

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(KPTV) – The Washington state superintendent has announced a plan to have all schools in the state offer bilingual programs by 2040.

Across Washington State, 35,000 students in 42 school districts and tribal schools attend bilingual programs. Students learn the content of the class partly in English and partly in another language.

The programs not only give children the opportunity to develop bi-literacy and bilingualism, but actually help their brains to be more flexible – in other words, able to think of multiple concepts at once and adapt to new, changing and unforeseen events.

State Superintendent Chris Reykdal said as the world becomes increasingly international, it will help Washington students develop the workforce needed for the global economy.

“The economy of this state will depend on our ability to run the language here and then have our young Washington graduates go on to post-secondary education and take those language skills around the world, Reykdal said.

In state bilingual programs, schools choose the partner language to be taught alongside English. Currently, 102 offer Spanish, three offer Chinese-Mandarin, two offer Vietnamese, and five offer tribal languages.

The goal is for all Washington students to have access to bilingual K-9 education by 2040. In addition to expanding the programs to more school districts, they are at the same time expanding the educators needed to implement it.

In addition to helping students get better grades and improve their problem-solving skills, Reykdal says bilingual programs create ethnic and racial awareness and break down social barriers.

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