[lg policy] Seattle:

Harold Schiffman haroldfs at gmail.com
Fri Oct 9 16:24:31 UTC 2015

 Parents flock to dual-language schools, and more of the week’s education
Originally published October 9, 2015 at 5:03 am Updated October 9, 2015 at
12:58 am

In Utah, 9 percent of elementary school students are enrolled in dual
language programs. Dueling preschool studies. More attention to student
attendance. Gentrification may stop at the schoolhouse door.
Section Sponsor
By Linda Shaw
Education Lab editor


Schools that teach students in two languages have been popular in the
Seattle area for parents who want their children to learn a second language
early.  A recent New York Times report tracks the expansion of similar
programs around the country.  New York City has 39 new or expanded
dual-language programs this year, for example.  In Utah – Utah! – 9 percent
of elementary students are enrolled in one.  In Portland, it’s 10 percent.

In New York, such programs are seen as a “partial solution to the
intractable problem of de facto school segregation,” The Times said, citing
those who say the programs attract families who speak English as a first
language as well as those who don’t.  That may be tied to research that
shows strong benefits from being bilingual.

(Washington state has dual language programs in roughly 66 schools,
according to a 2014 survey done by the University of Washington.)

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While one new study out of Tennessee raised questions about the value of
preschool, a second in Miami-Dade County supported those who say early
learning  has big benefits.  The Miami study found that about 90 percent of
low-income Latino students who had attended  public or subsidized
preschool  programs  passed Florida’s third-grade tests.

Why such different results?  A number of reasons, according to The
Hechinger Report’s Jill Barshay.

One may be that the Miami-Dade County study looked only at students who
attended the public preschools, and didn’t compare them with those who
didn’t.  Tennessee did that analysis. The Tennessee preschool program also
isn’t as well funded, which may mean it’s not as high-quality as Miami’s.


Truancy was in the news this week – locally and nationally.  Locally, the
Washington State Center for Court Research dug into what’s happened in the
20 years since lawmakers here passed the Becca laws, named after a Tacoma
12-year-old who skipped a lot of school, ran away, and was murdered in

The idea was to give parents – and schools – more tools to keep kids safe
and in school.

But the center’s report says that Becca laws haven’t led to consistently
good results.  There are some well-run, well-funded programs that reduce
truancy and boost academic success, the report said, but there could be

Nationally, several federal departments (Education, Health and Human
Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice) launched a campaign
to reduce the number of students who miss at least 10 percent of the school

As of now, the feds say, anywhere from 5 million to 7.5 million students
miss 18-plus days.

Their goal echoes what’s happening in the efforts to revamp school
discipline: More focus on help and less on punishment.



 Harold F. Schiffman

Professor Emeritus of
 Dravidian Linguistics and Culture
Dept. of South Asia Studies
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305

Phone:  (215) 898-7475
Fax:  (215) 573-2138

Email:  haroldfs at gmail.com

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