In the first part of this series about the Spanish immersion education boom in West Michigan, we talked about how 6 of the 31 programs in the region are serving a small proportion of local Latino students who are English learners. In particular, we looked at two public schools with dual language programs in Holland and Grand Rapids, where kids who fall into this category are able to access their legal right to an equal opportunity education via a model proven to improve their academic outcomes in English, all while helping them maintain their home language.
The other 25 programs in the area are designed to help students who already speak English to acquire Spanish. In a region where the vast majority of Latino English learner students are being educated in monolingual settings where the chances of them achieving advanced levels of bilingualism and biliteracy are quite low, 4 out of 5 seats in Spanish immersion classrooms are reserved for a group of kids that are solidly on their way to the elite class, as it is.
This episode of Tertulia is the second in a two-part series; the previous episode is in Spanish and this one is in English. Both are complementary parts of one single story, not translations of the same content. So if you haven’t already, listen to part one, and click here to explore the data that I collected for this series.
Guests interviewed in Part 2:
- Mandy Menke, The Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)
- Stacey Vandenbosch, add.a.lingua
- Jesús Santillán, Ada Vista Elementary School
“Waiting for the Moment that Never Comes” – Lee Rosevere. Licensed under Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International License.
Special thanks to:
- Sheryl Dalman, West Michigan Alliance of Immersion Educators
- Harriet McTigue and Alicia Guevara-Warren, Michigan League for Public Policy
- Lilah Ambrosi, add.a.lingua (I interviewed Lilah along with Stacey Vandenbosch)
- Diane Tedick, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota (I interviewed Diane and she contributed her expertise for this series)
Data source for student counts (for schools, districts, and intermediate school districts):
Michigan’s Center for Educational Performance and Information – Student Counts, School Year: 2017-2018, All Grades, Report Type: Race/Ethnicity, Student Type: English Learners. https://www.mischooldata.org/
Data source for private schools*:
National Center for Education Statistics – PSS Private School Universe Survey for 2015-2016 School Year. https://nces.ed.gov/surveys/pss/privateschoolsearch/index.asp
*The student population data for Kalamazoo Christian Elementary and Kalamazoo Christian Middle Schools were extrapolated based on the average profile of similar schools and https://www.privateschoolreview.com/kalamazoo-christian-elementary-middle-schools-profile.