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State & Local
Across the country, strides are being made to prioritize language education and global competence at both the state and local level. Over the coming months, we’ll be building out this resource area to showcase notable efforts in areas such as building teacher capacity, heritage language programs, articulated K-12 programs, accreditation, non-commonly taught language programs, philanthropy, public-private partnerships, and more. We’ll also share profiles of policymakers, educators, and advocates at the forefront of language education.
If your school or district is implementing a forward-thinking language program, we want to hear from you!
At the State Level
The states of Delaware and Utah have been particularly innovative in developing statewide plans to implement dual-language immersion programs that can serve as models for other states seeking ways to support early language learning. These programs advance students’ academic achievement and enhance cognitive benefits, as well as develop intercultural competence—a promising step towards building a multilingual citizenry.
Part of Governor Jack Markell’s World Language Expansion Initiative, multiple districts in Delaware offer 50/50 K-12 immersion programs in either Mandarin Chinese or Spanish.
Utah’s articulated K-12 plan also uses a 50/50 model. First steps toward the initiative were taken in 2008 following actions from the Utah Senate and former governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. Immersion programs are now available in five languages across more than 160 Utah schools.
Indiana is completing the second year of a two-year pilot program offering 50/50 immersion programs in Spanish, Mandarin, or French to students beginning in either Kindergarten or Grade 1. Eight schools are currently participating in the pilot program, joining several other previously established programs in providing immersion opportunities to students across the state.
Some states have taken the initiative to develop specific, integrated proposals for improving language education at the state level. These roadmaps set forth the steps necessary to ensure that students become culturally competent graduates in possession of the 21st century skills that will lead to personal and professional success—as well as American economic competitiveness and national security—in today’s increasingly global world.
To view full versions of the roadmaps, visit The Language Flagship.
At the Local Level
Video & Audio
6 years ago, an Iowa school started offering an innovative Spanish immersion program to Kindergarteners, and the experiment is paying off.
Central Falls High School has just graduated more than a dozen seniors who are the first in Rhode Island to receive special recognition for speaking and reading two languages.
Minneapolis offers Arabic from elementary to high school with support from a Qatar Foundation grant.
In partnership with three large school districts, Western has created a special program to encourage high school graduates who read and speak both Spanish and English to become bilingual teachers.
Some school districts, like Giddings, Texas, are tackling the language teacher gap by looking beyond the United States for qualified teachers.
Washington state’s Highline school district is aiming for the class of 2026 to graduate fully bilingual and biliterate.
Superintendent Chuck Ransom credits full-fledged dual language instruction beginning in kindergarten for his district’s state-leading graduation rates.
An ever-growing movement in West Michigan called language immersion education is connecting students with their city—and their world.