Bilingual is Better

#topblogueras at the White House

As some of you might know, Ana and I just got back from an amazing trip to Washington D.C. where we were honored to take part in LATISM’s first ever #TopBlogueras Retreat. As part of the event, we received a once-in-a-lifetime invitation to go to the White House to attend a special policy briefing about education, health and the economy, among other topics. As soon as we saw that one of the panelists was Andrea Ceja, the chief of staff at the Office of the Undersecretary of the Department of Education, both Ana and I knew we had to ask a question about the state of bilingual education in this country. And that’s exactly what I did.

Below, you’ll be able to see the entire exchange, which Ana caught on video, but I wanted to tell you that our biggest take-away was that in order for us to make this a real movement and show the entire country why we’re part of this bilingual parenting revolution, we first need to make sure that everyone understands the difference between what’s been traditionally dubbed bilingual education and dual language immersion education, which is what we advocate for.

Read more: What are Dual Language Immersion Programs

While they might sound like the same thing, they are not. In this country, bilingual education is the program used to teach English Language Learners to become proficient in English and it more often than not does this at the expense of Spanish (or the child’s first language). Dual language immersion achieves the same results, except that while ELL students are becoming proficient in English, they’re helping monolingual English-only speakers become proficient in Spanish because that’s how dual language immersion education works. Everyone feeds of each other’s abilities in the name of becoming bilingual. In short, it’s a win-win situation for all, including the children who are already bilingual when they enter the program — like Camila, Ana’s daughter, who will enter a DL program in the fall — who essentially become intermediaries and help both their English-only and Spanish-only classmates. What’s there not to like, right?

As you’ll see, my question had to do with whether I’m crazy to dream that one day all children in the United States will have access to this type of education. In the panelists answers, you’ll hear the confusion that exists regarding this topic and see why we feel it’s such a necessity to educate others so they understand that dual language immersion education is the best way to go in order to kill two birds with one stone.

Read on how The Power of Community Was Felt at the White House

To be clear, I’m not saying all children need to attend schools like these — although that would be amazing —, I’m just saying that all children should have the opportunity to do. If you’ve followed us for a little bit, you know I don’t have this option in Denver and thus Vanessa is attending our neighborhood elementary school. While she’s only in kindergarten and is doing great, I’m really sadden that she won’t be getting the same kind of dual language education I got because I know the benefits of a program like this first-hand.

Hope you take the time to watch the video. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

{Image by MamaLatinaTips}

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