Dual-language immersion bill among many up for discussion

Dual-language immersion bill among many up for discussion

(Calif.) The fate of bills addressing dual-language immersion courses, substitute teaching permits and lessons in how students should interact with law enforcement will be decided next week when lawmakers come back from summer break.

AB 185 would require an existing partnership between California’s public schools and law enforcement community to convene a stakeholder workgroup tasked with identifying or developing resources for high schools and middle schools on a minor’s rights and responsibilities during interactions with law enforcement officials.

AB 3149 would require the Commission on Teacher Credentialing to determine whether there is a need to expand pathways for a person who holds an Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit to gain a longer-term permit.

And AB 2514 would establish the Pathways to Success Grant Program in order to provide students in preschool through 12th grade with dual-language immersion programs, developmental bilingual programs for English learners or early learning dual language learners programs.

“As our state becomes more diverse, the need to teach dual language immersion programs increases,” the bill’s author, Assemblyman Tony Thurmond, D-Richmond, said in a statement. “Almost a quarter of our public school students are English Learners.

“Pupils that are enrolled in dual language programs have positive outcomes,” Thurmond said. “They perform better academically, gain more confidence, and possess greater cultural awareness.”

Researchers have found that students who are able to gain proficiency in more than one language see numerous academic and social-emotional benefits, such as being more empathetic and better able to pay attention to a task without becoming distracted.

A 2015 study from the American University found that students in a dual-language program in Portland, Oregon outperformed their peers in English-reading skills by the equivalent of one full school year of learning by the end of middle school.

Additionally, in studies covering six states, researchers have found that dual-language students have somewhat higher test scores and also seem to be happier in school compared with students in classrooms where one language is spoken. Attendance is also higher, children demonstrate fewer behavioral problems, and parent involvement is higher.

In 2016, California voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 58, which removed a decades-old ban on utilizing bilingual technics to teach English learners. While traditional programs for English-language learners focus on assimilating students into English as quickly as possible, dual-language classrooms provide instruction across subjects to both English natives and English learners, in both English and in a target language, such as Spanish, Mandarin or Japanese.

Thurmond’s bill would require the California Department of Education to administer the Pathways to Success Grant Program and award at least 10 one-time grants of up to $300,000 each to districts aiming to develop or expand dual language immersion programs, developmental bilingual programs for English learners, or early learning dual language programs.

Provisions called for under AB 2514 would only be implemented upon appropriation in the state budget or other statute.

Meanwhile, AB 185–authored by Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell, D-Long Beach–seeks to ensure students are prepared to handle a situation in which they are approached by law enforcement officials.

According to O’Donnell, children’s first interactions with law enforcement happen very early, whether through officers stationed on school campuses, or through a routine traffic stops. Yet many students do not know what to expect from an encounter with police, or what they should or should not do, and many do not understand their right and responsibilities, he said.

His bill would call on the state’s School/Law Enforcement Partnership to convene a stakeholder workgroup to identify or develop resources for students in high school and middle school that focuses on a minor’s rights and responsibilities during interactions with law enforcement officials.

The School/Law Enforcement Partnership is comprised of the Superintendent of Public Instruction and the Attorney General.

AB 3149, authored by Assemblywoman Monique Limón, D-Santa Barbara, aims to help schools fill a need for long-term substitute teachers.

Under current law, someone who holds a 30-day emergency substitute teaching permit is authorized to serve as a substitute for in a single general education classroom for no more than 30 days, and in a single special education classroom for no more than 20 days, during the school year. Districts or county office of education can apply to the superintendent of schools for a 20-day extension for a substitute serving in a general education classroom.

Such a limit may not benefit classrooms in which the head teacher is out for extended periods due to medical leave, parental leave, or some other reason, according to Limón’s office, which says this bill is intended to minimize the disruption that may occur when one short term substitute teacher is replaced by another short term substitute teacher.

Specifically, AB 3149 calls on Commission on Teacher Credentialing to meet with stakeholders to determine whether there is a need to provide a person who holds an Emergency 30-Day Substitute Teaching Permit expanded pathways for obtaining the Teaching Permit for Statutory Leave, which would allow them to remain in the same classroom for an extended period.

Someone with a Teaching Permit for Statutory Leave must meet subject matter competency through coursework or exam, and also have completed 45 hours of preparation relevant to the substitute assignment, on top of meeting the requirements of the 30-day emergency permit. In addition, districts must provide orientation, mentoring and support to substitutes employed with this permit.

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