Policy Brief: Enhancing Multilingual Learning Programs in California
Multilingual Learning (MLL) programs, sometimes referred to as Dual Language Learning (DLL) programs, offer a promising approach to address California’s linguistic diversity and improve outcomes for all students. The “multilingual learners” terminology is promoted by California has a broader encapsulation of related subgroups of language learners. By providing instruction in two languages through two-way dual immersion programs, combining multilingual learners and native English speakers together, these programs aim to foster bilingualism, biliteracy, and cross-cultural understanding. Despite the immense potential to transform California’s education system and prepare students to thrive in an increasingly connected world, there are challenges that hinder the full realization of MLL programs in California. This policy brief builds from our previous report on multilingual learning and highlights the importance of supporting and strengthening MLL programs, explores their benefits, argues the business case, and provides recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders to enhance and expand upon these programs across the state.
Key findings include:
■ In California, nearly 60% of children under the age of five have at least one parent who speaks a language other than English.
■ Those same children are 160% more likely to live under the poverty level than peers with English-only speaking parents.
■ Non-English speaking households in California would collectively earn $30 billion more, or $15,519 more per household if they earned as much as their bilingual counterparts.