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By The Commentators

Dual Language: More Than One Option

By The Commentators Posted May 15, 2012 at 8:57 pm

This is Andrew Davidson and I’m a member of the School Improvement Team at Frank Porter Graham Elementary School, where I have a second grader and a rising kindergartener. The revised Dual-Language proposal put before our school board doesn’t acknowledge the alternative proposals that have been presented by fellow parents like me who support dual language yet don’t feel FPG should be dismantled.
 
The committee that put together the dual-language report identifies five goals of the new dual language plan; it should:
·         “address the issues with our current model,
·         increase access,
·         provide equitable access,
·         provide universal access,
·         and enhance our program”
 
We have submitted to the administration and the board an alternate proposal that we call the “11-12” approach – use 2-3 tracks in elementary #11 as an incubator to pave the way for a full-fledged dual-language magnet school at elementary #12, scheduled to open in  2017.
 
We believe our plan address all of the committee’s five criteria. And yet, the administration has HANDILY dismissed it, with a single sentence in a 230-page document. “Even a hybrid approach with a small expansion to Elementary #11 in advance of a planned magnet school at Elementary #12 is not recommended.”
 
A lack of an alternative proposal stands in stark contrast to report’s two choices for the Mandarin dual-language program at Glenwood – a program that, may I add, has only a single track. 
 
My second issue with the proposal is the criteria that the administration fails to address. In the corporate world, if you presented a plan this ambitious and neglected to account for risk, you’d be laughed out of the board room.
 
There are two risks:
·         What if enrollment doesn’t meet expectations,
·         And what if if there aren’t enough qualified teachers?
 
The dual-language report offers an incomplete proposal with potentially disastrous and ill-considered risk. Help us tell the administration that they need to present the board with a choice for Spanish, just as they’ve done for Mandarin.

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