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4/26/2018 Rep. Diaz, Sen. Ciccone introduce legislation that would create a dual language immersion program
STATE HOUSE — Rep. Grace Diaz (D – Dist. 11, Providence) and Sen. Frank A. Ciccone III (D-Dist. 7, Providence, North Providence) have introduced legislation that would establish and require funding for a world language and dual language immersion program in Rhode Island

The legislation (2018-H 7436, 2018-S 2506) would create the World Language and Dual Language Immersion Act, which would authorize the Department of Education to establish a dual language immersion fund, with a General Assembly appropriation of $200,000 for the purpose.

“With dual- and English-language learners becoming an increasingly large group of students, it’s important to craft legislation to increase funding for the support of their education,” said Representative Diaz. “Too often, these students fail to achieve the same level of academic success as their peers. They’re less likely to achieve in school and less likely to graduate and enroll in college. It’s time to close that gap.”

Dual language immersion is a method of instruction that promotes a student's full proficiency in all aspects of English and another language. DLI programs educate students using both English and a partner language for academic instruction and may divide the day by language of instruction.

“Research suggests that dual language learners tend to learn conversational English in two to three years, while they can develop academic English proficiency in five to seven years,” said Senator Ciccone. “It’s time for state policy to acknowledge and reflect these timelines.”

Beyond offering public schools the opportunity to support students who have been underserved in the past, dual language immersion offers all students a chance to excel by gaining the skills and benefits of bilingualism.

With the appropriation, the Department of Education would create a pilot program with $50,000 allocated to carry out the program to invest in high quality, evidence informed, voluntary, dual language models that expand upon the current landscape of dual language programs.

The remaining funds would be used for the establishment of a world language and dual language education specialist position. The purpose of programs supported by the fund would be to provide pathways to bilingualism and biliteracy for Rhode Island students and to close the achievement gap that currently exists for English learners in Rhode Island schools.

For more information, contact:
Daniel Trafford, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401)222-1922