Dual immersion programs proving successful
Making local students biliterate may sound like a catchphrase to some, but many students in both Porterville Unified School District’s and Burton School District’s dual immersion language programs are becoming just that, literate in two languages.
With several years now to judge, the dual immersion programs appear to be very effective in preparing students for an ever-changing world, especially here in California where the need to not only speak Spanish is growing in importance, but also having knowledge to function in Spanish has become more common. The immersion programs help students to achieve that.
The programs go far beyond teaching students to speak Spanish and English.
We agree with Porterville Unified Superintendent Dr. John Snavely when he said, “To see students obtain education skills that will give them an incredible advantage in life is very rewarding to us as educators.” It is rewarding for the community as well.
Such programs are not short on critics. Some still feel that only English should be taught in schools and that Spanish-only students should be forced to learn English, kind of a sink- or swim-approach. However, our world today does not allow that. We are a multi-lingual society and as painful as it might be to some, being able to function in Spanish has become almost as important as being able to function in English.
And, it is not just speaking English or Spanish. It is reading, writing, math and science taught in those languages as well. We see that as a very valuable component of the programs. The immersion programs help young people to function in either language. It goes well beyond communication.
It appears both districts have been very effective in their approaches. Parents are pleased and that is evident in the waiting list of students whose parents want them to be in the programs.
Editorials in The Porterville Recorder are the opinion of the editorial board which consists of publisher Paula Patton, editor Rick Elkins and managing editor Brian Williams. Other columns, letters and cartoons on this page express the opinions of the authors and not necessarily of The Recorder.