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Oregon has 70 schools with dual-language programs, with more on the way. Demand is booming for two reasons: research shows that dual-language programs work better for foreign-language speaking students than English-only programs.
But Esperanza de le Vega, the coordinator of Portland State University’s bilingual teacher pathway program, says there’s another big driver. “There is an educated population of sometimes bilingual, sometimes monolingual parents, who want this for their children. I think it’s great, because we have more allies,” she says.
But as programs mulitply and expand into middle and high schools, it gets harder for districts to find teachers who are both qualified in the necessary subject area, and who have the language ability.
Oregon State University language professor, Kathryn Ciechanowski, says school districts pursue candidates who are still in college.
“Our bilingual candidates are very often offered jobs before they even finish their programs,” she says, and adds, “we often advise students to think carefully about what they would like to have in their teaching positions, because there typically will be multiple districts trying to hire them — because of the need for bilingual educators.”
Read more on the OPB website: http://www.opb.org/news/article/bilingual-education/