Dear WAFLT Members,
There is a bill in the Washington State Legislature that you might want to follow:
SB 5607 - 2019-20
Concerning dual language learning in early learning and K-12 education.
This is the most substantial funding (I would say) that the Legislature has been approving for several years to support languages besides English. It is specifically for Dual Language programs oriented to serving students who qualify for English Learner services to learn academic content through their home language (as well as English) in a Dual Language educational setting. Funds can also be used in the tribal compacts for heritage languages. They can be used to fund a Two-way model, where half the students are monolingual English speakers learning the partner language. So, this bill is a key tool to achieve Supt. Reykdal’s vision of all students in WA having access to Dual Language programs and becoming bilingual/biliterate.
What is interesting to me is that the Senate Education Committee passed it on 1/31/2020 – but with a substitute version. You can see the new language in the bill text (where the original language is crossed out): http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Bills/Senate%20Bills/5607-S.pdf#page=1
(1)(a) Within existing resources, the office of the superintendent of public instruction shall facilitate dual language professional learning
((cohorts for school districts and state-tribal 8 compact schools establishing or expanding)) communities to promote statewide collaboration among staff administering and working in dual language programs under section 1 of this act and heritage language programs under section 2 of this act.
(b) The office
((must)) of the superintendent of public instruction shall provide technical assistance and support to ((school districts and state-tribal compact schools implementing dual 15 language programs, including those establishing or expanding dual 16 language programs under section 1 of this act)) dual language programs under section 1 of this act and heritage language programs under section 2 of this act. Technical assistance and support must include professional development, sharing resources and best practices, and guidance for programs to be self-sustaining through the use of state basic education or federal funding.
I am excited because in the substitute bill, they are supporting OSPI to facilitate statewide collaboration among dual language programs and professional development not limited to districts that have received grant funding from OSPI. I’ve been asking for this for many years – so I’m pleased to see this possibility.
You can see the list of Senators who supported this substitute version of the bill: (Majority Report). The bill will next go to the Ways and Means Committee (which handles funding decisions).
If you support this substitute version, you can write to the Senators on the Education Committee (who voted for it) to thank them for the changes, and you can write to the Ways and Means Committee members to urge their support. This is reasonable advocacy for members of WAFLT to do using your personal emails. If your district supports the bill (like many with Dual Language programs do), then you can check with your district leadership to see if you can write on behalf of the district using your district email.
If you’d like to continue to receive updates about this bill (or other bills of interest to us as world language advocates), let me know, and we’ll work on constructing an email list for communications. Also, if you would like a Zoom session on how to contact legislators, we can offer that too in the coming weeks.
Michele Anciaux Aoki, Ph.D.
WAFLT Assessment Services