According to a 2017 study by the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER), “Michigan was one of only three states to meet all 10 quality benchmarks designed,” for preschool education, some of these benchmarks including student-to-teacher ratios, teacher training, and quality of curriculum. However, with respect to ELLs, “the state met only one out of 10 benchmarks for English language learners.”
In fact, the only benchmark Michigan met for ELLs is “permitting bilingual instruction in the state-funded preschool program.” As reported in the article, "Michigan did not meet benchmarks for assessing children in their home language, allocating more money for English learners, or making sure staff are trained in working with students learning English."
To this point, Steve Barnett, co-founder of NIEER, states, “For all children, the preschool years are a critical time for language development. We know that dual-language learners are a group that makes the largest gains from attending high-quality preschool. At the same time, they’re at elevated risk for school failure.” According to the article, “about a quarter of early education students nationwide are English learners,” as a result, in ignoring our state’s educational deficits, we are effectively robbing a population of a sufficient education.
TWIN-CS, in our mission to educate the whole child, uses two-way immersion to ensure the development of second language acquisition and the sustainment of heritage and culture. With TWIN-CS, students not only acquire English language proficiency, but they maintain (or in some cases acquire) fluency in a second language.
Continue to follow the blog to hear more about DL programs throughout the country!
-Melissa Hoppie, Graduate Student Researcher