Reflections on Bilingual Education Today and Beyond (January 29, 2010) Many schools across the country are facing the task of educating English language learners for the first time. For others this is not a new task, but one that needs dramatic improvement given the significant gaps in achievement between ELLs and non-ELLs. Decades of research and experience have demonstrated that the most effective way to teach English to children who speak another language is through an adequate bilingual program. Yet there is still confusion about what the term “bilingual education” means and what makes a program good. IDRA senior education associate, Adela Solís Ph.D., provides an overview of bilingual education and dual language programs and discusses what we need to be doing in the future to effectively serve English language learners. Adela is interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D., director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity. Send comments to
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* Adela contends that the strong bilingual programs require deliberate, structured instruction in both languages.
* Adela responds to Bradley's question about the need to improve schools for students whose first language is notEnglish, and suggests revisiting leading models of bilingual education used in the late 1990s.
* Adela explains why provision of resources remains the biggest unfulfilled promise in bilingual education.
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