Speaking of learning: the promises and pitfalls of bilingual education
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The state of Texas is undoubtedly undergoing a demographic shift. Since 2001, Hispanics have made up the largest ethnic representation in Texas public schools and by 2020 they’re estimated to become a majority minority throughout the state. As their population swells, so will the number of English language learners (Ells) in Texas schools. In fact, this group has grown by nearly 40 percent in the last ten years. During this same period of time, English learners have remained, on average, four times more likely to drop out compared to their White counterparts. This is forcing educators and administrators in the state to readjust their approach to educating English learners. The models used have been both ardently supported by educators and vehemently opposed. Recently, a program called dual language, which uses both native-language and English-based instruction has risen into prominence among educators. But many have been left wondering if this program will be the answer to disparities between English learners and monolingual students.