New Rules for Spanish Speaking Preschoolers have Many Concerned.
New rules, which are expected to sail through the legislative process in time for the 2010-2011 school year, will affect hundreds of thousands of Illinois students. Old laws regarding preschoolers had no mention of English instruction. Soon, it will be required that pre-schoolers be educated according to the same standards as K thru 12th grade.
If there are 20 or more students in the same grade level from Spanish speaking households, they are entitled to a teacher who speaks Spanish. Although research shows that proficiency in ones native language translates to better English acquisision, there are several concerns with this approach. Currently there is a shortage of qualified teachers for the many non-English speaking students. There are also plenty of examples of older students who never transitioned into English speaking classrooms due to poor classroom training that never made them bilingual.
All experts agree that the ultimate goal is to produce English language proficiency; the question is how to get there.